You checked your online banking statement and the horror struck you right there. You have unauthorized transactions debited from your account or credit card without you knowing it! You immediately stormed out of the house, went straight to your bank and then questioned them regarding the unauthorized transactions. You went all the way delivering a monologue on how you were hacked and how incompetent your bank is. Whoah. Just. Stop. Right. There.
What if we told you that credit and/or debit card compromise is never any bank’s fault but is actually… yours a bit?
What are Online and Point-of-Sale Purchases?
If you have a debit or credit card and illicit debits were made to your account, that could probably account to at least two things: either online or point-of-sale purchases where you supposedly pay for your orders via your card.
Online purchase is buying items online and paying via credit or debit card, while the point-of-sale purchase is going to an actual store and paying using debit or credit card.
When you complete an online purchase, the payment only becomes successful by supplying details embossed on the card and by typing information known only to the cardholder. This means that the amount would be debited from your account only when information encoded in the website, a.k.a merchant, is correct. These pieces of information are unique to the card and are only known to the cardholder. Whereas, when you do point-of-sale, the transaction will not push through unless the card is physically present for payment. Thus, paying via debit or credit card does not use any bank’s system per se but is solely dependent on the information the cardholder knows and gives the merchant and, more importantly, the presence and availability of the physical card at the time of purchase.
The keyword here is “cardholder.” That does not necessarily mean the owner. If your card gets misplaced, lost, or handed to another person, it is your responsibility to report it lost, have it blocked, or to hide it from anyone else entirely. You cannot expect any bank to do that for you automatically and be responsible for any unauthorized transactions on your credit card.
Protect Your Credit Card From Unauthorized Transactions
Remember the Terms and Conditions you signed when you applied for your card, particularly, the clause that states that safeguarding the card is the responsibility of the cardholder? Probably not – as nobody reads them anyway. But the thing is this, banks do not automatically monitor the sites or stores you log-in to and visit. More importantly, banks always tell clients never to hand their cards to anyone else because the details that can be used for purchase might be copied and cause unauthorized transactions on your credit card down the line. This means that if the information on your card gets compromised, then that is entirely on you and not on the bank.
So, if you went online shopping, be sure that you are able to monitor where your card is processed and that it is only you who knows the details on it. That would entail that nobody sees the security numbers printed on it that serve as your PIN when you do online payment. Furthermore, NEVER disclose any banking information online! Banks NEVER request their clients to update information via email. Once you disclose your password or user ID, then it is you who compromised your information, and NOT a banking security failure.
One more thing. If you wish to keep your account secure, especially if you are enrolled in an online banking facility, try changing your password often and make it alphanumeric. Also, cease from posting too much on your social media accounts! And of course, monitor your account regularly so you can report any dubious activity at once.