Mobile operator O2 has launched Travel Alerts, a new automated service trialed with UK card issuer MBNA, to overcome the tiresome requirement for consumers to alert their bank and unblock cards every time they travel abroad.
To prevent payment card fraud or decline overseas, currently, people have to take time to contact their banks before they go away, filling out forms or spending time on the phone to a call centre.
With overseas card fraud standing at £150 million and accounting for a third of total UK and debit card losses, bank security systems are primed to decline unusual transactions from overseas locations without prior warning.
Rather than notifying a bank about overseas travel plans, consumers can now opt into Travel Alerts, which notifies card issuers when O2 detects mobile roaming in a different country. The simple premise ties in overseas transactions with the location of the consumer handset, providing a green-light to bank fraud systems.
The system has already been trialed with thousands of MBNA customers, with impressive results says Phil Weston, head of mobile and digital communications at the UK card issuer.
"We’re delighted with the results from the Travel Alerts trial we’re running with O2," he says. “By using their mobile phone to update us in real time, customers no longer have to contact us each time they travel, and they’re less likely to be inconvenienced when using their card abroad. We look forward to rolling Travel Alerts out to all customers in the near future.”
O2 is currently hawking the system to other banks in the UK.
Glyn Povah, head of O2 global product development, says: “ Travel Alerts completely reinvents the process of liaising with your bank to update them on travel plans. We’re really looking forward to Travel Alerts being available to everyone."