It has happened a dozen times over the past two months. I go to pay for a meal, a yoga class or a bottle of water and…

“I’m sorry sir your card doesn’t seem to be working.”

Embarrassing, especially when the person rejecting you is a hot yoga teacher who’s class you are about to go into. But more than embarrassing it’s irritating. I’ve spent hours on the phone with credit card companies this past month. Why is this happening? Two reasons:

1) These are relatively new accounts on which we are spending a lot of money. Nothing we can do about that.

2) I’m traveling – LA, New York, Manila, Hong Kong – I’ve been rejected everywhere. This one is solvable.

Credit card companies will sometimes put a hold on your card when you start spending money in a new city. The thought process is that someone has cloned your credit card and is going on a shopping spree. You are supposed to call your credit card company and let them know you will be traveling. But come on! In our fast pace world I don’t have another half an hour to spend on the line with customer service.

What I do have is data on my whereabouts. Lots of it. I tweet and post to facebook just about everywhere I go outside of LA. So here’s the idea: the credit card companies should offer to follow me. The companies can use an NLP algorithim (Natural Language Processing) to parse my posts for mentions of cities, states, countries and continents. This information is then used to seamlessly update my profile in their system.

So when I tweet, “Just landed in NYC”, my credit card doesn’t decline at the MTA station. Instead the card knows I’m in New York. Happy holidays.

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