More debit cards add "on/off" capability


For much of the past year, the main security discussion around debit and credit cards revolved around EMV, which will slowly make in-roads and hopefully reduce card-related fraud. But "on/off" switches for debit cards is another security technology that making slow gains.

Think of it as a personal kill switch that users can control if they suspect their card or card information has been misappropriated. Tiny Centier Bank, of Kentucky, which has taken the plunge on this nascent technology, thinks it will be a hit with customers.

It works like this: Users simply "toggle a switch in the app to disable the card and can also conveniently re-activate the card." This allows customers to "immediately deactivate" misplaced debit cards or cards that the customers thinks has been compromised somehow. For as long as debit cards have been around, banks and bank customers alike have consistently focused on protecting themselves by adequately managing potential fraud," said Bob Buhle, senior partner at Centier Bank. "We are giving our mobile customers an extra layer of protection that they can fully control themselves. This functionality allows them to respond quickly to a potentially lost or stolen card, significantly reducing the possibility of fraudulent transactions and other inconveniences."

The concept seems to be heating up at the vendor level. Centier embraced a solution from Computer Services. Diebold has developed a feature that allows card users to essentially turn off the card using simple text commands. Other companies have devised other ways to turn cards off. Some experimental cards hold on/off button. Others allow users to punch a code directly into the card to turn it off.

Going forward, we'll likely see this feature become standard, with the mobile app approach helping lead the way.

For more:
- here's the release

Related articles:
Card security: Time for an on-off switch

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