AMEX Fraud Prevention System Is Far Better Than Its Competitors

by joeheg

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, US consumers were shopping. According to estimates, people were “full steam ahead” with their holiday purchases. While this is good news for retailers, it also means that scammers are out looking to use stolen credit card numbers to purchase big-ticket items. It’s understandable that credit card companies are on high alert for charges outside normal spending trends to catch thieves.

However, it also means you’re more likely to trigger a fraud alert when shopping for an iPad, television or gaming console. Even more so if you’re using a card you don’t use very often (which may be the case if you received an offer for bonus points for the holiday season.).

I found a good Black Friday deal on an iPad from Best Buy. I used Cashback Monitor to find the best shopping portal and activated my AMEX Offer for an extra 1X Membership Rewards point for Best Buy purchases. I used our American Express Blue Business Plus card which earns 2X points for all purchases (so I’d get 3X points from Best Buy.)

When I placed the order online, a box popped up saying AMEX SafeKey. It looked similar to the popup you’ll get from “Verified by Visa” or “Mastercard Identity Check.” However, for this purchase, I received a message I’d never seen before. AMEX was asking me for a code that they sent to my phone and/or email account to verify my identity.

If you have push notifications set up on your phone, they can also use that to verify the purchase.

I entered the code from my phone and AMEX sent me back to the Best Buy website to complete the purchase.

While it was a new experience, I was happier to have a bank verify my purchase in this manner instead of denying the purchase and then sending me a message asking if it was me. If that happens, I usually have to go through the whole process again and hope the charge will go through the second time without triggering a fraud alert shutting down my card until I get to call the bank.

Final Thoughts

I never had a purchase flagged by AMEX SmartKey for potential fraud. However, I could see how buying an iPad from Best Buy on a card we don’t typically use for that type of purchase would raise some red flags. It was much easier to enter a code from a text message to verify my identity than it is to call in and speak to a fraud department representative.

For this instance, I’m giving the AMEX fraud prevention team a thumbs up!

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KP November 28, 2022 - 9:18 pm

It’s a verification service that best buy has implemented. so the kudos in this post should be directed to best buy rather than amex.

fwiw, I get the code when trying to pay with my capital one venture x as well on the best buy site.

joeheg November 28, 2022 - 10:50 pm

I think the service is provided by American Express and Best Buy has agreed to use it.

KP November 30, 2022 - 11:15 pm

Yes, but it’s a service Amex offers to all big merchants. Best buy decided to take them up on it, and spend the time and money to implement it on their site. Similar services are offered by MC and Visa as well, so there is nothing special about Amex in this case (as your post seems to imply).

Marie November 29, 2022 - 11:09 am

I had the same thing with Capital One Venture X last night. I was purchasing a business class award flight directly with an airline, and had to pay a large amount of taxes and fees. I chose to pay with my Venture X card, which I haven’t done before. Usually my purchases are for less money, and in other predictable categories. I had spent a lot of time deciding things while booking, and my search was almost ready to time out, in which case I would have to start over and hope the award seat would still be available. Luckily, Capital One sent me a verification notice text to my phone. All I had to do was enter the verification code, which took about 15 seconds, then it sent me right back to finish the purchase. I am extremely happy that the purchase was noted and verified, and even more happy that it did not cause me to lose my progress on making the purchase. I’d like to see this more often, rather than the denial and follow up phone call.


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