American Express saves the day

Last 24 hours have been harrowing for me due to the unauthorised transactions that have taken place on my account. Being hit by credit card fraud does take away more than half of your share of your mind simply because credit card are basically loan accounts. If you don’t pay, the default will impact your CIBIL score and if you do – you already know. It is then up to your bank on how they support you in this regard.

Taking a step back on my first encounter where iTunes transaction were made on my card. Read more here.

I received SMS of transaction on my card. I raised dispute – which was another painful process

What was the painful process? I called up customer care, who raised a dispute. I was sent a form which I had to download and print and fill in the details – by hand. The same form is available on their website. The form had probably 2 rows for transaction dispute entry. I had to fill in 4, so extra page had to added with transactions to be mentioned in same format and send the hard copy to the bank. In mean time bill was generated so I had to cough up the whole amount. The bank then investigated for a period of 30 days (do not remember exact period) before the amount was credited to my account. The transactions were small so was able to pay and wait for this period. I could only imagine if volume was large.

Never asked for it but this time the hit was approximately INR ₹50,000 cumulative. F*ck!!!

Yes, you got that right. The hacker/fraudsters were able to siphon off the amount in multiple transactions while I was scurrying like a rat under barrage of OTP and calling out mayday to the customer service. Amex probably has the best customer care, period. My incident was registered and was told that I’ll called back within 24 hours from their fraud department.

The wait was excruciating and every phone call was important. I’ve never held my phone closer than this. I received the call from American Express Fraud Department today, a little more than the said 24 hours but that is nitpicking. The person on the other end was polite and very helpful and within a minute of the call I was explained of the fraud protection policy and given confidence of not being penalised. Special callout to the person (Am I allowed to disclose the name?)

If internet usage was metered, my bill would’ve hit the roof.

I probably have not discussed, researched or even read about any topic for over 5 year – let’s settle for a decade. Let me not lie here, I discussed more than I read or researched but rather explored my own usage patterns – where I used the card, where my details would’ve been exposed and possible hack of my devices. I was 100% protected under American Express policy and I was not liable of making any payments for the fraud reported. However, the transaction has passed though so the burden will be borne by Amex.

Based on my research, I was not the only one who had faced this issue. American Express Fraud Department confirmed the same that similar nature has been reported and they are actively working to secure their systems and protect their customers. I was probably hinted of the loophole they are trying to fix (may be I read too much), so I returned the favour by sharing my research and understanding of the loop-hole 😀 . They noted down my details, validated all entries, blocked & closed the previous account, reissued my cards, reinstated my reward points, consoled crybaby me multiple times, cleared my doubts on the protection – all within 30 minutes. This is a huge difference from my previous experience.

In India, where card acceptance it trying to catch up, Amex is exclusive. Even in countries outside India, many vendors excuse themselves to accept it because of premium charged to the merchant as compared to Visa & Mastercard (and others). Many merchants have a different POS machines for Amex. I’ve been frustrated quite often due to merchants not accepting it or declining to accept citing machine issue (this is applicable for Visa & Mastercard as well but Amex takes the rejection priority). This is only minor inconvenience and can be overcome but comparing to dispute resolution of then and now, American Express just saved the day for me.

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