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Visa expands mobile transaction alerts to North America

Global payments technology company Visa has rolled out mobile transaction alerts in North America, letting issuers provide real-time alerts to Visa account holders throughout the United States and Canada.

Visa claims that the service lets consumers better manage and track their spending while providing them with an early warning system for potential fraudulent activities. Alerts are sent on behalf of participating issuers directly from VisaNet, Visa’s global processing network, typically within seconds of a transaction occurring.

“Making Visa’s transaction alerts available to all clients in North America enables more issuers to provide greater financial control to their customers,” said Gerry Sweeney, San Francisco-based head of global commerce and authentication at Visa Inc. “Visa’s alerts-and-notifications platform empowers consumers by enabling them to better manage and track their spending, as well as provide an early-warning system for potential fraudulent activities.

“Value-added services, like alerts and notifications, are part of Visa’s larger strategy to deliver mobile payments and services to consumers around the world, though today’s announcement reflects the ability to send transaction alerts to consumers in a variety of ways, including email, SMS text message or the Visa Mobile application,” he said.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to digital currency.

Mobile alerts
Visa alerts are triggered when the transaction meets certain criteria the account holder has selected and are delivered directly to the account holder via email, text message or the Visa Mobile application.

Visa’s transaction alerts let consumers monitor their accounts for unusual activity and take immediate action if they believe a potentially fraudulent transaction is taking place.

A recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that two out of three American consumers believe that financial alerts are useful and valuable, and that by 2014, 41 percent of online households—62 million—will receive financial alerts.

Banks can build their customers’ confidence and earn their trust by serving up mobile alerts that are timely, simple to set up and easy to manage, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.

Alerts generated while transaction is “in flight”
The alert message sent to account holders contains the amount, time and date of the transaction, as well as information relating to the merchant, such as name and location.

If the transaction appears to be irregular, the account holder can immediately contact their issuer to help stop further transactions on the account.

Transaction alerts are designed to help reduce and mitigate fraud by making consumers aware of charges to their accounts in near real-time.

By identifying potentially fraudulent transactions earlier, consumers and financial institutions can avoid financial losses.

Consumers will be able to subscribe to the service through their participating issuers and opt in to choose the kinds of transactions for which they wish to receive alerts.

Criteria for transaction alerts that Visa cardholders may choose include transactions that exceed the purchase threshold chosen by the cardholder; transactions initiated internationally; card-not-present transactions, such as purchases made online or by telephone; cash withdrawals from an ATM machine; declined transactions; and gasoline transactions.

Cardholders seek availability, increased protection
Over the last year, Visa trialed transaction alerts with eight leading North American financial institutions and more than 2,000 participants.

Results showed that consumer satisfaction increased dramatically with banks that offered account monitoring capabilities and fraud protection via mobile devices, according to Visa.

Visa recently launched an enhanced Visa Mobile application with U.S. Bank following a mobile pilot program.

The application, which is available to select U.S. Bank debit cardholders, can be downloaded to mobile devices and provides account holders with real-time transaction alerts, expanded functionality and an expanded list of U.S. Bank offers.

So how is Visa getting the word out about transaction alerts?

“Visa will continue to include alerts as part of the discussion of the company’s overall mobile offering to consumers,” Mr. Sweeney said.