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Wells Fargo, Visa partner on SMS alerts for cardholders

LAS VEGAS – Wells Fargo & Co. and Visa Inc. announced at CTIA that the companies have partnered to launch Rapid Alerts for Wells Fargo Visa credit cardholders.

The free service helps consumers better manage and track their spending while providing them with near real-time detection of potentially fraudulent activity. Rapid Alerts by Wells Fargo are enabled by Visa’s transaction alerts platform.

“When you look at Wells Fargo and Visa, the companies have a history of innovative products and launching them together, from the PayWave contactless card to an NFC pilot in 2007, and we’ve formed another great partnership launching rapid alerts, which leverages Visa technology to assist Wells Fargo customers,” said Peter Ho, vice president and product manager of card services at Wells Fargo, Concord, CA.

“The reason why we were so interested in launching rapid alerts so quickly, it enhances our strategy, helps our customers manage their account more effectively and detect fraud,” he said. “We’re making it free to customers, which fits perfectly with our overall strategy of helping our customers succeed financially.

“It has a pretty broad-based appeal, because with SMS usage you’re no longer looking at just Gen Ys and Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are using text messaging—it’s great for college students and younger users, but we’re also seeing great responses rates from consumers who normally wouldn’t fall into that target demographic.”

Wells Fargo & Co. is a diversified financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,000 stores, 12,000-plus ATMs and the Internet across North America and internationally.

The bank’s mobile portfolio includes a mobile Web site, SMS initiatives and an application for Apple’s iPhone.

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.

Rapid mobile alerts
Alerts are sent on behalf of Wells Fargo directly from VisaNet, Visa’s global processing network, typically within seconds of a transaction occurring.

Rapid Alerts are triggered when the transaction meets certain criteria previously selected by the Wells Fargo Visa account holder and delivered via text message or email.

Rapid Alerts let consumers monitor their Wells Fargo Visa credit card account activity and take immediate action if they believe a potentially fraudulent transaction is taking place.

Rapid Alert messages contain the amount, time and date of the transaction, as well as currency conversion and information relating to the merchant such as name and location.

Rapid Alert messages are designed to help customers track their spending and better manage their finances.

Customers also will be alerted to Wells Fargo Visa credit card payments that are declined, which may also help remind customers of recurring payments that they forgot to update due to a reissued, lost or stolen card.

Wells Fargo Visa credit card customers can sign up for the service by using their Wells Fargo Online Banking log-in credentials at

Customers will be able to choose the kinds of transactions for which they wish to receive alerts.

Criteria for transaction alerts that cardholders may choose include:
• Transactions that exceed a dollar amount 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
• Gasoline transactions

To get the word out about Rapid Alerts, Wells Fargo is sending an email blast out to a good portion of its online and mobile banking customers who have a Wells Fargo Visa credit card, and bank tellers are showcasing the service for customers.

Wells Fargo is also working the new SMS alerts feature into new store pieces, brochures, posters, statement inserts and advertising campaigns.

“What Visa’s role tends to be in innovation is delivering the underlying platform,” said Michele Janes, senior business leader of mobile initiaties at Visa, San Francisco. “Wells Fargo continues to be first-movers with a history of innovations, and it’s great to work to with them on services such as Rapid Alerts.

“Probably every phone in the U.S. market can accept an SMS message, so we said ‘Let’s touch the lowest common denominator of mobile technology so everyone can participate out of the gate,’” she said.