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Mar 22, 2013, 12.21 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Be prudent while using internet for online transactions

The penetration of internet and wide acceptance of credit cards have led to change in the ways we transact. Today, we are more comfortable and find more convenient to transact online.

Rajiv Raj
www.creditvidya.com

The penetration of internet and wide acceptance of credit cards have led to change in the ways we transact. Today, we are more comfortable and find more convenient to transact online. And we don’t need experts or studies to prove that electronic payments are the future. However, just as our transactions and dependency on the internet and plastic money have increased, so also in a limited sense our susceptibility to be conned has increased. Take the recent case of credit cards fraud that happened in Mumbai and the USA.

 In the wake of these events, the government was quite prompt enough to announce steps to prevent recurrence of such events. Last week the Minister of State for Finance, Namo Narain Meena stated in the Lok Sabha that the banks have been advised by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to consider issuing cards with photographs of the cardholders or any other advanced methods to reduce the instances of misuse of lost or stolen cards. The Reserve Bank of India too has come out with detailed security and risk mitigation measures for electronic payment transactions.

According to these measures, by June 30, 2013 all new debit and credit cards to be issued should be only for domestic use unless the customer specifically wants cards for international use. RBI has also asked issuing banks to convert all existing MagStripe cards to EMV Chip card for all customers who have used their cards internationally at least once. More such measures are recommended by RBI to ensure that the instances of fraudulent use of a credit card are brought down. RBI has also come out with detailed measures to offer customers safe and secure electronic payment transactions. But does it assure elimination of crime or miscreants?  

In our world just as the sophistication of transactions goes up, so all the ways and means of breaking the system increase. Hence, do not expect your stay in the financial world to be risk-free. Systems and technologies keep evolving and there is always the need to catch up with them. Banking industry is expected to follow it.

However, you as a cardholder must be careful while dealing in the virtual world. Despite RBI’s umpteen notices and circulars, people still fall prey to emails suggesting statements like ‘You have won a lottery’ and deposit thousands of rupees in the bank accounts of unknown entities. In many cases, to the surprise of many, these are educated people who miss out on some of the basic precautions they should be taking while dealing in the financial world. 

You need to understand credit card transactions are no different from any transaction made online. You have to protect yourself from shenanigans in the financial world. Never share your credit card details with anybody. One golden rule: don’t share vital information on social networking sites and public forums. Such information can land in wrong hands and can be misused to carry out unauthorized transactions. Many times important documents such as bank account statement or the photocopies of such documents reach wrong hands and as a consequence, they become victims of identity theft. To prevent occurrence of such untoward incidences you have to take these precautions.
 
In addition to this, you can also check your CIBIL report at regular interval say every six months. If there is enquiry made for loans in your name which you have not initiated, or some new credit facility approved on your loan which you have not applied for, you come to know about it. In such cases, you can take up the issue with the banks concerned. Also, you can keep a record of the communication of your banks to you. Any changes in the account statement such as change of address etc should be promptly brought to the notice of the bank. If your bank is keen to offer you an EMV chip card, please go for one. After these recent guidelines by the RBI, it is believed that banks may revamp their credit card product offering. In this process, it is better to keep track of the communication sent by the bank and upgrade yourself to the secure offerings.

The writer is a Co-founder & Director at  www.creditvidya.com

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