Personalising your cards

Originally published on Billing Views.

Payments guru Dave Birch recently commented on his frustrations at receiving new credit cards that still have magnetic stripes, embossed numbers and names on them – all throwbacks to old technology. These features are still present to keep compatibility with non Chip and PIN use (e.g. USA) and manual ‘zip zap’ transactions. As Dave correctly points out, it was thanks to these features his last card was compromised and its thanks to these his next will be compromised!

Whilst the banks seem to be concerned about handing out cards to customers that aren’t compatible with every point of sale on Earth, they don’t seem to be taking the same care to make it harder for cards to be compromised. If the banks are not willing to remove these features from all cards (features that are redundant for the majority of customers) then they could at least allow customers to make the choice themselves.

I should be able to log on to my bank’s website, select my card and choose the features it supports:

  • So if I don’t want to use it outside the UK, I can have a card without a mag stripe and accept that if Chip and PIN fails for some reason I won’t be able to use the card but the card is much safer.
  • If I have a card I don’t want to use online I can request that all ‘card not present’ transactions are declined (and it doesn’t have a CV2 number).
  • I only want my debit card card to work in ATMs and be declined if it’s used in a shop.

Maybe the ability to have certain types of transactions declined could be switched on and off at the customer’s convenience?

As well as being anti fraud this is all about product personalisation – being able to build the product that suits me. It’s time that the banks embraced this concept across a whole range of products.

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