Credit Card Security Measures

Information verified correct on October 1st, 2016

Banks are fighting a constant battle to stop credit card fraud. Let’s see the ways they keep your money safe.

Since credit cards have been in circulation the amount of credit card theft and fraud has continued to rise.

Not ones to rest on their laurels, banks and card schemes around the world have poured millions of dollars into protecting their money and the money of their customers. These dollars have gone into the technology and services offered below.

One of the first things that lenders look out for in the hunt for card crime is what’s known as pattern recognition. This is when they look for unusual transactions and activity on the card.

Most of Australia’s big banks utilise FICO’s Falcon anti-fraud software to do this for them. This software is adaptive, so it analyses your regular purchases so it knows what to expect.

If for example they see that a credit card has been used twice in the same day, but in two totally different areas, that may well throw up a red flag to them.

Likewise if there’s a large transaction made in a foreign country, they may also be suspicious and take measures to ensure that the transaction was genuine. They may call you and verify that these purchases have been made.

ANZ Low Rate

ANZ Low Rate credit card with ANZ Falcon Security

ANZ work round the clock with their ANZ Falcon security service helping protect their credit card customers. If a suspicious transaction is identified, you will be contacted to make a decision as to whether or not that transaction should go through.

  • $58 p.a. annual fee
  • 13.49% p.a. on purchases
  • 0% p.a. for 18 months with 3% balance transfer fee on balance transfers
  • Cash Advance Rate of 21.74% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free
  • Minimum Income Requirement of $15,000 p.a.

The next thing that lenders look out for is any changes to spending patterns. If a customer regularly spends $100 a week on petrol and $100 a week on groceries, and all of a sudden they see a purchase of ten laptop computers, they will become suspicious and take credit card security measures such as blocking or even cancelling the card.

Chip and PIN technology

This is a standard feature on all credit cards and even most debit cards. The first part of this line of protection is the embedded chip found on the front of the card. This holds your card details on it more securely than the magnetic strip on the back, so it’s more difficult for someone to copy your details.

Fraud detection and monitoring

One of the first things that lenders look out for in the hunt for card crime is what’s known as pattern recognition. This is when they look for unusual transactions and activity on the card.

Most of Australia’s big banks utilise FICO’s Falcon anti-fraud software to do this for them. This software is adaptive, so it analyses your regular purchases so it knows what to expect.

If for example they see that a credit card has been used twice in the same day, but in two totally different areas, that may well throw up a red flag to them.

Likewise if there’s a large transaction made in a foreign country, they may also be suspicious and take measures to ensure that the transaction was genuine. They may call you and verify that these purchases have been made.

ANZ Low Rate

ANZ Low Rate credit card

ANZ work round the clock with their ANZ Falcon security service helping protect their credit card customers. If a suspicious transaction is identified, you will be contacted to make a decision as to whether or not that transaction should go through.

  • $58 p.a. annual fee
  • 13.49% p.a. on purchases
  • 0% p.a. for 18 months with 3% balance transfer fee on balance transfers
  • Cash Advance Rate of 21.74% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free
  • Minimum Income Requirement of $15,000 p.a.

The next thing that lenders look out for is spending patterns. If a customer regularly spends $100 a week on petrol, and $100 a week on groceries, and all of a sudden there is a purchase of ten laptop computers, they will also become suspicious, and take credit card security measures such as blocking or even cancelling the card.
Security chip

Chip and Pin

This has been very successful in the UK,and is being brought in across Australia. Chip and pin is where a customer has to physically type in a pin number into a credit card terminal before a transaction can take place. This way it is impossible to use a card fraudulently, without having access to the pin number.

A PIN or Personal Identification Number is used to authorise a transaction, whether it be a purchase or a refund. It’s usually around four to six digits long and is a more secure way of paying than a signature, which can be copied by criminals and used to authorise payments.

Internet banking security measures

Automatic logout

When you log onto your internet banking you’re also protected in a few ingenious ways. If you leave your internet banking idle for too long you’ll be logged out to prevent anyone near your computer from making money transfers or payments.

SMS codes

In many cases when you want to carry out a transaction from your internet banking application you’ll be sent an SMS to your mobile phone with a code in it. You’ll then be required to enter this code into authorise your transaction.

Time of last logon

Many internet banking platforms will show you the last time you logged on so you know if you were the last person to log on or not.

ATM anti-skimming devices

ATM skimming refers to when someone illegally copies your credit card information so they can access your account. Today many ATMs have safeguards against this. These include;

  • PIN-pad covers so cameras can’t be used to capture your PIN being entered
  • Internal anti-skimming devices which notify a bank when a card skimmer is installed on an ATM and block the skimmer from transmitting information
  • Anti-skimming inserts which are added into the card reader slot and prevent skimming devices from being added to the ATM

Online shopping protection

MasterCard and Visa have two different systems for protecting your card when shopping online.

MasterCard SecureCode

This involves you setting a SecureCode with MasterCard. When you shop at a participating store or retailer you’ll be prompted to enter in your SecureCode before the transaction is processed, lessening the chance of a criminal using your details to pay for an item.

Mastercard SecureCode

Verified by Visa

Verified by Visa works in a similar way to MasterCard SecureCode. You set up your verification method and then when you shop at a participating store online your card will be recognised and you’ll have to check your transaction details before the are completed.

Verified by visa

Encryption protection

Most shopping sites and internet banking is protected by encryption protocols such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. This basically protects your data from being accessed over the net, including your credit card number and other personal information. You can easily tell if a site is secured in two ways. If the URL of the site begins with ‘https’, or if there’s a lock somewhere in the window of the browser which displays security details then the site is secure.

Look below to see how this might look on different browsers.

Mozilla FF secure browsing

Mozilla Firefox

Chrome Secure Browsing

Google Chrome

Safari Secure browsing

Mac Safari


What can you do to protect yourself?

Even with all the protection provided for you by your card provider, card scheme and retailers it’s still possible to find yourself on the receiving end of credit card fraud.

This is why it’s so important to safeguard your credit card, and you can do this by following the below points.

Be selective with where you shop. One of the first things you should do is be very careful about when and where you use your credit card. If you do take it out shopping, be sure you know exactly where it is at all times, and that you are very careful not to misplace it or leave it in a shop.

Protect your computer. Most of us do some form of shopping on the internet, and this is where a lot of credit card fraud can take place. Be careful to make sure you have suitable firewall and antivirus protection on your computer to protect yourself from attack from theft.

Don’t shop or bank in public. Another good measure is to not use public computers to make purchases, as you never know if whoever uses the system after you may be able to somehow record your card number.

Protect your PIN number. Your PIN is your own personal number and it should not be shared with anyone. Keep it locked away in memory, and destroy any communications you may have received that had your PIN number written on it. Don’t write it down on a piece of paper for reference and carry it with you.

Make sure that there is nobody around to see your pin when you enter it into a machine, and cover your hand with your other one as you enter it. Also, even if you attempt to disguise the number, never write down your PIN on your credit card.

Protect your credit card information. As soon as you receive your card you must sign the strip that runs along the back. Cut the card in half when it has expired, and never let anyone else use your card.

Be careful when you shop online. Some worthwhile advice is to shop only at reputable websites. There can be some questionable websites, and if you have any suspicions at all, hold back on your purchase until you have found out more information about the company. As mentioned above, checking for the padlock logo or ‘https’ inclusion at the beginning of the website’s URL is one way to find out.

Don’t let others know your card details. Do not give out any details of your card to anyone that calls or asks for them via email. These are generally not asked by anyone from your bank so refuse if asked.

Keep track of your card. Make sure that when you make purchases you get your card back. Watch to ensure that it is not scanned twice and that the amount of the purchase is the same amount you are signing for.

Keep a record of all of your purchases. When you keep all of your hard copy receipts you will be in a much better position to check your statement balance when it arrives, especially if the statement seems too high.

Check your account balance and statements online. Check your account balance online on a regular basis. Look for any suspicious activity on your account, and get in touch with your card provider immediately if you see anything.

Store your card safely. Any magnetic objects and loose change can deactivate the card. Keep it away from these objects, and any other objects that could possibly scratch the card. Also, keep it from bending or it may become too damaged to use.

If you follow these credit card security tips you will have a much better advantage in the fight against card fraud. Shopping can be an enjoyable if you use the right security tips to keep you safe.

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Rates last updated October 1st, 2016
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* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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