What’s In Your Wallet?

Cap1ogoI’ve had no qualms about calling out companies that operate like buckets of shit in the hot sun. So it’s only fair that I give praise when praise is due. And Capital One deserves praise.

Before I traveled to South Africa for the World Cup in 2010, I alerted both of my credit card companies about my travel plans. They both thanked me for the heads-up and assured me that my overseas transactions would go smoothly.

I have a Visa card specifically for the World Cup. Visa is a sponsor of the tournament, so they require you to use a Visa card to purchase tickets online (or at least they used to). So I have a Visa, alerted them to my travel plans, and actually tried to use my Visa card in a Visa-branded shop in a stadium at a Visa-sponsored event. I was declined…by Visa.

But I had no problem using my Capital One MasterCard anywhere I traveled in South Africa. Sure, I couldn’t use it at the Visa store in the stadium, but it turns out I couldn’t use my Visa card in the Visa store either.

I recently purchased an Inter Milan soccer jersey from the team’s online store, presumably based in Italy. I used my Capital One MasterCard to make the purchase. They flagged the purchase as unusual, which it was, and declined it.

I awoke the next morning to an email from Capital One informing why it had declined to authorize the transaction and asked if I could – with one simple click – verify that my handful of other recent transactions were valid. I had been making some odd purchases, but they were all legit, so I clicked the button.

A few hours later, less than 12 hours after my initial transaction had been declined, Capital One called me. They called to confirm that they had inadvertently declined the transaction, to apologize to me for that, and to stay on the phone with me while I went ahead and completed my online purchase successfully.

I may not be too happy about the pocket where I put my wallet these days, but I am delighted to have Capital One in my wallet!