With the winter season comes the inevitable snow and the associated disruption. Given the challenge Marylanders have driving in it, we often open our branches and Contact Center later than our scheduled hours. During last years "Snowmageddon", our locations were closed for a number of days as we all dug out of the blizzard.
In the past, this meant that customers who had a question or needed some help where unable to contact us. Last year, for the first time, we were able to connect with customers from our web site using our "Click to Chat" feature. Our Contact Center employees were able to log in from home and monitor and respond to chats with customers. While our ability to address some issues was limited, they were, for example, able to help someone sign up for online banking. We'll continue to use this during outages and delays this year.
So, if you find yourself stuck at home in the snow and have a question for us, check out our website. There's a good chance we'll be available to "Chat".
We recently had the honor and pleasure of hosting five Senior Analysts from the Information Technology Research Department of Nomura Research Institute (NRI). NRI is a Tokyo-based technology consulting firm with over 6,200 emloyees around the world. They were visiting various organizations across the United States doing reserach on new technologies. We were the first stop on their tour.
Along with other topics, they mainly were here to talk to us about Mariner360, our newest online offering powered by Geezeo. According to our guests, there is not any type of Personal Financial Management (PFM) software available to Japanese consumers today. They are interested in offering this type of system to them.
They did note one signficant difference between the Japanese and American consumer. Their consumers do not typically have credit cards or carry the associated balances, unlike many American consumers today. So their consumers desire to aggregate their accounts is less important than the budgeting and goal setting tools available in the PFM.
lA recent change enacted by Visa© could have an impact on you the next time you go to fill up the car. Beginning in August, gasoline dealers have been given the option to replace the one dollar status check toany amount, up to $500. In the past few weeks, we've seen pre-authorized amounts ranging from $25 to $120. These typically drop off in one to two business days, once the actual transaction posts to a customers account. So what does this mean to you?
Let's look at this from the perspective of Reg E and the opt in/out option. (see my previous post on this subject here) Say you go to the pump to get $25 worth of gas and you have $75 in your account. If you've opted out and the merchant puts through a pre authorized amount of $120, your purchase will be denied. If you've opted in, the purchase would go through but you'd still have a hold on your account for the $120 until the purchase posts. Imagine being in a hurry, your almost out of gas and being denied. Not a very pleasant thought.
So next time you go to buy some gas, check to see what amount is being pre authorized by that merchant. If it's for $120, you may want to find another dealer for your next fill up.