Yesterday, I was doing the catch up and make sure all the bills are paid on-line thing, and there was an alert message at the top that said that my credit card account was unavailable and that I needed to call a number. I checked quickly, and the bill was paid in full by the specified date, so I was clueless. But I called and eventually got a real person.
And the real person said that there were a bunch of charges on the card which had been denied in the past couple of days. (That is, the bank/card company had refused the charge.) So we went through the charges that had been denied, thousands of dollars in all, but some under a buck even. (I try very hard not to charge small amounts so that I don't cost merchants, especially small merchants, more than makes sense; I want my small merchants to stay in business.)
But none of the purchases I'd made (gas for the car for my camping trip) had been denied, even over the same couple of days.
So somehow, the bank computer system had a good enough way of figuring out what my buying patterns are, and what they aren't, and was able to accurately say "no" to a large number of charges. (A scary large number of charges, to be honest.)
In a way, the fact that the bank knows my purchasing patterns so well is sort of creepy. In another way, it's fantastic, because they'd denied the charges, so we didn't have to resolve anything at all. And someone out there who stole my number (I had the card in hand) didn't actually get to steal either my or the bank's money.
I wonder how the computer system algorithm works?
Does it care about: What sorts of merchants are doing the transaction?
Where the transaction is happening? (and for on-line, I wonder if the thing that goes through to the credit card company reports the internet source number thingy?)
I just got the new card (overnighted to me with no charge; of course, the bank makes plenty of money off me).