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Discover Bank, an example for PayPal.

September 21st 2021

In the last few months, I have had several interactions with customer service representatives from both PayPal and Discover Bank.

The first time I called Discover was because I had screwed up the document upload for opening my first account with them. I was greeted with a cheerful "good morning, how can I help you?" The rep then proceeded to guide me through everything that I needed, sent me an email with new links and waited on the phone with me until everything had been sorted out.

On the other hand, my first interaction with PayPal was because after changing my account phone number I had been unable to log in for almost a month. After waiting nearly an hour on hold because all of their lines were "busy" (I called at 1:30AM once and still got the same automated answer), the lady on the phone barely took the time to listen to my issue before telling me that all I needed to do was wait a few more days.

I called Discover several more times since the first, mostly as standard procedure for opening new accounts, and only had one substandard discussion with a lady who told me that I had called the wrong number even though it was clearly the one indicated. But it is impossible for everything to be perfect in a company their size. On one occasion a representative actually got up to track down several other employees on site who could help him transfer documents over from another one of my accounts to save me the trouble of having to re-upload them all myself. 

After waiting ten days to call PayPal back, I ended up on the line with someone in a call center whose voice I could barely make out over the noise in the background. They then hung up on me without saying anything. About five minutes later, I got a call back from (possibly) the same person and they told me that the only option I had was to delete my account and make a new one even though I repeated multiple times that I had a large transfer pending and could not get in. In the end, I did manage to close the account but this still caused more issues as I now have trouble adding cards and bank accounts to my PayPal because they are "still linked" to the deleted account. 

Obviously, Discover is doing something that PayPal is not. While PayPal outsources their service to call centers where the employees are barely paid, vetted and probably treated horribly, Discover has an in-house, 24/7, local support team. Of course, it is much more difficult to put this in place with an international company, but maybe something that PayPal, who sneak in fees for anything you do, should consider. Discover on the other hand charges $0 for most of their products and their customer service has convinced me to switch to doing almost all of my banking with them and become an investor.