Visa's Idiotic Security Policy

Last modified on May 24th, 2008

Ever since I was about 18 years of age, I have had a credit card. The main reason, at least at first, was simply to build up a credit rating in case I ever needed a loan (which I ended up requiring when I went to university). Nowadays, I use my visa primarily for work expenses, since I tend to do a lot of traveling with my job.

To that end, I probably spend close to $30,000 on my visa a year, a good portion of which comes from plane rides and hotel rooms when I’m on the road. I have no idea what my credit limit is on my visa, but last time I checked (which was a few years ago), there was enough there to buy a small car with I believe. In fact, I generally have to place a call once a year to get them to lower the credit limit on it, since they like to jack it up without telling me (hoping of course that I’ll max it out one day and they’ll nail me on the interest).

In the old days, the only time I’d get a security flag on my card is when I bought something really expensive in an electronics store. An example of this was my digital SLR I first bought a few years ago. But over the last few years, then have been starting to flag my card for what I think are rather ridiculous purchases.

When they used to do it, they would just leave my card active but ask me to call in and explain my purchase. Then, they started deactivating it, but would call my cell phone and try to sort it out in short order. The last few times though they have not only deactivated my credit card, but also haven’t even given me a courtesy call to let me know that it was declined.

I woke up this morning with an email saying one of my pre-authorized visa transactions was declined and my account was disabled. Of course, I called down to Royal Bank Visa’s fraud department, and sure enough, they had once again disabled my card. The culprit? A $99 transaction I made buying something on the internet. Once again, they didn’t even give me a head’s up that this had occurred.

I have complained about their policy time and time again, but each time I get some sympathetic rhetoric from the guys in the security department which basically amounts to a polite “fuck off.” It’s one thing when it happens when I’m in Vancouver (it’s a major pain in the ass, and I hate that I have to deal with it), but it’s nearly crippling when it happens when I’m traveling for work. For example, they deactivated my card in Tokyo last time I was there and, considering my Interact card wouldn’t work on their systems, basically left me without any sort of funds whatsoever.

I am going to be switching credit cards shortly. I am not certain if that will make things better or worse in the long run, but I’m so fed up with Royal Bank’s policies in this area that I just have to make a change. Does this happen to any of you guys, or is it just me?