Choosing Cards that Put You in Control

Choosing Cards that Put You in Control

Even as the world edges back toward “business as usual,” people continue to rely heavily on doing business digitally – with online shopping, delivery, curbside pick up, and alternative points of sale. Many people are still working remotely, which further decentralizes business purchasing decisions and activity, depending on digital processes to manage it all.

The dominant payment form for all this activity? Cards. In the U.S., they’re used for 47 percent of all e-commerce transactions, or $348.74 billion in annual online sales, according to data from JP Morgan. Whether you’re the head of household or owner of a business, you know what a challenge it is to keep tabs on all the credit, debit and purchasing card activity that happens on a daily basis.

Security features become very important, not just for reconciling accounts, but for preventing fraud. In the digital shopping frenzy of the past year, scammers have taken full advantage of the chaos. The United States is the most credit card fraud-prone country in the world.

To mitigate your risk, here’s what to look for in the cards you use.

For debit cards, which are tied to your checking account, look for personal controls:

  • The ability to temporarily turn your card “off” if it’s misplaced (and “on” again when you find it)
  • Settings or controls that send you email or text notifications if a purchase is over a certain limit or made in a certain channel
  • Alerts or automatic denial certain purchase types or amounts, or international transactions

For credit cards, which could carry more consumer protection for fraud, select cards with premier services:

  • A live person available to you 24/7, without a wandering phone tree or automated assistant
  • Secure online access
  • Liability protection for fraud, and global travel services like emergency card replacement and emergency cash advance

For businesses that put purchasing power in the hands of multiple teams and individuals, purchasing cards are a popular choice, and key security features include:

  • Controls given to a program administrator at your company who can manage spend limits and controls by individual and set and receive alerts based on individual card usage
  • A dedicated account manager available to assist with administrator inquiries
  • Expense reporting tools to manage all business expenditures

Plastic-free options prevent fraud because there’s no physical card and they’re used for specific purposes. These include:

  • Ghost cards (no-plastic card accounts used to pay specific vendors, including automatic repetitive payments)
  • Virtual cards (specific-use no-plastic card accounts that replace check payments to pay invoices) eliminate exposure to check fraud and allow complete payment control.

And for companies employing drivers, fleet card security features to look for include:

  • Spend limits and controls
  • Odometer and vehicle/driver ID capture
  • The ability to receive Level III detail (the “who,” “what” and “how”) with merchants set up to capture it

All of these security features allow cardholders to put some parameters on authorized transaction types and amounts – with settings that can vary by individual user – while alerts and reporting assist in management of payments and reduction of risk.

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