The Riff: "What was abnormal about it?"
Kyla: "It was an unusual situation. There actually were several factors."
The Riff: "Like what?"
Kyla: "It could be that you don't make a lot of online purchases."
The Riff: "That's not true. We buy online all the time."
Kyla: "It could be that it was a relatively large amount that was being asked for in the transaction."
The Riff: "It was $200. What do you consider a relatively large amount?"
The Riff: "Really?"
Kyla added that there were other factors that led the bank's security team to decline the transaction and to freeze our account, like the fact that we don't normally conduct business with that merchant. That's true, we only conducted business with the Vibes once before - when we purchased tickets last year for the annual summer festival.
But we suspect that something else is afoot - that banks are becoming ultra conservative in their lending policies, even when it comes to relatively small purchases made by accounts with a long, secure history of online behavior.
What's our point? It's that a new kind of friction may be manifesting in the online retail marketplace, and if it festers, it could take some of the steam out of e-commerce, one of the stronger components of our otherwise languishing economy. Okay, so we still went ahead and purchased the tickets via a second, hassle-free transaction using an American Express card, and the original commerce action was completed. But the experience diminished what has always been one of the chief benefits of buying online - convenience, and relative ease-of-use.
We don't know how common this experience is these days, but we suspect it is something we will see more, not less of. And that we are all going to be experiencing some pretty bad vibes.