NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Who hasn’t experienced that pang of fear and stab of anxiety after you peer into your wallet or pocketbook, only to discover that your bank debit card isn’t there staring back up at you?
Hanging on to that card is important, especially given the prevalence of bank deposit account fraud.
According to the American Bankers Association, bank industry losses from debit card fraud hit an estimated $955 million in 2010, up from $788 million in 2008.
In addition, 96% of banks surveyed by the ABA say they had debit card losses in 2010.
But what if you had a smartphone app that could automatically – and immediately – disable your debit card the moment you discovered it was lost or stolen?
That’s the idea behind a new offering from Lubbock, Texas-based City Bank. American Banker reports that the bank has a mobile phone application that allows users to disable their debit cards remotely from a smartphone device.
The app, which was released on a test basis in Texas earlier this week, enables users to simply touch a debit card icon on their smartphone and deactivate the card with another screen touch on the icon. When the danger has passed, and the debit card is found, the consumer can activate the card via the same process. The user can see when the card is deactivated, as the debit card image is dimmed when it’s shut off. When the plastic is reactivated, the image brightens considerably, letting the owner know the card is back in business.
Once the debit card is locked out, any thieves or fraudsters won’t be able to use the card at a point-of-sale purchase, at an ATM or when making an online purchase (or anywhere thieves can use the “credit” feature and avoid using the card’s PIN).
As American Banker attests, that certainly beats calling a 1-800 number and going through the laborious process of hunting your card down, and getting it back up again is no picnic, either.
City Bank, with $1.9 billion in assets, is at the forefront of an emerging trend among banks – letting users have more “remote control” over their bank accounts via their mobile phones.
If the idea gains traction (and why wouldn’t it?), expect more banks and credit card issuers to come up with bank card deactivation apps of their own.