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Call Your Credit Card Before Big Purchases

Posted By Jim On 11/09/2006 @ 5:22 pm In Credit | 8 Comments

My friend Perry recently had a legitimate charge on his card, for a Mac Book Pro which retails for around two thousand bucks, trip a red flag with his credit card company. They did the reasonable thing by calling him up and asking if the purchase was legitimate, he said yes, and the charge was processed. While he was surprised, I wasn’t because most personal credit cards have a liability limit of $50 (some have a liability limit of $0, because, honestly, customer satisfaction is worth more than $50) and so it is in their best interests to monitor potentially fraudulent behavior and stop it before they pay out.

I had a personal experience with this just recently when I paid for two classes (about $3000) at Johns Hopkins on my Citi Platinum Select MasterCard [3] except Citi summarily rejected the charge on the basis that they believe it was fraudulent. No phone calls or emails either. I only knew about the rejection when Johns Hopkins sent me a letter that my account was past due (no monetary penalties, I just couldn’t register for the next semester until I paid). So, right before I pressed SEND on my online payment, I called Citi and let them know that a $3000 charge was coming through from a well known educational institution and they should process it.

So, the lesson of the day is that if you are going to use your card in any atypical manner (charging a large amount, charge amounts in a geographic area you normally aren’t in, etc.) then let your credit card company know… otherwise they’ll think someone stole your card (even if you’re paying for classes!).


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[3] Citi Platinum Select MasterCard: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/cards/citi-platinum-select.php?tag=callfirst

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