Friday, December 20, 2013

Target, Certegy, and a Catch-22

I did some shopping today at Target. So that my wife would not see the payment on our joint account, I wrote a check off of an investment account I have. Imagine my surprise and embarrassment when the clerk said my check was not accepted by the Target system. I went ahead and paid with my debit card so as to not anger the customers behind me in line. The clerk handed me a piece of paper with a telephone number for a company called Certegy and said I could call them to see why the check was not accepted. Yes, there is plenty of money in the account.

So I call this Certegy. After about 15 minutes of holding and waiting and talking to machines, I finally get a pre-recorded message that said the decision cannot be reversed and is based on information related to my driver's license number.  With the recent hacking of customer information at Target, I was worried to say the least.

I called the store manager and actually got a person who was helpful. He explained to me that, once you write a check at Target, their system associates your driver's license number with that checking account  (again, kind of scary in light of the recent hacking event). Since I was using a different checking account, this Certegy company rejected my check.

I guess I understand that, but it must be possible to change checking accounts or use multiple accounts. The person with whom I spoke at Target explained it this way. You have to make a purchase of less than $100 on the new account and then it is associated with your driver's license number. Well, the investment account I was using requires checks to be a minimum of $200. I guess this is a classic, modern catch-22.

Target, you make it difficult to do business with you. Guess I'll have to bring cash next time (if there is a next time).

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