FNB and VISA launch 8th annual card security week

By Staff Writer
FNB and Visa kick off their Annual Card Security Week on 15 November to ensure bank cardholders have a fraud-free festive season when transacting with their payment cards.

Card Security Week - now in its eighth year - will run from 15 - 21 November 2010 to educate consumers on being card wise and card safe when using their debit, cheque or credit cards.

Commenting on the card safety campaign, Pieter Du Toit, CEO of FNB Smart Product House, says to successfully win the fight against card fraud banks and their customers should work together. "At FNB we believe that fighting fraud requires a team effort. Putting hi-tech security measures to safeguard our customers' money is not enough. We also need to educate our customers on how to be safe when accessing their money and to inform them of the latest trends used by fraudsters," says Du Toit. "Our customers need to know what to look out for when using their cards and what to do if they become victims of fraud."

According to the latest industry statistics from SABRIC (South African Banking Risk Information Centre), credit card fraud has been reduced by approximately 40% in the last 12 months. "The biggest contributor to this has been a decrease in counterfeit, lost and stolen cards. The decline in counterfeit cards can partially be attributed to the rollout of Chip & PIN cards. However, the industry is experiencing notable increases in cheque card and debit card frauds, which can be related to an increase in the number of debit and cheque cards issued in recent years," says Henk Vermeulen, FNB Card Fraud Specialist. "At FNB our numbers on card fraud and false applications have gone down significantly and to us this is proof that our improved security on cards and at ATMs is working."

Du Toit adds that a significant increase in debit card fraud at ATMs is noticeable in the mainstream market. "Debit Card fraud at ATMs has more than doubled over the last year in this space. We attribute this increase to fraudsters specifically targeting our customers whom we find are too trusting - when at an ATM they either ask strangers for assistance or are easily distracted by fraudsters. The fraudsters usually "help" a customer in order to obtain their pin and are then able to defraud them."

Bank payment cards offer customers a convenient and safe channel to access their money. Chip and PIN is a new technology that prevents payment cards from being counterfeited. Chip cards have numerous security features that are coupled with PIN technology, which identifies the cardholder and prevents a lost or stolen card being used by someone else. More banks have migrated to this technology because it has proven to be a success in curbing fraudulent activities.

Vermeulen also points out that fraud has increased on internet websites, with regards to online purchases. "We are seeing a spike on internet fraud. Customers need to be careful when using their cards for internet purchases. They should only make payments on a secure server - the website will be prefixed with "https" instead of "http" (The "s" stands for security) and use only one credit card with a low credit limit for all their online purchases. This way it's easy to track purchases and detect any suspicious transactions. In addition, just like their PIN they need to keep their internet banking details a secret and only use secure portals to access their banking."

FNB and Visa believe it is becoming critical that customers realise that they should treat their payment cards as they would cash and that they need to be aware of the related risks.

Bryce Thorrold, Head of Risk, Africa for Visa adds, "Debit and credit card fraud has become a global phenomenon with fraudsters engineering new tactics to defraud customers on a continuous basis. Preventing your card from falling into the wrong hands requires vigilance. Fraudsters are also looking at every opportunity to defraud preoccupied and innocent victims. Visa works closely with its partner banks like FNB to collate information on all cases of payment card fraud, and uses that information to design technological processes and develop best practices to ensure that Visa cards remain the safest way to pay and transact."

Du Toit concludes that consumers should take advantage of value-added service from their banks such as the FNB inContact service. "inContact is a free instant SMS service that notifies a customer every time their card is swiped or cash over R100 is withdrawn from their account. During Card Safety Week, we will be running daily and weekly tips in various publications educating every card user on how to be card wise and card safe."

Points for customers to ALWAYS remember:

* Treat your card as you would cash - never let it out of your sight.
* Don't give your secret PIN to anyone.
* Don't accept help from anyone at an ATM.
* Don't respond to emails that require you to submit your account number, card number or expiry date of your card.
* Don't let your friends or family use your cards.
* Know your daily withdrawal limits on all your accounts
* If your PIN is known or difficult to remember, change it
* If your card is compromised, cancel it

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