JPMorgan Chase lists the “State of Palestine, Occupied” as a fraud-free country, while it deems Israel a scam-ridden state.
The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday that the bank allows debit card users to select “Palestine” as a visiting destination, so their cards will continue to work without problems, but does not list Israel.
The bank claims that Israel is unlisted due to a perceived high rate of fraud in the country.
A banker for JPMorgan Chase told the Post that he tried this week to add Israel and Egypt to the international travel notification system to a customer’s debit card. He was surprised to discover that after successfully adding Egypt, he was barred from selecting Israel, due to the country’s status in the bank as a “high-risk country.”
The banker said he looked up “Palestine” in the system, found “State of Palestine, Occupied,” and was offered the option of setting a notification for the non-existent entity.
After calling the bank’s support, the banker said he could “place a note” on the customer’s debit card that she would be traveling to Israel, but was told to advise her to perform her transactions as debits from her account, rather than use the credit option.
Trish Wexler, chief communications officer for JPMorgan Chase, told the Post that the situation is a result of the heightened fraud activity in Israel.
When a banker selects a travel alert on a card for a customer heading to another country, the company is less likely to decline a transaction that might otherwise be flagged for fraud, Wexler explained.
Assigning such travel alerts for Israel is currently impossible, she claimed. But customers can still use their cards in Israel and some transactions will not be blocked.
As for listing “State of Palestine, Occupied,” Wexler dodged the issue by saying she was unable to confirm that the Palestinian Authority was given this name in the company’s system.
As for Israel’s “high-risk” status, JPMorgan Chase employs a number of algorithms that look for markers that detect fraud, and the company is not currently comfortable with removing these markers when customers travel to Israel, according to Wexler.
She stressed this is not a judgment call or a broad JPMorgan Chase policy, as fraud detection is data-driven and dynamic.
“This is based on actual transaction data that we have observed,” Wexler said. “We want to do what’s right to keep our customers’ accounts safe. Will this change in the future? It’s possible. But this is what our program is detecting right now,” she told the Post.
By: World Israel News Staff