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Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1) 345

Local banks commonly have card machines in their offices. Chase operates theirs from a central location, but I've never had a replacement card take longer than two days to arrive and it's usually the next day. In the meantime, existing authorized autopayments (Verizon, virtual server, a few other things) usually go through for at least a couple of months.

Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1) 345

When I traveled to Europe a couple of years ago, the Chase card was the only one that had enough room on it to cover everything I expected to spend on during the trip. I called and asked what would happen if my card were lost or stolen, and they promised next-day delivery of a new card to any of the places I was staying (Zurich, Florence, and Venice). They also offered a temporary bump in the credit limit since I had a pending payment of several thousand dollars over a weekend that might not clear until I was actually in Europe.

There's plenty of general Chase business practices to generate complaints, but I've never had a problem with them and they've always gone out of their way to make my life easier.

Comment Re:Advice: Just cut up the card (Score 2) 345

Closing accounts can negatively affect your credit score by reducing available credit and time of oldest account (and possibly average age of accounts). If you try to maintain the same number of accounts, you also add to the number of applications, which is another negative against credit scores.

Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 3, Insightful) 345

Both of my frequent flier-linked cards have expressly said that there is no need to call and notify them. It doesn't really change much aside from them adding a note to the account which may or may not be read by the fraud investigator--if there is one. Every time my cards have been blocked, it's completely automated, and the programs aren't likely to examine notes left in the account.

Comment Re: None of my cards have a chip! (Score 1) 317

I realize the limited value of anecdotal evidence, especially from cashiers. Some just shrug and say they don't know when they'll work. But when I do get answers, they're remarkably consistent about reported problems.

Aside from Home Depot, none of the stores I've been to in the last couple of months have working chip readers. That includes Sprouts, Tom Thumb, Kroger, 7-Eleven, CVS, or any of the myriad small stores. My wife works in a small retail shop and has asked, and was told that even with the newly-deployed chip readers, they're not likely to be active for several weeks or months yet.

It's not happening as fast as it was supposed to, and that's going to be a problem come tomorrow.

Comment Re: None of my cards have a chip! (Score 1) 317

I've asked dozens of stores in the last couple of months if I can use the chip reader, and they all say that they haven't enabled them (and some have said they don't have plans to enable them) because of problems with the activation of the chip readers. Two 7-Elevens told me that they had problems with double-charges, a big-box store (I don't remember which) said the cards didn't read properly all the time in tests, and several others have said as recently as last week that the required software hadn't been loaded yet because corporate was still testing upgrades. Many restaurants and stores don't even have chip readers yet.

If these are even partially accurate, then despite the long lead time, I suspect this is going to be a massive fiasco. Home Depot is the one place that I've been able to use the chip reader (and that was in July, IIRC) and it went flawlessly for the one or two transactions, but that's not to say that all of the tens of millions of other upgrades are going to work as well. I'm hoping the confusion dies down quickly, but I'm not counting on it.

Comment Re: Its all in the taxes and incentives. (Score 2) 211

Probably almost no heating, but still probably a lot of cooling. In mid-September, overnight temps in Texas are still above where most people set their thermostats, plus the house is still radiating heat collected during the day, some of which goes inward. Even with the thermostat set at 78 in a relatively young house (11 years) built with good insulation, here in Dallas the AC still comes on regularly throughout the night.

Comment Re:Phone as a pager (Score 1) 246

At their peak, there were 61 million pagers in use in the US. However, many of them were regional, so the broadcast didn't have to go over the entire country, which helped them scale. Now, there are but a small fraction of that number still in use. Trying to bring it up to the cell phone count in just the US (where the number of cell phones actually exceeds the population count) would be astronomically difficult, especially if everyone expected universal coverage as they do now. An average of one page per phone per day, assuming 100 bytes sent per page, would require a constant 3Mbps download stream to monitor. Delivering with any kind of timeliness would require much higher rates, and it would all have to be processed by every device. That's a lot of energy use just to watch the traffic coming across. It gets worse if the messages are encrypted and decryption checks have to be made on every one.

Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.