Credit Card Alerts Arriving up to Four Days After Purchase - USAA Needs to Change Alerts to Occur at Purchase Time

JBGa
Contributor

Hi. First I'd like to say that USAA is a great organization and is obviously customer oriented. Having said this, I'd like to encourage all USAA credit card users to contact USAA to request high purchase alerts be sent at time of purchase verses being sent at time of post to USAA. I believe this simple change will be very useful to the consumer in preventing fraud. 

 

First a little background, I've been a longtime USAA member but I specifically switched my credit card to USAA after having fraudulent purchases show up recently on my credit union credit card. I'd had this card through my credit union for several years but switched because USAA had phone alerts (my credit union doesn't) in hopes the alerts would help avert future fraudulent purchases. The problem is that alerts are being sent at the time the charge is posted to USAA which can (and has) taken up to four days after the actual purchase takes place. 

 

In my case the fraudulent purchases were for expensive items which were express shipped (two days) to the thieves. Using USAA's high purchase alert doesn't avert this situation because, as I said, it can take up to four days to show up on your phone or email as alerts are issued based on when the charge is posted to USAA not the actual date of purchase. The irony is, those charges show up almost right away on the USAA app IF I check my credit card balance each day. 

 

I understand that there is zero liability for fraudulent charges but you still have to go through the hassle of filing a fraud claim and making a police report. Also, you may be able to stop fraudulent purchases before thieves have a chance to receive the merchandise. Just seems like the responsible thing to do. 

 

Again, I encourage everyone to consider contacting USAA to ask that the USAA app is modified to provide alerts at time of purchase not at time of post to USAA. 

 

Thank you.

 

JB

20 REPLIES

Dear JB,

Thank you for commenting here in the community. This is a wonderful idea and a very informative post. I have passed your idea along to our banking partners. As always we truly appreciate member feedback! If you would like an additional outlet to share please feel free to send us a message here.

 

Thanks again!

I agree with your suggestion. It seems I use to get these alerts come through so much faster than they do today. It also seems different each time.. I recently got an alert that was 24 hours after the fact but on another transaction I got alerted within 15 minutes.

Now I would imagine that is because usaa depends outside protocols that they can't control like email and text messages. But if you focused or developed a more advance system on alerts and pushed them to the usaa app that might make a big difference.

If one would focus on these I would imagine that would help bottom line when it comes to fraud.

"Again, I encourage everyone to consider contacting USAA to ask that the USAA app is modified to provide alerts at time of purchase not at time of post to USAA. "

 

While I understand why you would want this feature, I don't expect the banks to move to it anytime soon.  It is just not practical or cost effective for them to do this   

 

When the actual purchase is made, an authorization is placed for that amount on the credit card, which normally will process as an actual charge within a day or two (but can be more depending on when the merchant actually runs the charges).  If the charge is not run, then the authorization will eventually drop off.   In some cases (especially happens within the travel industry) the authorization and charge won't line up and both will appear on the card at the same time.

 

There is nothing the bank can do with the authorization until the actual charge comes though.  By providing alerts to customers of the authorization (which may or may not go through) they potentially increase their workload significantly on their call centers for authorization that may never even go through and they can do nothing about at that time.  They can't stop the charge from coming in, and the dispute can only be started when it does.  

 

Basically there is no upside for a bank to do this, but there is a downside of increasing operating cost, which eventually is passed back to the consumer.

FYI...Chase has had such a system for a number of years. It works instantly to alert the cardholder of any charge over the "alert limit".

Palmetto is correct.  I have two chase cards (Mileageplus and Air Force Club Card) and they do provide these alerts for when the card is run based on a preset limit.  

 

Keep in mind they are a much larger company and for the interest rates they charge, they can definitely afford to provide that service  :)

There are several banks/credit unions that have this option. From large banks like chase to small credit unions. I think some changes to this process would add great value. Also it is not just debit transactions but deposits as well.

A very good example of what banks then have to deal with when this happens.  People are unhappy because they think the bank isn't doing anything, when legally they cannot, and the bank has to pay to handle these situations.  No win situation for the bank - though nice for the customer.

 

Not totally against the idea for those that understand the system, but would rather those who want it be the ones who pay the added cost.

I suppose my gripe about this situation is that alerts which arrive up to four days after a charge is made isn't much of an alert. I made five charges today. I won't see an alert for these charges for two to four days. Now if I go into my handy dandy USAA app I can see the five pending charges I made today. Of course, they showed up within minutes of making the charge.

 

All I want is the option to have those pending charges pushed to me as a text as soon as they occur. I'll take an on/off toggle as not everyone may care. It doesn't even have to be called an alert. How about something less knee jerk, say; Credit Card Account Activity Notification? You could even include hyperlinks with explanations for pending, posted, test charge (etc.). or "Something Doesn't Look Right?" hyperlink that tells the consumer not to panic if you see duplication, small ($1.00)  charges from your merchant as it may be ...

 

Anyway, after being subject to card fraud twice in a one year time frame, I want to see all activity on my card regardless of status (pending or posted) as soon as it occurs. I'm not as concerned about redundant charges from a merchant I've been dealing with as much as I am about  seeing two $400 charges to two high end retailers I've never dealt charged on the same day. It would have been three charges but I didn't validate a test charge from a smaller online realtor. 

 

One last point, in today's world of massive data breaches, if someone has your credit card info what else do they have? At least seeing rogue pending charges will alert the consumer to take a defensive posture and check all accounts to make sure there isn't more going on than someone skimming your card at a restaurant or gas station. 

Thanks to all for your opinions and interest in this matter. 

 

JB

I agree USAA needs to notify it customers on the day the credit card is used.  I have a Chase and Citi Visa and I am notified within minutes of the card being used.  They also tell me the store it was used in, if it was an online, telephone or in person transaction.  USAA needs to update its security notifications.