Dear HSBC, I Promise I'm In Norway

Listen, HSBC Fraud Department, we need to talk. We know it sounds like a joke, but Phil is actually in Norway. We’re sure people call all the time and navigate your byzantine series of computer menus just to tell you hilariously absurd lies like “I’m leaving the country, here’s my forwarding contact information.” We’re sure labeling every foreign transaction as potential fraud isn’t nearly as fun as caring about the part of Phil’s account notes where it says “Travel advisory: In Norway.” The one joy of this endless runaround, the one nugget worth sharing, is that every time you flag a transaction, Phil gets to call you collect, and calling international collect makes a huge difference…

No menus, just one person who accepts the charges and has more power than the average customer service representative. Last time Phil called, he learned how HSBC’s early warning system worked:

  • Flags: Flagged transactions raise an eyebrow. The purchase is approved, but you have to call and verify that it’s legitimate. This is what happens when I buy really sketchy things like rail tickets.
  • Blocks: Some transactions will be blocked outright. This is what happens when I try make outrageous purchases like credits for Skype.
  • Merchant Calls: For truly shady transactions, HSBC will ask the merchant to call the bank. This hasn’t happened yet, but I imagine it would be accompanied by the merchant destroying my card and describing me over the phone.

Using automated systems to stop fraud is nice and good, and sometimes effective—although, it didn’t stop thieves from charging over $1,600 to our HSBC credit card—but enough is enough. Phil doesn’t want to call in again to verify that his latest travel-related purchase is in fact related to his travel. Stop calling him, please!

PREVIOUSLY: Don’t Get Your Account Frozen When Traveling Overseas