Consumers still lax on bank card pin security

South Africans are largely still too lax when it comes to observing the primary banking safety measure of keeping their PIN codes safe, according to a research commissioned by Visa and FNB. And yet being vigilant when it comes to bank card PIN security is the best way to defeat card fraud, said the study.

The findings of the study were released ahead of the 9th annual Card Security Week marked for 22 – 26 April and enabled by Visa and FNB. The aim of the week is to help prevent card fraud by creating greater awareness amongst consumers and alert users to areas where they may be exposed to fraud.

Respondents who took part in an online survey revealed that just over 50% of bank card users keep their PIN confidential while 38% of the respondents admitted that one other person knows their PIN. 20% of all respondents said they have written down their PIN, creating a high risk of card fraud.

“Our customers show high levels of vigilance in some areas, but in other areas, we believe that greater consumer awareness can further reduce card fraud,” said Johan Maree, CEO of FNB Credit Card.

“Consumers should be most vigilant when transacting online in a card-not-present purchase and when their cards could be skimmed and cloned in a retail or ATM transaction,” said Maree. “It’s important to keep your card in sight whenever possible and regularly check amounts that have gone off your card.”

“PIN-enabled transactions are considered to be authorised by the card-holder – as your PIN number is unique, and should not be shared. Should a dispute arise on a ATM withdrawal or a purchase at a point of sale and a PIN has been used, FNB will consider this a legitimate transaction. The incident will be investigated to determine if the card has been cloned. If there was no skimming or card cloning, FNB will not refund the customer.  PIN security is something each customer should make a priority, as your PIN is your “first-line” of defence against card fraud,” says Maree.

Bryce Thorrold, Visa Head of Country Risk Management for Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “Card fraud is a reality facing South African consumers but we continuously monitor card fraudsters around the world to ensure we are up to date with their methods of obtaining customer information.”

Skimming and cloning remains the biggest card fraud threat to customers, from FNB’s perspective.  Customers are urged to take care when transacting or when at an ATM. Fraudsters will try to distract them in order to obtain their card for a few seconds to skim details on the magnetic stripe, they then view customers entering their PINs.

Thorrold said “A zero-tolerance stance towards all types of card fraud is a key commitment for both FNB and Visa. Both companies remain committed to seeking solutions that protect individuals against these.”

“FNB is driving greater card usage and cashless transactions by making card purchases free.

With cards being recognised as a safe and low-cost way to complete transactions, FNB has also implemented behind-the-scenes security measures on customer accounts and has large investigations teams in both its credit and debit card businesses to support customers.  FNB’s fraud department is contactable on 087 575 9444.  All Visa cardholders can obtain 24-hour assistance at its Global Customer Care Assistance line at 0800 990 475, where reported cases will be seen to immediately.

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