Visa to test real-time fraud alerts

Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:57pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Visa Inc and eight U.S. and Canadian lenders have launched a pilot program designed to alert cardholders in real time that they might be victims of fraud.

Visa, the world's largest card network, said the test will provide as many as 2,000 cardholders with alerts via e-mail or through their mobile devices within seconds of their cards being used, rather than within hours or days.

Participants may choose to be alerted to a variety of types of card usage, including ATM withdrawals, international transactions, Internet or phone transactions, and transactions above specified amounts.

Visa said it already offers lenders real-time transaction "risk scores" designed to thwart fraud. It said it began testing real-time notifications for cardholders last year in an internal test involving employees.

Lenders taking part in the pilot program are PNC Financial Services Group Inc, SunTrust Banks Inc, U.S. Bancorp, Wachovia Corp, Wells Fargo & Co, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Vancity, which is Canada's largest credit union.

Card companies report losses approaching $50 billion annually because of credit card fraud, the nonprofit Consumer Action has estimated.

Visa is based in San Francisco.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Daniel Trotta)

<p>Regular, platinum and gold Visa cards are displayed in New York March 18, 2008. REUTERS/Chip East</p>