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Lachlan Gunn - BenAlpin Ltd

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Information Security

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Do you get SMS alerts for debit card transactions?

18 August 2011  |  7145 views  |  3

Does your bank provide SMS alerts for debit card transactions? If it does, do you use the service? According to an article in the Times of India, with effect from July 2011, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made it mandatory for ALL Indian banks to provide this service to debit card holders, and all debit card holders are required to register their mobile phone numbers with their bank for this purpose. 

Is this a good thing? Not everyone will want to provide their mobile phone number to their bank and some of us keep trying to reduce the number of texts we receive.  That being said, I registered for this service as soon as my bank offered it to me, and there is something reasssuring about the 'beep beep' of an incoming text letting me know that my card has just been used and stating in which country the transaction was made.  SMS alerts are offered by many banks in Europe, although to the best of my knowledge they are not mandatory in any country.

SMS alerts paid off for Axis Bank in India which detected a skimming attack at one of its ATMs, after customers who got SMS alerts of large withdrawals raised the alarm.  Fraud prevention professionals in our banks work tirelessly to prevent, detect and react to fraud incidents.  Why not help them? 

In an earlier blog on this site I stressed the need to cover your PIN when using an ATM, or any payment terminal, as preventing PIN compromise limits what fraudsters can do with your card details if they succeed in obtaining them.  That is your bit for fraud prevention.  Why not help with fraud detection too? If your bank provides an SMS alert service for debit card transactions, register for it and try it out.  If your bank doesn't yet provide such a service, why not request that they do?

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Comments: (3)

A Finextra member | 18 August, 2011, 15:29

Covering your entry of a PIN into a PED will not help you if the enterprising skimmers are using this technology:

 

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/18/thermal_imaging_atm_fraud/

Danny O'Donoghue - Bishopstown Credit Union - Cork | 19 August, 2011, 09:39

Bishopstown Credit Union have been providing this service on their debit cards for the last three years. It is excellent, the members love it. It is also provided free of charge. As well as giving peace of mind from a fraud perspective it gives an immediate Euro value for a foreign currency transaction and lets you know your remaining balance.

www.bishopstowncu.ie

 

Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 19 August, 2011, 17:21

Although the linked Times of India article is only two days old, several banks in India have been providing realtime SMS alerts for ATM debit card transactions for several years to customers (like me) who have subscribed to them. Although this article and post make no mention of it, what's new is banks in India have recently started sending realtime SMS alerts for credit card transactions. This requires no subscription and works as long as the bank has the cardholder's mobile phone number (which is handed over by most people in India without any fuss whenever they're asked for it - like, for example, during account opening). It covers card present and card not present transactions. It's a great service and has already helped me spot one fraudulent transaction within two months since its launch. While I won't mind paying a nominal fee for it, it happens to be provided free-of-cost for now.   

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Lachlan Gunn

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