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Discover boosts security with mobile-enabled account-freezing tool

Discover takes mobile management for credit cards to a new level with Freeze It, a tool enabling cardholders to instantly stop purchases on their account from their smartphone when a card is misplaced and just as easily reinstate purchasing once it is found.

While the tool is available on desktop and over the phone, a new television ad showcasing Freeze It underscores its importance to the on-the-go consumers. In the ad, a woman enjoying a night out with a friend realizes her Discover card is missing from her wallet and quickly turns off the account using her smartphone.

“Security is a top priority for us as well as our cardmembers and Freeze ItS is an expansion of our security platform,” said Julie Loeger, senior vice president of marketing at Discover. “This new feature empowers cardmembers who have misplaced their card by putting the control in their hands to prevent unauthorized new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers within seconds using their mobile device.

“So when a cardmember misplaces their card, whether they think they left it at a restaurant, in the pocket of different coat or it possibly fell under the seat of their car, they can Freeze their account and have peace of mind that they are preventing new unauthorized transactions,” she said.

On ice
Discover claims to be the only major credit card issuer to provide the free Freeze It feature on mobile and online.

With the service, Discover will also send alerts to cardholders if a transaction is declined while their accounts are frozen.

Additionally, some account activity continues even once an account has been frozen, such as bills marked as recurring by the merchants, returns and rewards redemptions.

To take advantage of Freeze It via the mobile app or online, cardholders must register their card with Discover. To use Freeze It, users can log into the Discover app, navigate to their account section and tap the Freeze button. Once this has been done, users will see a message notifying them that their account has been frozen.

When cardholders find their card, they can navigate to the same area of the app to unfreeze their account.

Mobile conveniences
The Freeze It tool addresses consumers’ concerns regarding unauthorized charges that can happen when a card is stolen or lost.

Typically, a cardholder is required to call a customer service representative to report a card lost and have purchasing capabilities turned off. This process can take minutes to complete, during which time unauthorized charges could be occurring if the card has fallen into the wrong hands.

Thanks to the ease and convenience of smartphones – which consumers typically carry with them everywhere – Discover is able to remove valuable minutes from the process of turning off a card, thereby saving consumers the headache of having unwanted charges removed from their account.

If cardholders believe their credit cards are permanently lost or stolen, they can call Discover and receive a new card and account number.

Freeze It joins other mobile services for Discover cardholders, including text alerts when a purchase is made over a cardholder-selected threshold.

Freezing time
In the TV ad promoting Freeze It, the woman’s whose card has been misplaced not only freezes purchases but also the world around her by tapping on her mobile phone screen. This enables her to go back into the bar and find her card, at which point she unfreezes the card and the world returns to life. When an annoying guy in a bar comes up to her, she uses the phone to freeze him.

“Discover is a direct banking company so mobile plays a big role in how our cardmembers engage with us,” Ms. Loeger said. “Specifically, mobile accounts for nearly 40 percent of logins at Discover.

“We have a significant and growing population of users that use only our mobile app to interact with us,” she said. “We ranked highly in the 2014 Javelin Mobile Banking Leaders report, receiving the highest app ranking.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York