When it comes to consumer protection and security, not all credit cards are created equal. While all credit cards do offer basic security features, some cards go above and beyond to protect cardholders.
If you’re looking for a new credit card, you should make sure the credit card issuer is prepared to provide protection. Here are four security features to look for in a credit card.
1. Zero Fraud Liability
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), you can never be held liable for more than $50 of fraudulent charges in the event your credit card is lost or stolen. That liability drops to $0 if you report your card stolen before it is used, or if it’s your card number and not your physical card that was stolen.
Many credit card issuers offer zero fraud liability, which means you won’t even be responsible for the $50 if your card is stolen. This gives you full financial protection against fraudulent charges.
Remember, the time it takes to investigate unauthorized card usage and issue refunds to your account varies between card issuers. Make sure you understand the fraud policies of your credit card issuer and report unauthorized charges as soon as you discover them.
2. Fraud Detection
To protect your account, many credit card companies offer fraud monitoring to detect unauthorized charges. It’s in their best interest to do so, as they’re on the hook for any fraudulent charges above $50 even if they don’t offer zero fraud liability.
Fraud detection uses a combination of technology and human services to spot unauthorized card usage. Advanced algorithms can flag suspicious transactions based on the amount, location, vendor and other factors. The credit card company will then reach out to the cardholder to verify the transaction.
3. Virtual Card Numbers
Some credit cards offer virtual card numbers free to their customers. These temporary, 16-digit card numbers can be requested whenever you’re ready to shop online. You use the temporary card number, instead of your physical credit card’s number, at checkout and the charges will appear on your credit card statement.
Virtual card numbers can have a predetermined spending limit and expiration date. While the feature isn’t 100% necessary due to your protections under the FCBA, it does offer extra protection to your credit card number. If a shopping website is hacked or your transaction details are stolen, you won’t have to worry about replacing your physical credit card or updating all your online accounts.
4. Card Freezing
Card freezing allows you to temporarily pause your card from a website or app, preventing any transactions from going through for a limited time. This is a useful feature when you misplace your card but aren’t sure if it’s been stolen; you’ll be able to search for your card without worrying that someone is racking up charges and unfreeze the card once it’s been located. Of course, if you can’t find your card you’ll need to order a replacement.