I got a new ATM card today with a new credit card number on it, and the letter of explanation was so content free I had to share. Here is an excerpt:


What is happening: In fulfilling our commitment to detect and prevent fraud on our customers’ payment cards, Wells Fargo regularly reviews cardholder activity to identify unusual purchase and ATM transaction patterns. As part of this review process, your Check Card number was identified as being at risk for unauthorized transactions.

It’s vaguely threatening, like saying “You could be in danger! News at 11:00.” Of course, I review my own transactions, and there’s nothing unusual on them. I take cash out at the same places every month. I buy groceries at the same grocery store. If the bank detects a strange pattern in my charges, I want them to call me on the phone and ask about the transactions, not just issue me a new card with a form letter.

Of course, any debits you have set up using the underlaying routing number will still work because the account number is the same. But if someone steals your credit card number, it won’t work anymore because you have a new one. In general it’s a good idea to rotate through card numbers more often. But it would be nice to have some warning. And if it’s a preventive measure, you shouldn’t start the letter by saying “your transaction pattern shows you are at risk” without any supporting details.