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Bank SMS Alerts: Sign Me Up!

by Paul Brown | May 20, 2009

For those of you who don't know, I travel quite a lot for work. While in the US a few weeks back, I tried to make a purchase using my bank card. The purchase was declined at the time, and given that it was a small amount (about $10 for lunch), I thought nothing of it - after all, I had forgotten to inform my bank I was going to be in the States, and on numerous occasions I have been unable to use my card abroad for this very reason (note to self - mark in calendar to call bank before each trip). Unfortunately, the reason I couldn't make a purchase was not because I had nto informed my bank I would be overseas. I had been hit by card fraud. I was none the wiser of this until I returned home to countless letters from my bank telling me I had no money! When I checked my account online, there were 17 (yes seventeen!) transactions over the course of 12 hours that had wiped out my account. I guess the fraudsters had tried to be clever, by making purchases in a pattern that looked 'normal' i.e. not all at the same place, different amounts etc. On to South Africa, where I am now, again conducting research sessions. We have been discussing with participants, amongst other things, mobile banking. While still a relatively new service, one aspect of mobile banking has really caught my attention - SMS Text Alerts. Basically, for every transaction you make with your card, you will receive an SMS detailing this transaction. If only had this service in my time of need! Does my current bank offer this service? Not that I am aware of. Is receiving an SMS every time I use my card an inconvenience? Not at all. As long as it works, it seems a great way to combat fraud. I would have called my bank after the first transaction on my account was made and had my card cancelled immediately. Do I want this service now? Of course! I am looking to change my bank account after the poor customer service I received trying to deal with fraud - and SMS alerts is definitely one of the features I will be looking for when choosing who to bank with next.

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