Farewell to an Amtrak credit card

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard, issued by Chase Bank, ends with the numbers 3524. Excuse me, make that 7276. No, the final digits are 8338. Wrong again, so let’s try 3895. The fact is I don’t possess a valid AGR MasterCard at the moment. While I was having lunch today my iPhone vibrated. It was Chase Bank emailing a Chase Fraud Alert. Did I really just spend $189.68 this afternoon in Missouri at Tobacco Plus? Not easy to do when you’re in Colorado. Out goes 3895. That’s four hijacked Amtrak Guest Reward credit cards in less than six months. Good old card 3895 didn’t even last a billing cycle.

How screwed up is this country? Credit card fraud is pandemic — witness my experience. I bet you have stories to tell, too. Yet according to The New York Times, the banks and retailers that issue credit cards are refusing to institute new technology and safe practices that would practically make credit card fraud a thing of the past. The reason, reports the newspaper, is that card issuers think you and I would feel hassled if we had to remember a four-digit PIN to use every time we paid by credit card. That’s the way it is done in Europe, to good effect. Gee, Chase Bank, how hassled do you think I am now? It seems that every time I check emails there’s another Chase Fraud Alert.

If anyone at Amtrak had even a flicker of intelligence, they would be demanding that Chase institute these practices or lose Amtrak as a client. Since that’s not happening, I think I won’t even ask for a replacement card. I’ll start using ApplePay. — Fred W. Frailey

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