MasterCard’s Text Message Anti-Fraud Plan is Flawed

11th February 2005

MasterCard’s announcement of a planned text message (SMS) system that alerts cardholders to potentially fraudulent activity on their account falls at the first hurdle, says Phil Wilson, CEO of Adeptra, a leading supplier of anti-fraud systems to major UK banks.

MasterCard’s system aims to improve protection by reducing the time it takes banks to make contact with cardholders. When a suspicious transaction is detected, it triggers an automated response that can alert customers within minutes via an SMS to their mobile phone.

"This sounds good in theory," said Wilson, "but it in reality there is little new going on here. Banks already use software that looks for suspicious activity and all this system does is pass that information on to cardholders. The onus is then on them to call the bank if they’re concerned.

"It’s true that banks struggle to reach cardholders using call centres and this system tries to help by automating that process. However, it’s likely that cardholders will swamp the bank’s call centre as they try to call back whenever they’re anxious or unsure."

Wilson believes the only sensible automated solution is one that is two-way, i.e. a system that both alerts and enables a response. "It’s useless telling cardholders that they may have been victim to fraud without providing an inbuilt means for verifying or challenging transactions.

"Adeptra’s anti-fraud system, a technology already used by many major UK banks and with proven success in combating fraud, does precisely this. It reaches the cardholder with an automated telephone call just as quickly as an SMS, and then enables them to either verify the transaction on the spot or speak to a call centre agent if they consider it to be fraudulent."

Become a bobsguide member to access the following

1. Unrestricted access to bobsguide
2. Send a proposal request
3. Insights delivered daily to your inbox
4. Career development