MasterCard Inc. plans to help its cardholders address issues that arise from identity theft, while also extending its zero liability policy to include PIN-based and ATM transactions.

All MasterCard credit, debit, prepaid and small-business cards issued in the U.S. will carry Identity Theft Resolution assistance starting in July.

The theft resolution assistance helps customers cancel missing cards and alert credit reporting agencies in addition to searching for stolen personal and confidential data online, MasterCard states in a May 28 press release.

The zero liability policy extension takes effect in October and brings the MasterCard PIN and ATM transactions under the same coverage that currently applies to signature debit and credit transactions.

"Fraud prevention and detection is a 24/7 job at MasterCard," Chris McWilton, president of North American markets for MasterCard, states in the release.

The new measures, in combination with the card brand's support of the migration to EMV chip-based technology, will "help deliver safer shopping experiences to consumers," McWilton says.

A liability shift for EMV smart cards takes place in October of 2015, with the fraud burden going to those parties not ready to handle chip-based payments. The chip cards generate dynamic and unique codes for each purchase, making it more difficult to steal data or create counterfeit cards.

In establishing the new safeguards, MasterCard is strengthening its primary responsibility to cardholders, Nick Holland, senior payments analyst with Javelin Strategy & Research, states in the release.

"It's a positive step that MasterCard is offering increased protections and peace of mind to its cardholders as the U.S. market prepares for EMV," Holland says.

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