HSBC Again …

October 25, 2009

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As mentioned earlier, we recently canceled our HSBC card after yet another problem.

Yesterday, we received a letter in the mail discussing these problems.  One passage in particular jumped out at me.  Note: the errors in grammar, usage, and punctuation are those of the original writer.

“… With regard to the fraud alert placed on your account, our records indicate your account had a temporary block placed on April 18, 2009 due to the velocity of transactions made in one day, the time between transactions and the potential for fraud with one of these transactions.  You may have frequented these merchants before, however; systemically the account is reviewed for the above situations.  Please note, HSBC does not receive the name of merchants identified in these transactions …”

If HSBC claims to not receive the names of merchants identified in these transactions, then how exactly did they have this information at their fingertips (the transactions that were successfully processed as well as those that had been declined) when my wife called on her cell phone on the way home from the mall – a short time after the last attempted use of the card?

It would seem that the name and location of merchants would fairly useful when analyzing purchase patterns for potential fraud.  If my card is used in China one moment and Australia the next, I would hope that this would be flagged as suspicious activity.  If my card is used at the same merchants I have frequented for several years, I would hope that this is not flagged as suspicious activity.

Unless I receive further communications from HSBC, I consider this issue to be closed.  It was an interesting ride – equal parts bizarre, annoying, and unpleasant – but it’s over.

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