Keeping your balance low, and avoiding unnecessary fees or security threats, are main concerns of most people that use credit cards. Security threats, such as when someone steals your card or makes an unauthorized purchase with just the card information, are growing in both number and sophistication as hacking tools become more powerful and and easy to use. More and more of our shopping and financial actions are done on the internet, making it easier for thieves to acquire what they need for exploitation.
This makes finding an extra layer of protection a worthy effort, none of which has proven more effective than SMS notification. An SMS (short message service) notification is what we call texting, those handy little notifications and communications that allow us to stay in touch with family, friends, and business entities. Banks and credit card companies will send you a text message when one of a number of criteria is met, usually situations you designate beforehand. You can usually customize which scenarios you want to qualify for a text, so you do not become overwhelmed by constant messages.
Common Reasons for SMS Notifications
As mentioned above, there are a few different transaction types or situations that most companies will allow you the option of receiving an SMS notification. The trick is to find a good balance between how many alerts you want to receive versus how secure you want your credit card to be. While you do not want to be inundated by texts, you also do not want to find out too late if mischief has occurred.
Whenever a Purchase Is Made
Receiving a text whenever the credit card is used is one of the primary reasons for receiving SMS notifications. This gives you the opportunity to know right away if an unauthorized charge was made, and take the necessary steps to shut it down. This cuts down severely on the potential for numerous fraudulent transactions to occur, which can easily total to hundreds or thousands of dollars.
This is also helpful in assisting you with keeping track of how many and which purchases you make each day. It is not uncommon to look over a credit card statement at the end of the month and completely forget some charges you have made. Receiving that extra reminder makes it much easier to remember the little things you buy.
If a Purchase Seems Suspicious
Have you ever gotten to the cashier with your purchases, only to have the credit card company deny your card because the transaction appeared suspicious? This used to be extremely annoying and embarrassing, considering it usually took a phone call to the card issuer to assure them the transaction is one you are making. While you are holding up the line taking care of all that, the impatience of those behind you continues to grow, and the judging looks having you wish you could shrink into the floor.
With an SMS notification, you can bypass most of the discomfort, since everything can usually be fixed with a much shorter delay. The credit card company will immediately send a text if the transaction is one they are wary of. Instead of having to connect to and speak with a person, you can just reply to the text with a verification. These replies are usually processed automatically, and results in no hold placed on your card.
Certain Types of Purchases
Some transactions are more prone to be fraudulent than others. If you do not want to receive notices for every purchase, you can designate certain types to qualify for a text. One of the most common is purchases made without the card present, such as those conducted online. Hackers can snag your card info, and turn around and make purchases without even needing to possess the card itself, usually very quickly. Knowing it is happening right away makes the recovery process much easier.
Purchases at gas stations are prime ways for thieves to test out a card they have stolen to make sure it works. This is another important type of transaction you are well advised to receive an alert if they are made. Since much credit card fraud is instigated overseas, international purchases should qualify as well.
How to Sign Up for SMS Notifications
While the exact process is different with each card issuer, the basic process is usually relatively similar. In the past, it could be difficult to navigate a complicated process in order to turn them on and set them up how you wanted them. As more and more card companies see how much time and money is saved by “deputizing” their customers, the process has become much easier.
- Log in to your credit card company website, or access their app from your smartphone.
- Access the alert preferences menu, which is usually found under Settings or Profile
- Turn on SMS notifications, and designate which types of alerts you want to receive. Sometimes, you may also need to verify that you want them turned on, which usually comes in the form of a code sent by text you must enter into the proper field.
If you use credit cards with any degree of frequency, chances are you are going to get hit with fraud at least once in your life, if not more. Cut down on this type of tragedy, and reduce the impact it has on your finances and peace of mind, by activating and using SMS notifications.