Most consumers want issuers to contact them through multiple communication channels if the institutions suspect fraudulent activity on their debit or credit cards. But their preferred communication channel varies significantly by age group, suggest the results of a recent survey.

Harris Interactive polled 1,017 adults March 5 to 8 to gauge their experiences with suspicious card activity. It conducted the telephone survey on behalf of SoundBite Communications Inc., a Bedford, Mass.-based provider of customer-contact software designed for banks.

Thirty percent of respondents said they had experienced some type of suspicious or fraudulent activity on their credit or debit card, and 79% said their card issuer notified them of the activity. Of those who experienced fraudulent card activity, 54% were notified by a call to a home, work or mobile telephone; 33% received a letter; 18% were notified by e-mail; and 1% were notified by text message. Some 17% said they received no notification of the fraudulent activity, and about 3% were not sure.

Asked how they would want to be informed of suspicious account activity, 89% of respondents said they would want their issuer to notify them through multiple channels. Some 84% of respondents preferred a call to their home phone, while 60% preferred receiving a call on their mobile phone, 54% wanted to be contacted first via e-mail, and 35% preferred to be contacted via mobile-phone text message.

Preferences varied significantly among age groups. Some 77% of respondents ages 18 to 34 said they preferred to be notified of suspicious card activity by a call to their mobile phone, while only 54% of consumers ages 45 to 54 preferred that channel. Some 51% of consumers ages 18 to 34 preferred to be notified via mobile-phone text message, while only 33% of consumers ages 45 to 54 preferred that notification method.

Some 33% of respondents who had experienced fraudulent account activity said their loyalty to their card issuer improved as a result of the experience.

Some 68% of respondents said their experiences would improve if card issuers learned the best way to contact them in case of suspicious or fraudulent account activity. And 67% of respondents said their experiences would improve if issuers reduced the time it took to resolve fraudulent account activity.

“What jumped out from this survey is the fact that there are a lot of differences among how customers want to be contacted by their card issuer in case of a problem, and cardholders want issuers to know which channel is their preferred one,” Mark Friedman, SoundBite chief marketing and business development officer, tells PaymentsSource.

Though more than half of young adults want to be contacted by mobile-phone text message in case of a problem, most issuers are not using that channel heavily, he notes. “Mobile is a fast-growing area for card issuers initiating contact with consumers, and we expect to see a lot of development in this area in the near future,” Friedman says.

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