As a long-time practitioner in the anti-fraud space, I tend to be more tolerant of false declines and friction than your usual consumer. However, I also tend to be more critical of poor customer experiences, since I’m very much attuned to the art of the possible. I had an experience last weekend that was categorically a fraud fail for my issuer; it left me aghast at the state of their controls, given that they are one of the larger issuers in the North American market.
I was buying something out of pattern—football tickets for an upcoming trip to London, since my son is a rabid fan of this particular football club. When my credit card was declined, I wasn’t surprised, since it was an unusual online purchase. As I expected, about 30 seconds later I got a text from my issuer asking if the transaction was mine. I responded “yes” and received a text response instructing me to resubmit the transaction. If my issuer had approved the resubmission, then it would’ve been a fine experience—I would have felt protected, and I would’ve had the tickets with no hassle.
I resubmitted the transaction. This time, unlike the last, the issuer initiated a 3-D Secure, stepped-up prompt. I must have red-lighted the first time, since I didn’t get a stepped-up prompt that time. After I input the one-time passcode (OTP), my issuer declined me AGAIN! Now, I was irritated.
I contacted the call center, and five minutes into the hold time, their fraud team called me about the transaction (using the same number that the OTP was sent to). The contact center rep authenticated me with knowledge-based authentication (UGH) and asked if the transaction was mine. I said yes. Even with all of that, the contact center agent didn’t have the ability to greenlight another resubmission of the transaction. She put me on hold for a couple of minutes to get her supervisor.
When she came back, she reported that her system wouldn’t let her escalate; she had to walk down the hall to get her manager to approve the transaction, and she would call me back. She called me back 15 minutes later, saying that if I reattempted the transaction, it would be approved—30 minutes after the initial transaction attempt. When I went back in to get the tickets I’d initially attempted to purchase, they were gone, and I had to settle for a less optimal location for our seats.
There are so many ways that readily available solutions could have made this a far better customer experience. We will be discussing how financial institutions can avoid negative outcomes like my situation and more at Aite-Novarica Group’s upcoming Financial Crime Forum on September 19 in Charlotte, NC. Please register here and come join the discussion!