Capital One Sort of Sucks

What’s in my wallet? I recently got a Capital One MasterCard. It’s turned out to be more trouble than I expected.

I did an internet search first, and Capital One had one of the best terms. The online registration was automated and pretty impressive. I was able to pick a combination of rates and points, and even upload my own photo. I was approved in 30 seconds.

The card came pretty quickly and looked nice. I kept it around about a month before activating it, and that’s when the fun began. The automated process didn’t work, so I had to talk to a human. This ESL kept me on the phone for a half hour asking me all sorts of inane questions before activating the card.

Then I made a purchase with the card. This was followed a few minutes later by a call from Capital One security wanting to verify my identity (didn’t they just do this?). I talked to another ESL, supposedly in Canada, who said I had to go to a branch with a photo ID to verify who I was. So I did, the very next day.

Capital One has a nice new branch on 94th Street and Broadway (they took over North Fork Bank). Inside it seemed like they had dragged a few people off the street to run the place, and they were milling around doing little or nothing. I waited about 45 minutes to talk to the one customer service person, long enough to finish the Wednesday crossword in the Times AND the KenKen. The service person was nice enough, but still had to call someone to find out what was up with my MasterCard, same as I did. She was transferred from ESL to ESL, four in all, and put me on the phone with two of them, before we finally verified that I was who I said I was (one person wanted to know if I had my SS card). I was assured that I wouldn’t have to repeat this process each time I used the card.

This seems to be another case where a product (Capital One service) doesn’t live up to the expectation created by excellent marketing (the Viking ad campaign) and product design (the website and branches).