Visa security keeps cardholders safe
By Jeremy M. Simon | Published: September 6, 2006
Visa credit card holders can take comfort in the fact that their security is in good hands. Visa's security program uses a number of methods to ensure that your Visa account information is never compromised.
Visa Continuous Monitoring
Visa's Continuous Monitoring is a key part of its multiple layers of security. Alongside other fraud monitoring tools, Visa can often spot fraud based upon unusual card transactions. By identifying items that are outside the cardholder's typical purchasing pattern, Visa can note fraudulent activity as quickly as possible. This acts as an early warning system to identify fraudulent activity.
Visa does this by working alongside financial institutions and merchants to continually monitor your account to detect suspicious or unusual activity. By doing this, Visa is able to function proactively to stop fraudulent transactions. Among the red flags that may signal fraudulent activity are:
- The shipping address does not match the credit card billing address, or the shipping address has suddenly changed.
- A significantly larger purchase compared to the normal purchase patterns for the account.
- A change in the name on the credit card account.
- A change in the birth date or Social Security number on the account.
While Visa is always on the lookout for fraud, you can play a role as well in your own protection. Since most identity fraud is self-detected, you can act as your own fraud monitor by paying careful attention to your bank statements, particularly online. According to a recent report by Javelin Strategy and Research, accessing your account online can provide easier identity theft protection than simply looking over monthly paper statements and bills. Should you notice a suspicious transaction, immediately contact your financial institution to report it. By following these simple steps, you can better protect your credit card from unauthorized use.
Visa identity theft assistance
Another important layer of the Visa Security Program is Identity Theft Assistance. If you are the victim of identity theft, help is available. Through a unique partnership with the consumer network Call For Action, identity theft victims have access to free, confidential counseling by dialing 1-866-ID-HOTLINE.
Call For Action's consumer hotline offers access to help from trained counselors to guide consumers step-by-step through the process of recovering their identities. You can also get assistance from Call For Action via their website.
Visa three-digit code
Yet another layer of Visa security comes in the form of the Cardholder Verification Value, or CVV2. This three-digit code found on the back of your credit card inside the signature area helps ensure the physical credit card is in the cardholder's possession when shopping online or making purchases over the phone, helping to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent card use.
While the signature panel on the reverse side of your credit card typically has a series of numbers, only the final three digits comprise the CVV2 code. When shopping online or over the phone, this code lets merchants know that the credit card is in the right hands. Merchants will ask for the CVV2 at checkout from the cardholder. Then, the information is transmitted electronically to the card-issuing bank to verify its validity. Within seconds, the CVV2 results are sent back with authorization. Should it be returned invalid, merchants have the right to stop the transaction. For the cardholder's added protection, merchants are prohibited from keeping or storing the CVV2 number following completion of the credit card transaction.
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