Credit cards offer a convenient way of paying for goods and services, whether you are shopping online, on the high street, or travelling abroad. They are also generally considered to be a secure method of payment, and most card providers put systems in place to protect you against fraud. However, you still need to take a few basic steps to protect yourself and your money when using a credit card.
Keep Your Card Safe
You should always keep your card in a safe place, and do not give it to anyone else to use, even members of your immediate family. You should also avoid disclosing your PIN to anyone.
When you are shopping on the high street, or withdrawing cash at an ATM, shield your PIN with your hand as you enter it to prevent anyone standing behind you learning what number you use. Also look out for suspicious looking devices fitted around the card slots of cash machines, as scammers occasionally use such devices to clone people’s cards so that they can use them to extract money from your account. If anything looks suspicious when you are using an ATM, withdraw your card immediately and notify the bank that owns the machines that something may be wrong.
Beware of Scammers
Sadly, in today’s world there are some criminals who will try to trick you into parting with your credit card and your personal details. Be wary of anyone who phones or emails you pretending to be from your bank, the police, or another source of authority. None of these organizations will ever require you to reveal your PIN or the login details for your account.
One worrying scam that has emerged lately is for scammers to phone the customer pretending to either be a police officer or a bank employee. The customer will be told to put the phone down and call their bank or the local police station to verify that the call is genuine. However, the scammers will hold the phone line open so that the customer’s call redirects to the scammer. The scammer will tell the customer that there is a problem with their card and that a courier will come around to their house to collect it. Through this method, customers can be tricked into handing over their card and personal details to criminal fraudsters. If you receive this type of call, put the phone down and do not engage with the scammers.
Stay Secure When Shopping Online
Many people worry about security when shopping online, but banks have been working hard to make sure your details are secure. NatWest Secure is a simple browser application that the bank uses to verify your identity when you make certain transactions using your credit or debit card online. By asking you to enter digits from your PIN or online banking password, the bank can be sure that it is you that is using your card, not a fraudster.
Of course, you should continue to take basic security precautions when carrying out financial transactions online. Never share your PIN, card number, security code or account login details over the internet. When shopping online, stick to reputable sites that you are sure you can trust, and look for a padlock symbol in the address bar of your browser. This symbol shows that your details are being transmitted securely, which means that they are protected from hackers.
Look Out For Suspicious Transactions
It pays to keep an eye on your credit card statements so that you can spot fraudulent transactions soon after they occur. If you see anything suspicious on your statement, call the bank to report it. If you lose your card, you should also report it as lost or stolen as soon as possible, so that the bank can cancel the card and prevent any fraud from occurring.
NatWest offers a free fraud text alert service, in which customers receive text messages letting them know when a suspicious transaction has taken place. This service allows you to let the bank know quickly if you did not authorize the transaction.