NBA Amex 5X Problems
As I have written about previously, yesterday was the first day of the NBA Finals, also known as the beginning of 5% everywhere on the BBVA Compass NBA American Express card. While this NBA Finals period is uncapped, going forward you will be limited to 5% on just $5K in purchases per bonus period.
Since this is the last unlimited hoorah, my wife and I headed out yesterday to a local mall to buy what we need. Unfortunately the customer service desk at this mall saw us pull out our unchipped BBVA Compass NBA Amex cards and spouted the following policy:
“We cannot accept non-chipped Amex cards.”
They said that non-chipped Visa and Mastercards were fine, but this rule applied specifically to American Express cards. After confirming the policy with a manager, we left with our tails between our legs. We even called up BBVA Compass for replacement cards, but they said that chipped cards won’t be out until July.
Why Is Non-Chipped An Issue?
Last year the law changed in the U.S. to require merchants to install payment terminals with chip readers. If a merchant doesn’t have a chip reader, then the fraud liability is on them. If they have a chip reader, but a customer uses a non-chipped card, they are supposed to be in the clear. That is why this policy is confusing to me.
A Way Forward
I am not going to lie, this mall was a good part of our 5% strategy for the next couple of weeks, so we are going to have to adjust. There is one other mall in town we may try, but other than that we will be visiting grocery stores. Unfortunately there aren’t many of those that are friendly either, considering Albertson’s and Von’s pulled all of their big cards.
I figure that enough of you may be out and about using your BBVA Compass NBA Amex cards so I thought I would ask how everything is going with them. Have you run into this situation or another one out in the wild? I am curious to find out if this was just a case of one location making a rule or if this non-chipped Amex ban in place elsewhere.