In the latest move to reduce credit card fraud, a major bank has granted millions of its customers the power to instantly lock and unlock credit cards via a new feature on its mobile app.
From Monday, Commonwealth Bank customers who lose or misplace their credit cards, or are a victim of theft, can hit the temporary lock button. If the card cannot be found, they can cancel and order a replacement using the Commbank app.
“We know security is of the utmost importance to our credit card customers, but we also know that our customers not only want, but have come to expect, increasingly convenient ways to manage and control their money,” said Commbank’s Angus Sullivan.
The temporary lock is the latest attempt to thwart fraudsters, who in 2013 stole $34 million using lost and stolen cards, up 104 per cent in the past five years, according to the Australian Payments Clearing Association.
The increase suggests criminals are reverting back to simpler methods in the face of growing anti-fraud card technology, said the association’s chief executive Chris Hamilton.
The lock option is nestled among other adjustable credit card features on the Commbank app, downloaded 3 million times, including buttons to lock international payments, block ATM transactions and set spending limits.
New research by Commbank shows more than 60 per cent of the 11.5 million credit cards reported lost or stolen in Australia annually are actually misplaced and recoverable.
It calculated Australians were wasting 4.6 million hours a year updating the details of misplaced cards, including 1.8 million hours among those in New South Wales..
The most common location to misplace a credit card was at home or work, followed by shops or malls, and then bars or restaurants.
The other three major banks; Â Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ, Â did not answer questions about whether they would soon be offering similar security features on their credit cards, instead pointing to their work on helping international travellers.
Westpac customers receive alerts when they are at a major airport here and overseas, notifying them to remind the bank of their travels and not to cancel their card,Â a spokeswoman said.
In June, NAB began allowing Traveller Card holders to instantly load and manage funds in 10 different currencies using internet and mobile banking wherever they are, a spokesman said.
ANZ plans to increase credit card functions on its goMoney mobile app next year.