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Forums Payment cards American Express Amex has cancelled all my cards!

  • louie 138 posts

    Most people don’t need four supps which represent a risk and a cost to Amex.

    How exactly? The cost of printing and posting a card? I’m sure that will bankrupt them….

    John 1,050 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.

    I don’t believe Amex can see the name on the account when you use a debit card. Nonetheless I have stopped doing this myself and going forward I will do £500 with one card and let the rest be taken by DD from a sole name account.

    I suppose it’s cheaper for credit card providers to receive payments by bank transfer (where they can see the name, and they can also see the name from DDs) but I don’t see any benefits to me to using bank transfer as opposed to debit card for non-DD payments – in fact the only time I have been debanked is by HSBC for paying Amex by bank transfer 10 years ago

    JDB 4,649 posts

    @John – Amex can see the name of the debit cardholder and they run that through systems to check e.g. that a sanctioned person isn’t paying your account. Payments from a third party can also be used to evade tax.

    Merchants are routinely provided with the name on the card and often with address details, even when using one of those newer hand held devices. I sometimes use one to receive payments and it’s very useful as the customer uses their card and that automatically populates my CRM and creates an invoice and receipt with all the relevant details.

    BBbetter 773 posts

    Most people don’t need four supps which represent a risk and a cost to Amex.

    How exactly? The cost of printing and posting a card? I’m sure that will bankrupt them….

    Highly unlikely just getting the cards triggered the issue. More likely saving the same offer across 6 cards and using them simultaneously.
    In the past there have definitely been people admitting their accounts shut down when they maximised shop small across multiple cards, though they did take it to an extreme level (like across a dozen cards).

    Metty 86 posts

    @JDB

    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

    It looks ridiculous to you – and maybe Amex – but when Amex offer my son 1000 (2000?) points to add a supp, why wouldn’t he? I then get many of the Plat benefits for ‘free’. And as for the others, in the case of BA it’s fairly obvious that it is a path to get 3 companion vouchers a year.

    Life without Amex is actually simpler, we’ll save £1500 or so in annual fees and sat here in Shanghai in a nice room thanks to Emyr (as had to cancel the Amex Travel booking lest things went awry at check in trying to use a card Amex suspended), I think we’ll survive.

    JDB 4,649 posts

    @JDB

    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

    It looks ridiculous to you – and maybe Amex – but when Amex offer my son 1000 (2000?) points to add a supp, why wouldn’t he? I then get many of the Plat benefits for ‘free’. And as for the others, in the case of BA it’s fairly obvious that it is a path to get 3 companion vouchers a year.

    Life without Amex is actually simpler, we’ll save £1500 or so in annual fees and sat here in Shanghai in a nice room thanks to Emyr (as had to cancel the Amex Travel booking lest things went awry at check in trying to use a card Amex suspended), I think we’ll survive.

    I’m sure life without Amex actually is simpler, something I’m fully prepared for as I’m always telling Amex things they don’t want to hear. More importantly, enjoy Shanghai! It’s a great place – I’m just planning what I think is our 12th trip there since the 2010 Expo for October (none of this T-355 nonsense).

    Misty 289 posts

    I’m not sure about this multiple card things being a big issue, it looks like Amex using any old excuse to terminate people they don’t want around anymore. I have only been doing this for 6 or so months and we already have 4 cards a BAPP with me as Supplementary and a Goldcard with my husband as supplementary. It was just the logical thing to do. We also have one other credit card with a very healthy credit limit. I still don’t understand why having multiple cards in line with what AMEX allow seems to such a big issue that it can get people banned.

    JDB 4,649 posts

    I’m not sure about this multipole card things being a big issue. I have only been doing this for 6 or so months and we already have 4 cards a BAPP with me as Supplementary and a Goldcard with my husband as supplementary. It was just the logical thing to do. We also have one other credit card with a very healthy credit limit. I still don’t understand why having multiple cards in line with what AMEX allow seems to such a big issue.

    That’s just four cards between two people, very modest, very normal. The OP had six by himself – two main, four supplementaries. Amex no likey. In itself, it may not always matter but when combined with other things they don’t like but don’t actually prohibit it might cause issues.

    AJA 1,127 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.

    I only have the BAPP and have a supplementary card on my OH’s account. Other than that I have a Hilton visa Barclaycard and a M&S Mastercard. Plus my debit card on my single personal bank account which I only use to withdraw cash at ATMs. I hold no other cards.

    The rest of your comment about MS, paypal, curve, etc, are much more likely to be reasons to shut down an account but none of that applies to me. whether it applies to OP is another matter.

    I am not worried about my situation with Amex but I would still be very annoyed if they summarily decided to close my account without giving me a reason.

    I do not say that Amex is the only party to blame here but I do think they bear the responsibility for their own actions as does the OP for his own actions. My reading of the detail in this thread is that OP did something that upset Amex. But I doubt that holding two Amex cards in his own name and 4 supplementaries on family members’ accounts was the primary reason for the shut down. But I am saying that if Amex used that fact as the reason for closing his account I think Amex is acting unreasonably given Amex was responsible for issuing the cards. As I said above if Amex thinks OP had access to too much credit via Amex then the customer friendly action would have been to keep the account open but reduce the credit limits. It did not do that. Nor has it explained its decision.

    The fact that OP doesn’t really know what he did to cause his account to be closed is what is concerning since it seems Amex can do something arbitrarily, and there is no comeback for the customer.

    JDB 4,649 posts

    @AJA I genuinely hear what you say but this isn’t really about Amex, but the law that has been in place for 50 years. I’m not taking any view as to whether it’s right or wrong, but the law permits the cardholder to close their account with immediate effect without giving a reason and a card provider can do similarly but has to give two months notice; both parties are free to choose who they want to do business with. Card providers virtually never give reasons partly because it can only give rise to pointless correspondence that won’t change a decision but more importantly because they don’t want to tip off others, which may often even be unlawful.

    While these decisions reported with excitable headlines may appear arbitrary based on the narrative provided by the victim, there’s usually a bit more than meets the eye and institutions are careful to do things properly because while the victim may not discover the reasons, the basis is accessible to the FCA, FOS and the courts so account closures need to be appropriately/fairly determined.

    There’s an awful lot of time wasted going down the rabbit hole of seeking reasons through complaints or going to the FOS which all end up with the same answer.

    From all your posts, it is clear that you are a sensible and responsible person, so there is no reason to fear anything from Amex. The thing about age/retirees postulated in this thread is errant nonsense.

    As a retired professional, you will be very familiar with the concept of conduct being regulated by Principles, Regulations and Guidance and for those working in financial markets the very onerous Market Abuse regulations. The ‘Principles’ are very wide ranging and bind people in their private as well as their professional lives and catch things that can’t exhaustively be covered in rules. It’s really no different for an Amex cardholder – Amex publishes certain binding rules/terms most of which derive from statute but it is expected that one also adheres to fairly obvious unpublished rules as it is simply not possible to state all the things you shouldn’t do.

    If someone chooses to push their luck, sometimes Amex will tolerate it, sometimes they won’t and if there is a cumulation of infractions they might close your account without notice and that is their prerogative. Tenure counts for very little, but may assist at the margin in close calls.

    Nobody operating their account responsibly and in the manner intended need have the slightest fear.

    Scott 257 posts

    @JDB Re: “Nobody operating their account responsibly and in the manner intended need have the slightest fear.” – you keep saying this yet ignore the posts above from responsible people who pay off their Amex by DD from a joint bank account being warned that risk having their accounts closed.
    You seem to discount the possibility for errors on the part of Amex in whatever process changes they have made.

    JDB 4,649 posts

    @JDB Re: “Nobody operating their account responsibly and in the manner intended need have the slightest fear.” – you keep saying this yet ignore the posts above from responsible people who pay off their Amex by DD from a joint bank account being warned that risk having their accounts closed.
    You seem to discount the possibility for errors on the part of Amex in whatever process changes they have made.

    I’m not ignoring the posts above re joint accounts and clearly if someone receives one of these emails from Amex they need to address it immediately to avoid any problems. Amex, like anyone makes mistakes but they will correct them once flagged and here they are providing a warning before taking any action.

    I’m a bit surprised about the joint account issue as while I don’t know how other banks work as I only have a joint account with First Direct which is my main account which my wife rarely uses. However, when she does initiate any type of payment, it clearly comes from her and not me, although I am named first on the account (and obviously banks need to know which of any joint account holders authorised any given transaction). Likewise when I make a payment it only has my initials, and no indication it comes from a joint account. Equally, if someone wants to send either of us money and they use the account name match, that will match exactly either using my initials + surname or hers but no indication that there’s anything joint. Cheques do have both of our names but can’t remember when I last used one. If other banks work in the same way, it’s possible the DDs are wrongly set up.

    Amex’s key concern is the source of funds, so once you advise them of the issue it can be resolved. This is just a basic housekeeping issue.

    brian 90 posts

    They’ve included the following in the email which means I’m not 100% sure how to proceed.

    Additional details
    If you believe this has been sent in error and all payments to your American Express Card Account have been made from your own bank account* for all charges, including the transactions incurred by any Supplementary Cardholders, no further action is needed at this time. However, we may contact you for further information in the future.

    * earlier they say how a joint account is acceptable

    I use the mobile app to settle my statement but I pay a portion using my own HSBC account and the remainder (household spend) using a Joint Monzo account which does appear to send both names when making a payment.

    At this stage it might be easier to just change how I pay than get to the bottom of what has raised a flag.

    HampshireHog 138 posts

    @JDB Re: “Nobody operating their account responsibly and in the manner intended need have the slightest fear.” – you keep saying this yet ignore the posts above from responsible people who pay off their Amex by DD from a joint bank account being warned that risk having their accounts closed.
    You seem to discount the possibility for errors on the part of Amex in whatever process changes they have made.

    My dear old Nan used to have an expression which she rarely deployed and thinking back it was the most disparaging thing she’d say about folk as she was a kindly soul, but the attitude oft displayed here make me recall her words “butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth”

    JDB 4,649 posts

    They’ve included the following in the email which means I’m not 100% sure how to proceed.

    Additional details
    If you believe this has been sent in error and all payments to your American Express Card Account have been made from your own bank account* for all charges, including the transactions incurred by any Supplementary Cardholders, no further action is needed at this time. However, we may contact you for further information in the future.

    * earlier they say how a joint account is acceptable

    I use the mobile app to settle my statement but I pay a portion using my own HSBC account and the remainder (household spend) using a Joint Monzo account which does appear to send both names when making a payment.

    At this stage it might be easier to just change how I pay than get to the bottom of what has raised a flag.

    Yes, self help is probably the sensible way to go rather than relying on Amex to get it right.

    zapato1060 718 posts

    @brian Since this thread, ive started paying wife’s Amex with her own debit account that has 0p in it, that I control on my phone with fingerprint access to. So my debit account to hers, then AMEX. What a weird world but if it makes Amex happy. Hey ho.

    vzzbuckz 31 posts

    @brian Since this thread, ive started paying wife’s Amex with her own debit account that has 0p in it, that I control on my phone with fingerprint access to. So my debit account to hers, then AMEX. What a weird world but if it makes Amex happy. Hey ho.

    Just so I have this right – your wife has an AMEX card in her own name i.e. not. supp card which you pay for. Equally she has a bank account in her name that you have control of and use it make payments from.

    Just playing Amex Advocate – but is there a reason she is not a supp cardholder on your account. This doesn’t happen to be a BAPP card and she has one so you can get the additional companion voucher? If not – is there a reason she would have her own card and not be a supp on yours e.g. my wife is a supp on mine but has her own Priority Pass, Hotel memberships, her own offers etc. Just trying to see the angle being played here…

    zapato1060 718 posts

    @vzzbuckz I pay wifes BAPP off via the method explained. I only have supp’s for the initial points and are stored away. Incidentally I physically hold both BAPPs and she has her BAPP on apple pay.

    vzzbuckz 31 posts

    @vzzbuckz I pay wifes BAPP off via the method explained. I only have supp’s for the initial points and are stored away. Incidentally I physically hold both BAPPs and she has her BAPP on apple pay.

    Ah ok – makes sense. So when you reach the spending limit to trigger a companion voucher on your card, you then switch to using the ‘wife’s’ to get the second voucher right?

    zapato1060 718 posts

    @vzzbuckz Totally depends if I need a 241 early if not then its a 50/50 split.

    Metty 86 posts

    Latest updates:

    I’m wondering whether a balance transfer to pay off Amex may count as a payment not from a personal bank a/c. I’ve done this once or twice.

    Wife’s card….after the credit team couldn’t, during an hour long call, fathom why her card was suspended we used the Virgin 787 wifi to continue on Chat. Chatperson said that a business decision had been made to cancel her accounts. Several days later and home from Shanghai to find a letter saying a new complaint has been opened (the substance of which is suspension of her card with no notification).

    Son had a final response reply to his first complaint (suspension of card without notification) a week or two ago to say that Amex found no evidence of any error on their part. He raised another complaint and tonight has had another final response saying that Amex made an error in suspending his account, un-suspending his card and giving £100 compensation.

    So thanks to those who suggested persevering, Amex actually do change their minds and admit errors.

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    …only the ones they can be legally caught for, by the looks of things. Suspending your kids’ accounts, when those accounts are separate to yours and are their accounts for which they are responsible not you, definitely put them the wrong side of that.

    zapato1060 718 posts

    So the jist of it is AMEX can do whatever the hell it wants. And not have to explain itself.

    JDB 4,649 posts

    So the jist of it is AMEX can do whatever the hell it wants. And not have to explain itself.

    Amex does have to explain itself to the regulator and also the Financial Ombudsman Service. Amex can only act on a basis that is within the law, consistent with its terms and fair under FCA Principles. If the OP complains to the FOS, Amex will need to advise them of the reasons for the closure so the Ombudsman can be satisfied that it was done fairly, but those reasons won’t, for good reason, be revealed to the cardholder. The cardholder can close their account whenever they want and so can Amex.

    The OP is seeking a single reason for the closure which is a highly unlikely scenario because, if there were one, the closure would probably have been conducted on a different basis and without two months notice. The standard scenario is that a periodic review or something has been flagged on the account for review that has led to the closure. As the onion has been peeled, post by post, the reasons for closure get clearer. The latest is balance transfers which to Amex look like the cardholder needing to borrow money to pay their bill which presents the firm with a double risk.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,260 posts

    …only the ones they can be legally caught for, by the looks of things. Suspending your kids’ accounts, when those accounts are separate to yours and are their accounts for which they are responsible not you, definitely put them the wrong side of that.

    Mitty did say well into this that he was a secondary cardholder on his adult children’s and wife’s account.

    The primary card holder is still responsible for the actions etc of the secondary card holder on their accounts which gives AMEX an “in” to suspending these accounts.

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