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Beating Debit Card Fraud with Mobile Banking

ClairMail schematic of actionable text message alert 

There is no doubt consumers love debit cards. Despite cloudier fraud protections, no free float, and the confusion of "signature vs. PIN," growth continues at a 20% annual clip, with total U.S. transactions surpassing credit 15 to 18 months ago (see numbers here).

But continued negative press coverage could slow the growth. For instance, today's lead article in the Wall Street Journal's Personal Journal section, How to Protect Your Plastic, focused on recent debit card skimming incidents. 

What can a financial institution do to counteract the negative press?

1. Educate customers on their limited liability

2. Provide clear and understandable zero-liability fraud protection guarantees

3. Provide tools for monitoring checking accounts, such as transaction and security alerts

But once you have those "best practices" in place, you can still boost usage, and differentiate your debit card and checking accounts by integrating actionable text-message alerts (see ClairMail example above). 

While the industry-standard email alerts are helpful, the phishing epidemic, spam filling up the in-box, and  the time lag for reading and responding to bank emails, make them less and less effective for time-sensitive communications such as fraud alerts.

Enter the mobile phone. Most banking customers now keep a mobile device with "three rings" of their person much of the day, and almost always when out of the house. Therefore, a real-time text message each and every time a debit cards is used, will go a long way towards making users comfortable that their card has not been comprised. And in the event their is a fraudulent transaction, a quick text message back to the issuer can lock the debit card down, avoiding any additional unauthorized transactions.

This is about as win-win as you can get in banking. The user is happier with his debit card leading to increased loyalty and more debit transactions, boosting both short- and long-term revenues for the bank, credit union, or card issuer.

For more information see our latest Online Banking Report, Mobile Banking & Payments 2.0 (OBR 138/139).