It looks like we’re just going to have to open multiple bank accounts and shuffle money between them. That’s because of an increase of false positives in fraud detection at all the major banks.

The worst feeling in the world is telling your credit card company where you’re going on vacation ahead of time — and your card still gets frozen the first time you use it at your destination. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to clients, it’s happened to so many people that the banks have a way to measure it: the Customer Insult Rate. 

They know that ⅓ of the people who get their accounts mistakenly frozen move their money to another bank. So if they have a vested interest in reducing false positives, why are false positives happening more and more?

It all has to do with an entire structure of risk management. While we’re waiting for our cards to be approved, the transaction is being scored across a wide range of facets. When everything is processed, a risk score that reaches a certain threshold will be declined — and if it surpasses an even higher threshold, the bank will freeze the account. Meanwhile, the retail store in which the false positive occurs will often lose that customer forever, according to polling. 

This is beyond inconvenient if you’re in another time zone and you discover, as I did, that your customer service number won’t work for six more hours.  

Besides moving our money around a hundred different banks, I think this reveals an interesting lesson about risk. Maybe we need to calm down a little? And why does Congress allow consumers to be at risk whenever they leave their hometown?

If you need an array of payment options at your fingertips, JHA can set it up and call your bank ahead of time — and make a really big scene if we have to. Contact us to learn more.