I recently made a laptop purchase from Circuit City online. During the checkout process, my business American Express (AmEx) card was declined. I tried my personal AmEx card and got the same result. I actually tried each of them a few times just to be sure I didn’t make a mistake when I entered the numbers on the payment page. I ended up making the purchase with my Visa and thought they might just be having trouble processing AmEx transactions at the time.
Later that day, I got a call From AmEx about suspicious transaction attempts. It turns out that the transactions were declined by AmEx because they were suspicious. I guess my card had been locked as a result.
I have mixed feelings about this. The consumer side of me thought, “wow, AmEx is really looking out for me.” I’m a patient shopper, so little inconveniences don’t bother me too much. I’m sure there are others that would be totally frustrated with any sort of inconvenience while ordering online. I’d rather have to jump through a hoop or two if it means stopping someone else from making unauthorized purchases on my account.
The online marketer in me thought, “How many sales are lost due to these false alerts?” In affiliate marketing, this is something that is far out of our control. It’s even out of the merchant’s control if the CC company decides to decline a transaction based on suspicion. I guess it’s a good thing that most merchants offer many methods of payment.
By contrast, when I made my first purchase from Amazon’s MP3 store things went a little too quickly. I clicked on “Buy this album” and my computer was instantly downloading the new MP3s without any warning. It made me uneasy that it was so simple to make a purchase. I didn’t even have to enter in my credit card information, Amazon had that all stored for me since I had purchased from them previously. I’ve since enabled an option in my account so that I get a confirmation page prior to MP3 orders being placed.