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  • JDB 4,649 posts

    The comments re pensions and age related decision making in financial services are interesting but the OP’s account closure clearly had nothing whatsoever with him being a pensioner/retiree. Over many posts he cited sufficient red flags of things Amex will not have liked or found unusual, even if they didn’t constitute any actual breach of terms. There may have been other externally sourced factors of which the OP wouldn’t have been aware.

    The simple fact is that Amex is trying to reduce its credit book and will always protect its own position rather than considering that someone has had an account for x years and the victims might be of any age. Amex’s UK product line up is actually very old fashioned and they have a great many older customers they won’t be getting rid of.

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    All protected characteristics are “different” and will present a difference to modelling on spend, etc. That’s not a reason to deny people access to products IMHO.

    The financial services age exemption came after extensive consultation with both industry and consumer groups. Some things obviously bothered the industry; for example, if it were illegal to include age as a factor in pricing life assurance, annuities or health insurance, those products would immediately disappear from the market. Other things bothered consumer groups: should a 55-year-old be offered a 30 year mortgage, for example? Many lenders would be happy with the credit risk, but it could lead to homelessness amongst vulnerable retirees.

    You might have a philosophical perspective that you should be free to make a bad decision that could throw you onto the streets in your eighth decade, but, for better or worse, we live in a country where governments and consumer lobby groups have determined that you need to be protected from yourself. So, whether you like it or not, people in the UK will be denied access to products based on their age or retirement status for the foreseeable future.

    Good stuff @jj but other posters hsve made points that insufficiently refined algorithms are being used to eliminate entire groups of consumers from financial products based on protected characteristics including age. Whereas the algorithms financial providers use should be refined enough to evaluate this risk and cross-evaluate with other risks and make a sensible fair decision that did not just eliminate on that protected chsracteristic of age.

    The laziness in not refining their algorithms and their sneakiness in hiding behind legislation intended to protect them from criminals with no internal
    or independent externsl review or appeal possible : this amounts to actual discrimination.

    I do have some hope financial providers will be forced to stop so obviously and literslly automatically on the basis of age, if we’ve correctly worked out from anecdotal data here on HfP what’s going here.

    The reason I’m hopeful was that a few years ago I was utterly put out, that suddenly my car insurance premiums wemt up a big chunk. With a longstsnding perfect driving record. The reason? The insurance industry had been told not to discriminate as they had been doing, on gender- another protected characteristic.

    So my insurance premiums as a femsle driver hsd to go up. Because I’m now paying for the fact known by actuaries since forever which is that at most ages male drivers cause notably more accidents. So of course males were correctly being quoted higher premiums.

    And since insurance comoanies eere told they couldn’t discriminate any more sgainst men despite this actuarial fact, my hope is that finance providers are going to hsve to create very refined algorithms instead of the blunt instrument they have now, if they don’t want to be told to stop discriminsting sgsinst another protectwd charscteristic – age.

    Or was the law just protecting males again? If women had been the ones causing accidents and getting much higher quotes for motor insurance just for being women, would the motor industry have been told to stop discriminating on the basis of gender?

    BBbetter 773 posts

    Good stuff @jj but other posters hsve made points that insufficiently refined algorithms are being used to eliminate entire groups of consumers from financial products based on protected characteristics including age. Whereas the algorithms financial providers use should be refined enough to evaluate this risk and cross-evaluate with other risks and make a sensible fair decision that did not just eliminate on that protected chsracteristic of age.

    The laziness in not refining their algorithms and their sneakiness in hiding behind legislation intended to protect them from criminals with no internal
    or independent externsl review or appeal possible : this amounts to actual discrimination.

    The argument falls apart as even though algos would have flagged the account, its ultimately humans here who took the decision to close an account after considering all aspects. Claiming its down to only age is pure speculation.

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    Wasn’t done with sufficient intelligence @BBB and that’s the point. We think intelligence not being enough in the algorithm(s) concerned, and not in any (if there was any intellgent competent) review). And after these lacks, the financial provider not having to operate a fair appeals procedure. And no external appeal body due to existing legislation being mis-used all of which creates a gap of unfairness for financial providers to sail through.

    Metty 86 posts

    As the point of posting here was to try and avoid others doing whatever I’d done, I’ll try to remain objective. The SAR data came back from Amex today and I’ve been working through it.

    There’s some changes to the T&Cs in Oct-23 where they say that payment must be made from an account in the cardholder’s own name. I am still wondering whether that’s been a flag as wife and I’s cards are paid from our joint a/c and comes up as <her> & <me> <surname>. Went on chat to ask if payments from a joint account were ok or whether one should move the ££ to a personal a/c in cardholder’s name alone and was told that joint a/c was definitely OK. Not to worry, we won’t cancel your accounts 🙂 I asked where it states this and the Chat agent couldn’t point at this.

    One item in the SAR data mentions *6 CARDS* (Amex’s *s) so that may be the sole reason or part of the puzzle. Google thinks that the limit is 5? so maybe their systems shouldn’t have allowed me the 6th a month or two before the termination. Anyway it seems to be the Amex CLIC system that’s responsible for terminating me, not the friendly sounding ‘Know Your Customer’ folks as there was a recent KYC review which had me as low/medium risk. What’s CLIC?

    Metty 86 posts

    Someone (clearly of a younger generation) has just sent me this, generated using AI, how clever!!

    https://suno.com/song/88385c83-4378-4dbc-a1e5-ed9bdbee92cc

    And to be clear, Amex have not taken my Avios away, AI assumed that when generating the lyrics somehow

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    All protected characteristics are “different” and will present a difference to modelling on spend, etc. That’s not a reason to deny people access to products IMHO.

    The financial services age exemption came after extensive consultation with both industry and consumer groups. Some things obviously bothered the industry; for example, if it were illegal to include age as a factor in pricing life assurance, annuities or health insurance, those products would immediately disappear from the market. Other things bothered consumer groups: should a 55-year-old be offered a 30 year mortgage, for example? Many lenders would be happy with the credit risk, but it could lead to homelessness amongst vulnerable retirees.

    You might have a philosophical perspective that you should be free to make a bad decision that could throw you onto the streets in your eighth decade, but, for better or worse, we live in a country where governments and consumer lobby groups have determined that you need to be protected from yourself. So, whether you like it or not, people in the UK will be denied access to products based on their age or retirement status for the foreseeable future.

    Good stuff @jj but other posters have made points that insufficiently refined algorithms are being used to eliminate entire groups of consumers from financial products based on protected characteristics including age. Whereas the algorithms financial providers use should be refined enough to evaluate this risk and cross-evaluate with other risks and make a sensible fair decision that did not just eliminate on that protected chsracteristic of age.

    The laziness in not refining their algorithms and their sneakiness in hiding behind legislation intended to protect them from criminals with no internal
    or independent externsl review or appeal possible : this amounts to actual discrimination.

    I do have some hope financial providers will be forced to stop so obviously and literslly automatically on the basis of age, if we’ve correctly worked out from anecdotal data here on HfP what’s going here.

    The reason I’m hopeful was that a few years ago I was utterly put out, that suddenly my car insurance premiums wemt up a big chunk. With a longstsnding perfect driving record. The reason? The insurance industry had been told not to discriminate as they had been doing, on gender- another protected characteristic.

    So my insurance premiums as a femsle driver hsd to go up. Because I’m now paying for the fact known by actuaries since forever which is that at most ages male drivers cause notably more accidents. So of course males were correctly being quoted higher premiums.

    And since insurance comoanies eere told they couldn’t discriminate any more sgainst men despite this actuarial fact, my hope is that finance providers are going to hsve to create very refined algorithms instead of the blunt instrument they have now, if they don’t want to be told to stop discriminsting sgsinst another protectwd charscteristic – age.

    Or was the law just protecting males again? If women had been the ones causing accidents and getting much higher quotes for motor insurance just for being women, would the motor industry have been told to stop discriminating on the basis of gender?

    jj 534 posts

    What’s CLIC?

    A DSAR must be intellible. That’s generally taken to mean that acronyms, abbreviations ans proprietary terms must be explained. Amex should tell you if you ask.

    SBIre 170 posts

    CLIC usually stands for Credit, Liabilities, Income and Capital in these situations

    can2 575 posts

    That’s amazing!

    A swan-song to the miles game!

    Someone (clearly of a younger generation) has just sent me this, generated using AI, how clever!!

    https://suno.com/song/88385c83-4378-4dbc-a1e5-ed9bdbee92cc

    And to be clear, Amex have not taken my Avios away, AI assumed that when generating the lyrics somehow

    can2 575 posts

    The argument falls apart as even though algos would have flagged the account, its ultimately humans here who took the decision to close an account after considering all aspects. Claiming its down to only age is pure speculation.

    Yeah, but it is no more speculative that NOT claiming it is down to only age.

    but we all are equally not-knowing, and one major error of Amex’s system/algo/AI [whatever you call it] is that it allows people to speculate in such a broad spectrum. Was that their goal? Who knows?

    zapato1060 718 posts

    That’s amazing!

    A swan-song to the miles game!

    Someone (clearly of a younger generation) has just sent me this, generated using AI, how clever!!

    https://suno.com/song/88385c83-4378-4dbc-a1e5-ed9bdbee92cc

    And to be clear, Amex have not taken my Avios away, AI assumed that when generating the lyrics somehow

    It is amazing and scary as hell!!!!

    kec_5217 1 post

    Hi Metty, Did you ever get this resolved? I just got back from Marrakech and couldn’t use my card thinking it was because I was abroad to only see I received the same e-mail as you about FCA. I’ve been with them since 2016 and always paid my balance off in full and have had no issues until now which seems so out the blue! Customer service has said there is no one I can speak to and just to respond back to the e-mail which is sounding like there is no appeal? any advice would be much appreciated. Were you able to transfer your points out at least? Thank you

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    Which category of earnings source are you in and how naughty have you been?

    geekay 12 posts

    For the first time ever, and not having changed any bank arrangements in 8 years, I got an email from Amex warning me not to make payments other than from an account in my name. My payments come from a joint account. I can see potential issues ahead, but the point of this msg is to flag that something has changed in the Amex system as it is now wrongly flagging perfectly standard banking arrangements.

    Metty 86 posts

    @kec_5217 I didn’t lose any points/Avios, although the account will be cancelled next month and the cards were suspended immediately, because they gave 60 days notice of canx the things one can do is transfer points out and use the Chat facility.

    I haven’t heard back from the FOS yet but the DSAR was mildly interesting.

    Complaints got nowhere. To be honest, it sounds like there’s some AI/algorithm/bot working with a special team at Amex that the rest of the company can’t understand, so they give a ‘business decision has been taken to cancel your account’ which they say is high up in the company somewhere.

    I am to be cancelled.

    Wife spoke to the credit team for nearly an hour as she was asked to call them so that her card could be unsuspended, which sounded like good news, as her account shows Active to the credit team, Chat, cust services etc. She’s had no notification of cancellation 36 days on and we are as bemused as Amex’s own staff, one of whom said they’d worked in Cust Svs and Complaints for 30 years and never seen anything like this.

    Daughter meanwhile has had her complaint investigated, an apology for incorrect suspension, card reinstated and £50 compo.

    Son’s Plat is suspended but his complaint is unanswered.


    @geekay
    that’s interesting re joint a/c, who knows. I know they don’t have to give any reasons but if it was joint a/c then a warning would be appropriate esp as I didn’t know that may be a flag. Me having 6 cards I assume they wouldn’t wish to warn me about as that exposes the hole in their system that allowed me to get 6 cards (2 prime and 4 supps)…if I bust their limit then presumably I could have got 40 supps!

    Alex G 465 posts

    This thread is making me very nervous about doing anything out of the ordinary with Amex.

    I usually pay my Amex bill with three different (Halifax) Debit Cards – £500 on each of the first two, and the balance on the third.

    The three debit cards are from three different Halifax Current Accounts. Each account is a sole account in my own name.

    Amex only allow you to store one debit card on your Amex account, so I delete the current card and add a new one each time I make a payment. I find I can only do one a day.

    I am worried that Amex might see this as suspicious (although there is nothing dodgy about it – I am just satisfying the criteria for Halifax Reward current accounts).

    I would particularly value @JDB’s opinion, but any views welcome.

    TedL 43 posts

    Mrs TedL received an email last week about payments to her Gold card account,

    “Important information about
    who can make payments
    to your Card Account

    We recently noticed that one or more payments on your American Express® Card Account referenced above was made by your Supplementary Cardholder(s). We’d like to make sure you are aware of this payment(s).
    Alert icon
    What you should know about future payments

    All future payments should be made from a bank account held in your name, as the main Cardmember. Payments can continue to be made from joint bank accounts if the main Cardmember is one of the signatories. It is important you know that any future payments made by a Supplementary Cardholder could result in your Account being suspended.”

    Strange as the payments are made by direct debit from our joint bank account, I have a Supp card on the account and direct debit is the only method of payment that has ever been used on this Gold card.

    Julia 51 posts

    When Amex released their Q1 results a little while back they said demand for their premium cards was still strong. Perhaps they’re chipping away those customers who won’t make premium card membership?

    JDB 4,649 posts

    This thread is making me very nervous about doing anything out of the ordinary with Amex.

    I usually pay my Amex bill with three different (Halifax) Debit Cards – £500 on each of the first two, and the balance on the third.

    The three debit cards are from three different Halifax Current Accounts. Each account is a sole account in my own name.

    Amex only allow you to store one debit card on your Amex account, so I delete the current card and add a new one each time I make a payment. I find I can only do one a day.

    I am worried that Amex might see this as suspicious (although there is nothing dodgy about it – I am just satisfying the criteria for Halifax Reward current accounts).

    I would particularly value @JDB’s opinion, but any views welcome.

    @AlexG – I can’t see that Amex should have any great issue with this. I’m not sure that people making part payments of their Amex bills is particularly unusual and while Amex is obviously quite trigger happy at the moment, getting paid is a top priority as long as the payment comes from you. I would have thought that paying the bill with Curve, excess PayPal F&F, obvious MS type transactions with lots of refunds, significant change of circumstances or increasing borrowings/credit that Amex picks up externally, excessive credit limits etc. are all much higher risks.

    From this thread in general, I’m not entirely surprised that Amex might not have liked someone having two cards and then four supps – it looks totally ridiculous and is just extra risk as far as Amex is concerned. In essence, there’s more to using the account properly than just sticking to the letter of the T&Cs.

    Ian 45 posts

    As the point of posting here was to try and avoid others doing whatever I’d done, I’ll try to remain objective. The SAR data came back from Amex today and I’ve been working through it.

    There’s some changes to the T&Cs in Oct-23 where they say that payment must be made from an account in the cardholder’s own name. I am still wondering whether that’s been a flag as wife and I’s cards are paid from our joint a/c and comes up as <her> & <me> <surname>. Went on chat to ask if payments from a joint account were ok or whether one should move the ££ to a personal a/c in cardholder’s name alone and was told that joint a/c was definitely OK. Not to worry, we won’t cancel your accounts 🙂 I asked where it states this and the Chat agent couldn’t point at this.

    One item in the SAR data mentions *6 CARDS* (Amex’s *s) so that may be the sole reason or part of the puzzle. Google thinks that the limit is 5? so maybe their systems shouldn’t have allowed me the 6th a month or two before the termination. Anyway it seems to be the Amex CLIC system that’s responsible for terminating me, not the friendly sounding ‘Know Your Customer’ folks as there was a recent KYC review which had me as low/medium risk. What’s CLIC?

    Is this limit including supplementary cards?

    Not at 6,but getting closer now with the business card.

    NorthernLass 8,267 posts

    I suppose that even though the primary cardholder is responsible for any debt, someone having 6 lines of credit might spook a card provider. That might explain why the family cards were suspended. There are certainly unscrupulous individuals who would exploit this facility – and also people who are naive enough to believe that they’re not liable for debts someone else has incurred in their name.

    AJA 1,127 posts

    From this thread in general, I’m not entirely surprised that Amex might not have liked someone having two cards and then four supps – it looks totally ridiculous and is just extra risk as far as Amex is concerned. In essence, there’s more to using the account properly than just sticking to the letter of the T&Cs.

    Why does it look totally ridiculous?

    Amex must have reviewed and originally approved the card applications and issued the supplementary cards.

    Amex allows people to have more than one Amex card in their own name (unlike Barclays, unless you’re an exception) and also allows multiple supplementary cards which are debts run up in the name of the primary account and not the name on the supplementary card. And logically the supplementary cards are likely to be other family members though that’s not actually a restriction – you can issue a supplementary card to anyone.

    So while that may contribute to Amex’s subsequent credit risk review and their decision to close the OP’s card accounts it can’t be the primary reason for having done so.

    And why suspend other family members cards at the same time? I suspect it’s because Amex used to allow household income to count for applications and now it’s personal income that counts. So the algorithm has probably decided the entire credit exposure Amex has granted now exceeds their accepted limits.

    To my mind it would have been fairer to reduce the credit limit available (with an explanation of the reasoning) rather than simply closing the accounts.

    I think Amex is in a mess. It often used to increase the credit limits available to customers – in my case it’s happened several times in the 17 years I’ve operated the account. That was their decision to offer it, I never approached Amex to ask for an increase but gladly accepted it. To use it against me now as a reason to close my account would be wholly unfair. But I’d accept a reasonable reduction in credit limit if it was justified to me.

    brian 90 posts

    I also got the “We recently noticed that one or more payments on your American Express® Card Account referenced above was made by your Supplementary Cardholder(s).” email recently. The plan was to contact them before my next payment is due to see if I could get details on the payment that is supposedly in breach (all payments either come from my account or a joint account).

    On hearing it’s something that others have experienced recently I’m considering just changing my payment process to avoid using the joint account even though I should not have to.

    It’s like they’ve introduced a new check that tries to map the name of a supplementsry card holder with the name of a bank account and it doesn’t even consider whether it’s a joint account or not.

    Has anyone else challenged them on this?

    JDB 4,649 posts

    @AJA – I find it pays to look at these things from both sides. If you can’t see the ridiculousness of having two main cards and four supplementaries and how that might appear to Amex, maybe you are yourself at risk because it’s so blooming obvious.

    You immediately put the blame on Amex for allowing the number of supps, but that’s really not the point, even if they had a limit. Most people don’t need four supps which represent a risk and a cost to Amex. Amex also doesn’t say you can’t do MS, use PayPal F&F, pay your bill with a credit card via Curve, churn, take a retention and cancel etc. etc. so it comes down to common sense and reasonableness; cardholders need to take responsibility for their actions. Those who do will be just fine.

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