Many individuals make purchases only to receive a prompt call asking for verification. For some, this is a reassurance that their assets are being properly protected. For others, it’s a baffling annoyance, and it can be a serious inconvenience should you miss the call. There are a handful of reasons why this is the case.
The first reason you are likely to receive a call is if your bank notices what it considers to be an unusual charge. This can occur, for instance, if you make a large purchase out of town. An online purchase that does not fit expectations, like a middle-aged woman purchasing a computer game with no history of the hobby in her financial record, may also cause a flag that warrants a call. Younger clients of various banks have been known to receive embarrassing calls the first time they try to purchase cigarettes or alcohol. In this case, your bank is looking out for you to make sure you are the one making the purchase. This is usually resolved over the phone as soon as they get you on the line.
The next-most likely reason is an error in credit card processing. These often do not result in immediate calls for confirmation, but rather occur after the credit card has been processed by a computer and the released data has been examined by a human operator. Perceived discrepancies in delivery addresses for online purchases are a frequent offender if shipments are directed to locations other than the card’s listed address.
Finally, many receive calls to have their purchase verified if issues occur with release of funds to merchant accounts. Banks often have specific policies regarding how they treat merchant accounts and are frequently very cautious about online purchases that would be paid for with the transfer of funds to a merchant account they do not recognize. In this case, again, your bank is trying to protect your accounts from fraud.
This is not an absolute list of reasons why any given purchase might require a call for verification. There are other individual errors that may occur during credit card processing or through the use of merchant accounts, but these are the most common. Understanding them in advance can help you prepare for when the call comes, which can save you time and trouble.