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Most major credit cards today offer fraud protection. But what is fraud protection? How does it benefit you? And which cards offer the best fraud protection?
Let’s find out.
Why Should I Care About Fraud Protection?
The reason you want to use credit cards that offer great fraud protection services is that it well protect your credit rating — and your assets — in case your credit card is stolen or if fraudulent charges appear on your credit card.
Since a credit card with excellent fraud protection services can be a great first line of defense in your fight against identity theft, this should be one of the primary benefits you look for when you apply for a new credit card.
Ideally, you want to find a card with $0 fraud protection. This means there is no deductible and you are not liable for ANY fraudulent charges on your card. Some cards make you pay the first $50 in fraudulent charges — which is the most they can charge you under law.
You may also want to look at the amount of fraudulent charges you are protected up to.
In other words, you are covered for fraudulent charges that do not exceed $250,000 — or whatever amount. This is especially important if you have an American Express card or another card with no pre-set spending limit.
You also want to find out if the card offers any pro-active fraud protection. For instance, Will your credit card company notify you if they notice unusual activity on your card? (Unusual activity can include a number of out-of-state charges, a lot of Internet shopping or unusually high charges in a 24-hour period.)
Of course, it goes without saying that you want your credit card’s online bill pay and management center to be 100% encrypted and secure.
Finally, you want to find out how easy it is to make a claim. Is it as simple as calling the phone number on the back of your card or making a claim online?
After evaluating these factors, you can decide which credit card offers the best fraud protection.
Selecting a Credit Card with the Best Fraud Protection Services
Of course, before selecting a credit card you must weigh the best fraud protection against other features, including the interest rate, annual fees, and rewards, to find the best card for you. But, when just considering fraud protection, here are our picks for credit cards with the best fraud protection.
American Express has a broad range of offerings in both credit cards and charge cards, but they all offer some of the best fraud protection in the industry.
The website advertises “no fine print, no deductible,” and the company makes it very easy to make a claim. Simply call the number on the back of your card or sign into your account online and make a claim.
“In most cases,” according to the company, “a temporary credit is given immediately.” Your card will also be canceled and a new one issued. The case will then be investigated to make sure the charges were indeed fraudulent.
The company offers 24-hour fraud detection, watching your account for “uncharacteristic or unusually high charges.”
Amex may temporarily suspend further charges on your card until they can confirm the purchases were authorized. You can also sign up for alerts on your cell phone, smartphone or email.
Citi’s line of credit cards ranks high in fraud protection features, as well.
One way it lags behind American Express is that claims are “usually” investigated within 10 business days. So you may not receive an immediate credit, and you may have a period of time where you will not be able to use your card.
Like Amex, Citi lets you report fraudulent claims online or by phone. And there are no hidden fees, premiums or deductibles. You are covered for the full amount of the loss plus the loss of any interest, overdraft charges, or returned check fees.
Citi also offers Identity Theft Solutions, which assists you in the event your identity — not just your Citi credit card — is ever stolen or used fraudulently.
Citi helps you contact TransUnion, who will review your credit report and apply an extended fraud alert. Citi will also monitor your TransUnion report until the case is closed. Experienced customer service reps will assisting you in completing a police report and other necessary paperwork. They will also help you identify other compromised accounts and assist you in contacting those creditors.
This package is available free as a benefit with any Citi card, and really sets Citi apart when it comes to fraud protection.
Citi also offers a virtual account number for added security while shopping online.
Other Tips for Fraud Protection
Besides using a credit card that provide excellent fraud protection services, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from credit card identity theft:
Keep close tabs on your account frequently to keep an eye for fraudulent charges. Don’t count on the credit card companies to call you.
Actively question any unfamiliar charges. Sometimes, companies do business under other names and the parent company name will appear on your statement. But this should be easy to find out by reconciling the amount on your receipt with your statement or calling the company.
If you are traveling or expect to use your card for unusually high purchases, (such as back-to-school shopping) call your credit card company and let them know so they don’t suspect fraud and suspend your account.
Obtain free copies of all three of your credit reports from the major credit reporting agencies for free once every 12 months. Question or dispute any unusual items on your credit reports.
Credit Shout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt.