This Conversation Can Serve No Useful Purpose Any Longer. Goodbye, Dave.
Sometimes you have to marvel at the willful obtuseness of the corporate mind-set. I spent nearly an hour on the phone today with four different customer service reps, trying to figure out why an online payment made with my bank card was continually being blocked.
Basically it all boils down to the fact that VISA, in its infinite wisdom has decided that an effective anti-fraud security measure is to simply randomly reject certain transactions. According to the Online Banking Security Specialist (CS rep #4), there's been a lot of credit card fraud lately, and so VISA has beefed up its security system to red-flag "unusual transactions"; in this case an online purchase made on my ATM card to a foreign vendor (I was making a renewal payment to the French company that administers my Domain Name Server account.) However, she also admitted (somewhat reluctantly from the sounds of it - but I kept pressing her) there's really no concrete set of parameters that actually invoke a security block; it's all completely random. Also, there's no way for me, as the card holder to have the block removed.
Okay, I don't do a lot of business with foreign companies, so I can see how some computerized security countermeasures application might think that suspicious. Also, I just had the card replaced after foolishing leaving my previous card sticking out of the slot of an ATM a couple of weeks ago, so there's that as well. But, one would THINK there would be some option in the procedure to allow for a manual override of the block. But no, the only way to work around the security measure would be for me to call the company in Paris, put them on the line with someone at VISA, who would THEN give them a manual authorization code, which would allow the transaction to go through; I can't do it from my end, even though it's my card, and I'm the one making the purchase.
But, here's the really frustrating part about this: at the same time I was informed - for the 4th time - that there's no way for me to override the security restriction, I was also informed that the process was so random that if I waited for 24 hours or so, there was a very good chance I could get a subsequent transaction to go through with no problem.
So, the so-called "security protocol" turns out to be a completely arbitrary action taken by a compuer running on software that instructs it to randomly allow some transactions to pass through it, while at the same time denying other transactions for literally no valid reason whatsoever.
Now, there's really no point in blaming the machines, because of course they're just following the coding instructions supplied to them by an IT technician, at the behest of some middle manager who received a memo from a Second Vice President for Security Policies, or whomever it is that actually decides these things in the first place.
He's (and I will betray my gender by assuming it's a "he" - a reasonable assumption, given the general ratio of men-to-women in upper management positions, and the fact that most women have too much common-sense to make such a bone-headed decision in the first place) the one I'd really like to give an earful to right now.
But of course my chances of doing that are about as good as those of getting my DNS account renewed today.
UPDATE: Quite unsurprisingly, when I re-tried the transaction this evening using my other VISA card, it went through without a hitch. Evidentally, VISA must calculate there's less of a "security risk" that someone might try to commit fraud using a card with a $20,000 limit, than there is they would try to do so using a card tied to a checking account with only a couple of grand on-deposit.
on 2:55 PM