Recently, I got a call from the billing person at my doctor’s office, having problems with my credit card. Later that day, I couldn’t complete a $15 purchase with my credit card. I called the wonderful folks at MBNA, but of course, before I could actually talk to someone, I had to verify a set of transactions, and then got to speak with someone. She informed me that my card was on “hold.” I still had tens of thousands of dollars in credit available, it had nothing to do with that.

In fact, they couldn’t really tell me why they had done this, but it was of course, for my own protection. And the message to the people running my card was that they should call in to verify the transaction. Right, because so many of the people operating cash registers are well trained, motivated, and interested in helping. As far as I knew, I had been declined. And MBNA could not explain why, but she pointed out that I had made a bunch of purchases.

Isn’t that what a credit card is for?

I should add that this dialog was further hampered by the fact that she kept telling me that now that I have validated the transactions at the beginning of the call, everything should be fine. I kept talking about what had JUST happened, like, ya know, in the PAST, and she told me I was all set now. Very frustrating.

One company thoughtfully charges you to exceed their credit limit (in an “emergency” so they say) while the other one stops you using it because they want to protect you from….you using it?

I was also told that if you travel, you should let them know when and where, so they don’t shut you off. Very nice.


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