The holiday shopping season may be over, but that doesn’t mean that consumers will stop using their credit or debit cards in 2016.
As spending continues, criminals will proactively target consumers and retailers (in-store and online) for two types of valuable information: credit card data; and personal data (social security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, etc.) which will be used for fraud, identity theft, and other malicious activities (bribery, blackmail and more).
There are no full proof ways to protect against security breaches, but here are some best practices that can help you decrease your institution and customers’ vulnerability to becoming a victim.
Chose the right payments processor. It is critical to partner with the right payment processor that can give you a comprehensive suite of fraud prevention and data encryption technologies. The ideal payment processor should have the ability to do real time predictive fraud analytics to help mitigate risk, prevent and detect fraud and optimize data driven decisions. They should provide a dedicated fraud team 24/7/365 to stop fraud after-hours, weekends, and holidays. Their fraud tools need to have the ability to adapt as fraud changes and give the cardholders instant notification of potential fraud through text, email, or phone call.
EMV Chips. Financial institutions are rolling out debit and credit cards with an EMV chip in hopes to reduce fraudulent transactions with merchants. It is a big expense for financial institutions to get EMV-compliant, and some question if it is worth it. If they choose not to issue the chip card then the financial institution continues to be liable as they have been in the past.
Once merchants migrate get their point of sale systems to EMV capabilities, fraud liability shifts back to the financial institution, so some wonder if the EMV expense offsets the fraud losses. That said, the chip card did mark a significant leap forward in protecting against fraudulent ‘card present’ transactions. Countries who have implemented EMV have seen dramatic reductions in fraud from counterfeit and/or stolen cards. However, implementing EMV will push fraudsters to redirect their attention to ‘card not present’ transactions (online). This is why there is no catch all fraud prevention and financial institutions need to continue to be proactive in mitigation and work with their card processors and customers on fraud prevention tools.
Education. When customers receive a replacement card in the mail because of a data breach, they assume that the financial institution is at fault. It is hard to change that perception especially when financial institutions are not able to communicate to the customers the name of the merchant that is responsible for the breach.
When the financial institution looks at reissuing the compromised cards they have to weigh the risk of fraud losses against reputational risk that comes with customer perception. It is important for financial institutions to educate their customers on how to minimize the impact of any fraudulent debit/credit card transactions.
Adopt new card technology. There are new technologies that offer convenient card management tools for customers and gives them overall more control. For instance, there are mobile portals that allow consumers to get purchase history, manage card permissions and receive alerts on card activity, balance inquiries, and money movement between card-linked accounts. These new platforms will allow consumers to quickly adjust a card’s spending limit and lock the transactions down to a specific certain geographic area. This increased control of the card and ability to set safer parameters will overall limit fraudulent transactions and susceptibility to breaches.
As mentioned, customers won’t ever be 100 percent protected from fraudsters trying to steal money or data, but what institutions can do is deploy some proactive and mitigating measures as well as putting some control customer hands to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to get what they’re after.
Karen Pollack is vice president of operations for Amplify Credit Union.