Sunday, July 09, 2006

Get Visa?


As most of you know I work for a credit card company. We’ll refrain from the Dr. Evilness of that for a moment. The truth of the matter is that we’ll pretty much give anyone a line of credit. We’re not quite on the level of those awful commercials

“Bad credit? No Problem. No credit? No problem!”

But we might as well be. It’s pretty much built where we’ll have a high delinquency rate and we’ve built our fee structure to compensate. Truth of the matter again is that for a long time we’ve been a pretty crappy card. Although we’re making strides to be much better company – one that I’m not ashamed of working for.

But I’ve digressed. We really will give credit to anyone. And that’s the point to remember here.

With my new job duties I have to sit in on weekly marketing meetings. During one a few weeks ago we were talking about revamping our website. We’re planning on redoing the whole thing, and it’s actually one of my primary duties right now. Along with this we were discussing what some of the selling points of the card are, and how we can word that for the website. Turns out the fact that we’ll give anyone is a rather strong selling point.

The Chief Operational Officer was sitting in the meeting and he came up with a slogan.

“Got pulse? Get Visa*”

*I replaced the name of our company with Visa. He jokingly felt this was a great feature to right up front admit that as long as you are alive, you can have one of our cards.

A few days later I am talking to our recovery manager. (Excuse me while I get a little technical here) When one of our customer’s goes delinquent (doesn’t pay the bill) for 7 months we charge it off. Essentially at that point we write the debt off and consider it a loss. Ultimately we still try to collect on the dollars that were actually spent on the card, but for tax purposes it’s considered a total loss at that point.

Often, we will sell these accounts to another company at this point for cents on the dollar. While talking to the recovery manager about these accounts it turned out that this company we sold the accounts to was complaining that several of the account holder were deceased. Obviously they can’t collect from a dead guy and they were pretty ticked we sold them these accounts.

When the manager got to looking at these accounts he realized that the social security numbers belonged to guys who had been dead since the early 90s. Our company has only been around since 2000. Thus we booked accounts on people who were already dead.

Obviously this was fraud, but we’ve decided to change our motto to:

“Used to have a pulse? Get Visa”

14 comments:

Yudelka said...

WOW! How very interesting! How very, very sad!

bigsip said...

Dude, that's crazy!

Of course, there are plenty of folks out there who have credit issues and will do about anything to get a card, car, house, etc.

Jamison said...

sounds like ID theft of course...

Brewster said...

ID theft, was of course, exactly it. Somebody somehow got a hold of dead guy social security numbers and used it to score a credit card. It’s just amazing to me that we didn’t catch it before. Our marketing people are supposed to run a credit check before offering out a card. A credit report would have shown that those socials were deceased. But whoever was in such a hurry for a “sale” they didn’t do a good job checking it out.

Unfortunately, for awhile this was pretty much normal business practices around here.
We hit this stride of “sell sell sell” that nobody was paying any attention to the volume of crap we were getting. We’ve just now really weeded all that junk out and have smacked our marketing team around to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Ultimately it was just kind of funny to me to juxtapose this concept that we’ll give a card to just about anyone, and then to find out we gave the card to a bunch of corpses.

mullinz8 said...

for a business that's ruining America that's pretty funny.

I'm happy to not have one of those things anymore.

I'm glad that my pal is going to making sure the whole place is on the up and up though

Brewster said...

Let't talk about that a moment. With out a doubt a lot of folks in the industry have some shady practices. Marketing tactics are borderline guerilla. We are a nation of credit abusers.

But at the end of the day it is still personal responsibility. I've been cursed out by so many people telling me its my fault that they (or their son, or wife, or whatever) went out and spent 5 grand on computer equipment, sex chat lines, and tennis shoes. Especially when they don't have a job and have no means to pay it back.

I'm totally for anti-predatory laws, but man if you spend it expect to pay for it.

Brewster said...

Oh, I was doing some research the other day and landed on a consumer complaint site. There were a bunch of pissed off folks who got telemarketed for a credit card and stupidly gave up their checking account info for a "one time charge" of like $150. Of course they never got the credit card or anything else for their money.

It probably doens't have to be said, but never give out personal info over the phone unless you know absolutely who you are dealing with. And if you want a credit card there are tons of free ones available, don't pay for it.

mullinz8 said...

Don’t forget, the stupid walk among us…

It’s all about personal responsibility. You’re 100% correct.

Still it’s pretty easy to say, “oh just one meal out won’t kill us” only to realize you’ve said that every night for a month.

The last shoot I was on the lady was telling everyone she was getting a divorce. Apparently her soon-to-be ex was using his credit cards get “serviced” while he traveled abroad.

Jamison said...

How else are you supposed pay for services when you are abroad? Travelers checks are better, but credit cards work too...

Brewster said...

I didn't realize the "service" industry took credit cards, or travelers checks for that matter

bigsip said...

All the hookers in Vegas take credit cards...

mullinz8 said...

How does a man who swears up and down that he doesn’t want to go to Vegas, obviously having never been there, know the hookers take credit cards???

Jamison said...

the hookers travel.. costs more, but they do...

bigsip said...

I saw some documentary about prostitution and it said the hookers are legal and take cards.

One of the reasons I don't want to go there. Adds to the trashiness of the whole idea.