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Reduce loss by stolen debit or credit cards

Any idea on how much your wallet (+mobile) could be worth (generally speaking) keeping apart the liquid cash? - 60 k (credit card) + 25 k (debit card) + 5 k (calls using mobile SIM) = Rs.80000. So if someone gets hold of it and you don't become aware of it immediately, you could be robbed upto 80 K in a single day. Here are some neat tricks on minimizing the loss due to stolen debit/credit cards:

  1. Insure: Debit card can be used at merchandise stores for shopping. Regular ICICI debit cards could be used for shopping upto 25k in a single day. ICICI debit cards (and probably other Indian Visa debit cards) are insured upto 25k in case of accidental misuse ( Similarly Credit Cards could be insured as well (I believe certain credit cards such as the ICICI Platinum card are insured upto a certain amount by default).
  2. PIN: Certain debit cards (such as those provided by SBH & SBI and maybe others which have Maestro Logo) As per mandate passed by RBI, all debit cards need to have the Debit Card PIN entered in order to authorize the purchase at POS. This adds a additional layer of difficulty to use a stolen card.
  3. Chip (and PIN): Credit cards offered by leading banks now can have a secure chip embedded in them which makes it really difficult to counterfit them. Further, they are protected by a PIN which is required to be entered on the terminal for making transactions at merchant outlets. This makes it extremely secure.
  4. Mobile Alerts: You could subscribe for mobile phone alerts for your debit or credit card. For ex., whenever a purchase of Rs.2000 or greater is made using my ICICI debit card, I immediately get an alert on my mobile.
  5. Credit Limit: Limit on credit cards can be reduced by contacting customer care. For instance, I got the limit on my ICICI credit card reduced from 60 K to 5 k. The reason being I never make any unplanned purchase greater than 5 k and if I ever decide to make a purchase greater than 5 k, I could use my add-on credit card.
    Similar to credit card, the limit on your SIM could be reduced as well. For ex., the total cost of my calls never crossed Rs.1000. So I decided to have the limit on my Airtel SIM reduced from Rs.5000 to Rs.1500.
  6. Verified By Visa / MasterCard SecureCode: For online purchases, you can now have an extra level of authentication by signing up for Verified By Visa / MasterCard SecureCode services. However, I have observed that while I was always asked to enter a PIN for purchases made via Indian payment gateways, I was never prompted for any PIN for international transactions. My guess is that, this has been mandated by RBI for only Indian payment gateways or Indian merchants.
  7. Block upon Loss: And the most important thing to remember whenever you lose a debit/credit/mobile, is to call up the concerned customer care and inform them immediately to block it. So always keep certain information such as customer care phone no. and your account number easily accessible (you could perhaps store this information in your mobile).
    There might be an additional cost for issuing a new card later but it would be very less compared to what could potentially be lost if the current card is misused.

Following these tips, I believe you could relax in case you are forgetful like me :).


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