In fact, a recent study conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research reveals that consumers that receive alerts related to their account activity save their financial institutions up to $19 per user in annual service costs, plus an additional $9.22 each year if the consumer receives interactive alerts.
Even more noteworthy, the research shows that an informed and “alerted” consumer can stop up to 50 percent of fraud attempts before they are carried out successfully.
“Consumers understand their own spending patterns much better than their financial institutions do,” said Michelle Thornton, director of product development for CO-OP Financial Services. “Placing card security directly into the hands of members makes great business sense for credit unions, instills member confidence, and is a real game changer in the fight against card fraud.”
Managing Card Usage at a Granular Level
According to Thornton, the most advanced card controls and alerts technology today allows credit union members to specify exactly when, where and how their credit and debit cards can be used, receive real-time alerts for transactions that fall outside these parameters, and turn cards off – and back on again, all on-demand, all from a smartphone app.
“These tools make it easy for credit union members to stop virtually any type of card fraud by limiting card usage to certain merchants, merchant types, geographic areas, types of transactions, time periods and dollar amounts,” she said. “So, for example, if I frequently use a card for in-store purchases, but rarely online, I can set up the system to deny online transactions or to alert me whenever one is attempted.”
When considering product options, Thornton advises credit unions to invest in technologies designed for mobile platforms. “The research shows that 95 percent of mobile phone users keep their phones with them and on 24/7,” she said. “So products that deliver in-app alerts in real time get the message out to members the fastest. And whenever fraud occurs, time is of the essence.”
Thornton also recommends solutions that can pinpoint the member’s location. “One of the most powerful features available in some tools is a GPS-enabled locator that uses the member’s smartphone to identify his or her whereabouts, and then allows the member to restrict card usage to only those transactions that occur in close proximity to that location.”
According to Thornton, the ability to set highly customized alerts is another feature members value. “Some of these systems can be programmed not to alert users in the middle of the night for online transactions that are routinely batch processed at night,” she said. “At the same time, users can opt to receive late-night alerts for card-present transactions which are likely fraudulent.”
Helping Members Budget Their Expenses
Thornton emphasizes that the benefits of card controls and alerts extend well beyond the realm of security. “These apps are also very effective budgeting tools,” she said. “Users can view, track and limit expenditures, set parameters for individual transactions, and establish thresholds for account balances. Card controls and alerts can also help parents manage a teen’s spending and assist businesses in tracking employee expenses as well.”
Thornton notes that credit union members equipped with card controls and alerts tend to reach for these cards first. “Our research shows an increase in card usage of approximately 54 percent among cardholders that actively use the technology,” she said. “And getting users up and running is easy once they understand the benefits. Partnering with a provider that can support you with marketing resources can help you inform your members well.”
She continued, “In the end, security equals trust. Offering products that make members feel more secure promotes their engagement and inspires their long-term loyalty.”
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