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This tidbit of information was relayed by a single serving friend in the field. Feel free to add or correct

      If one ever calls a credit agency as a consumer (specifically the numbers which one uses to apply for a credit card or another form of credit,) one will notice that the phone rings between two and four times. Most never stop to wonder why this is, even though these companies must employ a good load of people whose sole job is it to take calls – which they do.

Let’s say Mike Smith calls this line. Mike lives in the suburbs but has recently bought a house. Also, Lawyers, Doctors and other well-to-do individuals heavily populate the area he lives in. He has recently bought a new car and is punctually depositing the payments on both of these major investments.

Mike Smith would like to have a Visa blue card, with an ultra-low apr and whatnot.

Vince Edwards calls the same number. Vince lives by the docks, making it paycheck by paycheck, struggling to pay off his accumulating bills and already suffering from bad credit.

Vince Edwards would also like to have a Visa blue card.


      Visa of America realizes both of these as potential customers, but sees the first as obviously more desirable. As both place their calls, one of Visa’s gating computers catches the number and checks the exchange for location. Mike’s exchange is 639, whereas Vince’s is 403. Since Mike’s exchange is associated with a better neighborhood, he is placed above Vince in priority ranking. Next the individual numbers are paired with the owners of the lines, and if time allows (about four seconds) the individual’s credit rating is returned. If time does not allow, calls are divided simply by exchange into four categories:

  • Excellent, high potential
  • Would like to have
  • Possible customer
  • Thank you for calling

      These may vary from company to company, but the residing fact is that far more operators are assigned to the higher brackets than the lower ones. The point of this is, of course, that the “good customers” never have to wait on hold, get the top sales-people and don’t really get the time to think about it. Those in lower brackets are more willing to wait and have less of a potential for being problem-free customers or even get accepted.

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