Don’t get screwed over by fraud and unauthorised charges. Compare credit cards with a fraud protection guarantee for purchases you make with the card.
As a minimum, yes. Both card issuers Visa and MasterCard protects you from fraudulent or unauthorised transactions made using your card with their Zero Liability Guarantees. However, beyond that basic guarantee, your bank may also guarantee that you’ll never be liable for fraudulent use of your credit card, provided you follow the credit card conditions of use policy.
Credit card lenders provide varying levels of sophistication when it comes to fraud monitoring and detection. If they notice something irregular, suspicious or unusual on your card they may send you a text message or call you up to ask you about the transaction. Or you might find out about the fraudulent activity when your statement arrives. A fraud protection guarantee typically means that you will be reimbursed for any unauthorised transactions provided that you have not contributed to the loss and you contacted your bank promptly when you found out about it.
These are the main types.
Physical theft or loss of your card
A thief may steal your wallet or purse containing your card, or someone dishonest may find it, and attempt to use it for in-store or online transactions. This is why it is very important not to keep a record of your PIN in the same place as your card.
Fraudulent in-store transactions are more likely to occur with a contactless card, where the thief does not need to enter a PIN for transactions under $100.
Online transactions also do not require a PIN, and the thief can see the CCV (Card Verification Value) or CSC (Card Security Code) printed on the card. However, many online transactions are protected by a one-time PIN sent to your phone by text message. If your phone has also been stolen, ring your service provider to get it disabled as soon as possible.
A credit card skimmer is a small device which criminals may attach to an ATM, or use as a separate reader if you hand your card over for payment at a retailer or restaurant. The card’s number, expiry date and CCV are recorded, and a clone of your card can be created in order to make purchases or withdraw cash.
Fake emails, text messages, social media and dodgy websites can be used to trick cardholders into divulging sensitive credit card information. Banks and trustworthy legitimate businesses never ask you to supply your credit card details in an email, or your PIN over the phone. If the email or website looks suspicious, it probably is. Back out of the email reply or online transaction, or, if you have gone too far, notify your bank at once.
Your computer may be infected by malware (malicious software) if you click on a link or attachment in an email or social media message, or online pop-up advertising, from a person or organisation unknown to you. Scammers may then be able to access your computer files or record what you are doing on your computer, including entering credit card information on trustworthy sites. Delete any such emails, ignore the messages and pop-ups, and keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.
Australian banks have robust security and monitoring measures in place to protect their credit card customers. At the same time, they recognise that fraudulent transactions can still occur, and the major card issuers have a policy of indemnifying customers to a large extent in the event of fraud. Not all of them go as far as ‘zero liability’ or ‘100% money back’, however. Check the full terms and conditions on the card issuer’s website.
There are a number of simple things you can do to radically reduce your chances of being a victim of card fraud:
Some cards have an online facility which allows you to suspend your card temporarily. It can be the quickest way to take action, but it does not replace informing your bank.