Do a quick Google news search on data breaches and what you’ll find will be disheartening.
“Insurance giant Anthem hit by massive data breach…”
“Experian hacked: 15 million people’s credit data stolen in breach…”
“Target will pay hack victims $10 million…”
Ok, so maybe that last headline doesn’t sound so bad, but if we’re honest, having your credit card stolen is the biggest pain. Not only do you have to contact your credit card company and dispute any fraudulent charges, you have to wait for that new credit card to arrive, update all those places where recurring payments were set up, put a fraud alert on your credit report, keep checking your credit report, create an identity theft report with the FTC – get the picture?
And with hackers getting more sophisticated, the likelihood of another breach is all but certain. While many major companies are shoring up their security, MasterCard and Visa have taken a more proactive approach to helping customers secure their credit cards:
A transactional alert is a notification (email or text) to a credit cardholder that lets them know when an out-of-the-ordinary transaction has taken place. Historically, credit card companies have their own system for detecting fraudulent charges and call credit cardholders when they suspect that nefarious activity is occurring. But with this new approach from MasterCard and Visa, the cardholder now has the opportunity to be more proactive when they see something suspicious (in addition to the bank’s monitoring). Credit cardholders can determine what they receive alerts for, including when:
- Available credit dips below a user-defined amount
- A single transaction is more than a certain value
- An international charge is authorize
- An online, phone or mail charge is authorized
- A gas station charge is authorized
There are even non-security related alerts, like when a payment has been posted or when a rewards balance exceeds a certain amount.
How do I enable transactional alerts?
Well that depends on what bank your credit card is from. Currently, banks such as Chase and Wells Fargo have you covered, so all you have to do is login to your online account and set up these alerts. Magnify Money has a great guide on how to set up alerts for different cards: http://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/consumer-watchdog/consumer-watchdog-setting-credit-card-transaction-text-message-alerts666220981
Don’t see your card? Don’t worry – MasterCard and Visa have imposed deadlines on all card issuers (the banks) to offer these real-time alerts.
- Visa deadline: October 14, 2016
- MasterCard deadline: April 21, 2017
Keep an eye out for when your card has implemented these alerts.
What does this all mean for me?
More security. No one knows better than you what your spending behavior is, and by setting up alerts tailored specifically to you, you’ll be the first to know when something suspicious is happening with your credit card.
And when something suspicious happens, you’ll be able to react quicker and minimize the damage done (versus waiting for the bank – or the news – to let you know).