Is Fear Blocking Your Success?

The one comment I heard over and over again after my presentation Your Success is in the Cards: How the World Class Do Business at OnePlexus for Plexus Worldwide last week is “Polly, I am afraid to look at my credit score.”

Let me tell you what, if you improve your credit score you will immediately improve your profits. You think like a CEO when you run your business. You measure success by the numbers. You know how much money is coming in and going out, right? Then you need to think like CEO when you monitor your credit score. Know how to dispute any incorrect information. And you need to understand what really affects your number. That’s why I wrote the book The Plastic Effect: How Urban Legends Influence the Use and Misuse of Credit Cards

The book covers easy steps on how to raise your credit score, dispute incorrect data and how to improve your buying power. I want you to have it and my publisher has agreed to extend the special Plexus conference offering. The Amazon Kindle version continues to be available to you for just $2.99 through this Friday, June 12th. And if you don’t have a Kindle, download the Kindle app to your mobile device or desktop.

Trust me. If you want success with the cards – this is your trump card.

CEO Think Report, How to Teach Your Down-line

Polly A Bauer speaking at One Plexus 2015

Thanks to each and every one of the Plexus Ambassadors for your energy, enthusiasm, and excitement today at the 2015 Plexus One Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. We discussed very specific information on how to increase your profits using credit wisely, online shopping trends, and how to keep your customers buying. To download the CEO Think Report, with the notes you’ll need to be the CEO of your Plexus business, please register below.

Correcting the Credit Card Warning Email, Scenario #2

MYTH 2: Yesterday I went into a pizza restaurant to pick up an order that I had called in. I paid by using my Visa Check Card which, of course, is linked directly to my checking account. The young man behind the counter took my card, swiped it, then laid it on the counter as he waited for the approval, which is pretty standard procedure. While he waited, he picked up his cell phone and started dialing. I noticed the phone because it is the same model I have, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then I heard a click that sounded like my phone sounds when I take a picture. He then gave me back my card but kept the phone in his hand as if he was still pressing buttons. Meanwhile, I’m thinking: I wonder what he is taking a picture of, oblivious to what was really going on. It then dawned on me: the only thing there was my credit card, so now I’m paying close attention to what he is doing.. He set his phone on the counter, leaving it open. About five seconds later, I heard the chime that tells you that the picture has been saved. Now I’m standing there struggling with the fact that this boy just took a picture of my credit card. Yes, he played it off well, because had we not had the same kind of phone, I probably would never have known what happened. Needless to say, I immediately canceled that card as I was walking out of the pizza parlor. All I am saying is, be aware of your surroundings at all times.

INCOMPLETE ANSWER: Whenever you are using your credit card take caution and don’t be careless. Notice who is standing near you and what they are doing when you use your card. Be aware of phones, because many have a camera phone these days.

TRUTH: The clerk should have handed the card back to the customer immediately after running the transaction. The fact that the pizza parlor employee laid the card on the counter was suspicious, as it should have been handed back to the customer immediately. Once Chip & PIN cards are disbursed nationwide, and merchants begin widely accepting them in October of this year, the cardholder will retain possession of the card during the entire purchase. When that happens, consumers will insert the plastic into the payment terminal and leave it inside of the terminal, so the Chip can be read and the transaction approved. Upon the merchant receiving a transaction approval, the cardholder then removes their credit or debit card. The pizza parlor customer should have immediately alerted store management and called the police to file a report.

Correcting the Credit Card Warning email going around…

A few days ago, I received a “Credit Card Warning” email forward and felt a duty to dispel wrong information and myths that are spreading on the Internet. Yes, I said email forward, some of us choose to stick with sharing funny pictures, heartwarming stories and laughs for days by email still instead of social media.

MYTH 1: A friend went to the local gym and placed his belongings in the locker. After the workout and a shower, he came out, saw the locker open, and thought to himself, ‘Funny, I thought I locked the locker… Hmm, ‘He dressed and just flipped the wallet to make sure all was in order. Everything looked okay – all cards were in place… A few weeks later his credit card bill came – a whooping bill of $14,000! He called the credit card company and started yelling at them, saying that he did not make the transactions. Customer care personnel verified that there was no mistake in the system and asked if his card had been stolen… ‘No,’ he said, but then took out his wallet, pulled out the credit card, and yep – you guessed it – a switch had been made. An expired similar credit card from the same bank was in the wallet. The thief broke into his locker at the gym and switched cards.

THE WARNING EMAIL’S FALSE ANSWER: The credit card issuer said since he did not report the card missing earlier, he would have to pay the amount owed to them. How much did he have to pay for items he did not buy? $9,000! Why were there no calls made to verify the amount swiped? Small amounts rarely trigger a ‘warning bell’ with some credit card companies. It just so happens that all the small amounts added up to a big one!

THE TRUTH: If he didn’t know his card was lost he couldn’t report it lost. Consumers have the right to dispute any fraud within 120 days. However, most cardholders notice charges on their statement and begin the dispute process well before the deadline. It’s the banks responsibility to track out of sequence buying and alert the cardholder that there’s a problem or put a temporary hold on it. Unless he averages $14,000 in transactions every month, the bank’s fraud detection system should recognize the increase in transactions. Consumers should subscribe to bank alerts on transactions especially if there’s more than one that happens in a short period of time. Now the bank will charge those transactions back to each of the merchants, and the bank gets an income for each transaction for handling the item. I can’t imagine the bank wants to lose a customer who has a credit line large enough to do $14,000 a month. The bank and the merchant have the liability of the losses and were therefore negligent in not calling the cardholder. The cardholder has no liability in this case.

Stay tuned for the truth on scenarios 2 and 3 included in the “Credit Card Warning” email going around.

No One is Immune from Fraud

No one is immune from credit card fraud, not even yours truly — The Credit Card Queen. My credit union and my credit card issuer stay updated on my travel schedule and whereabouts while I serve corporate clients all over the world. I depend on fraud detection systems to alert these financial professionals when out-of-pattern or out-of-geographic proximity purchases are made.

Just last week, I was in the Mid-West of the United States and made a $10 purchase at a hardware store. My fraud prevention heroes immediately froze my card, because this luxury department store shopper hasn’t set foot in a hardware store in decades. When I was notified and confirmed the out-of-pattern was actually me, I took the opportunity to communicate my next destination to ensure there would be no further interruption of my spending capability.

Fast forward to this past weekend, I got the rare chance to travel in the Southeast, where I reside. We left super early and stopped for breakfast to fuel our bodies for the drive. Within hours, I received a fraud alert call on my cell. Not only was my credit card number being used to make online purchases in multiple states and countries, but the fraudsters had manufactured a fake card and had withdrawn a cash advance from an ATM.

Needless to say, this week I’m busy with a lot of dispute forms for thousands of dollars in fraudulent transactions and calls to update accounts being automatic drafted from the stolen card. Thanks to the fraud detection system and noble staff who stopped processing the purchases of fraudsters who had no clue they were messing with The Credit Card Queen.