Wednesday, June 29, 2011

VISA Debit Card Fraud Monitoring

Behind the scenes of every VISA debit transaction, our fraud prevention team is monitoring every transaction and scoring the potential fraud risk associated with each transaction. The fraud prevention system tracks member card activity and looks for unusual changes in card usage behavior or locations. Members may be contacted either by telephone or mail by our Fraud Prevention Center to confirm suspicious transactions. The Fraud Prevention Center telephone number is 1-800-262-2024 which is open nights and weekends. We recently had a member to receive a mailed inquiry about possible suspicious activity on their VISA Debit card from the Fraud Prevention Center. The 1-800-262-2024 telephone was provided in the letter. The member contacted the credit union first to verify that the letter was legitimate and then contacted the Fraud Prevention Center. The member had recently traveled to Gulf Shores and there were a few back to back transactions at a WalMart that appeared suspicious. (Most card users would make one purchase and move out of the store). The Fraud Prevention Center provided all the details of the transactions and asked no confidential information during the member call. No fraud was evident and the potential fraud case was closed.

Key Points: Never provide personal information in response to a fraud inquiry. Our Fraud Prevention Center will just need your name and zip code. They will then provide the details of any suspicious transactions. If you receive a telephone call from 1-800-262-2024 (The Fraud Prevention Center number), inform the caller that you will call them back at the same number since incoming calls can be spoofed (fake) and not actually be the Fraud Prevention Center. The published number for the Fraud Prevention Center is listed on the bottom of our home page at Members are welcome to contact any credit union office location for assistance as well.

There are MANY fraudulent emails, text messages, phone calls, and letters circulating that are designed to steal personal information. Be careful out there!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Interchange Amendment Fails - Canada Example

A replay of the Senate debate on the interchange rate fix legislation was covered last evening. It is disappointing that the final vote failed although we are pleased that both Alabama Senators voted for the bill. We thank Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Jeff Sessions for their support on behalf of Alabama consumers.

Senator Durbin noted in his comments that Canada retailers do not pay any interchange rates, implying that that system is superior to the system in the United States. Perhaps Senator Durbin should have compared the consumer side of the equation in Canada. A quick online search of Canadian credit unions show a considerable increase in the amount of banking fees paid by account holders as compared with credit unions in the United States. Monthly service charges range from $15 to $6, depending upon the type of checking account. Electronic transactions in Canada generally offer 5 to 10 free transactions per month and then a per transaction fee of $1 or more is charged. There were also several examples found where $500 daily electronic transaction limits were in place. This limit is most likely due to minimizing the fraud exposure on behalf of the institution.

It would be interesting to compare retail prices of products on common items sold in Canada as opposed to the United States. Given the fact that interchange rates are not being paid by retailers in Canada, they should be selling their products for a lessor price. My guess is that prices are not that much different though. Certainly not enough to cover the additional banking fees being paid by consumers in Canada.

If credit union members want a glimpse of how interchange rate changes can affect their bottom line, look online at credit unions in Canada and look over their fee schedules. It is unfortunate that Congress did not choose to perform a consumer impact study that would have been required in the interchange fee legislation that was ultimately voted down.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Refer a New Member - Earn $10.00

Membership Months for North Alabama Educators Credit Union is now in effect through September 30th. What does this mean to existing members? Existing members can refer potential new members to North Alabama Educators Credit Union and earn $10.00 for each qualifying new member who opens an account. Some of our best sales people are our own members. Share your good experiences and stories to relatives (any family member of an existing member can join) and encourage them to join the credit union. If you have three children who don't have accounts, that is $30.00 to get them started on a savings plan PLUS you would earn $30.00 as well for referring the new accounts! Membership coupons can be printed out on our web site - CLICK HERE.

Don't forget that friends and co-workers may be eligible to join the credit union as well. The page link above provides a resource for membership eligibility qualifications. As an example, PTA members of sponsor schools are eligible and anyone can become a member of the PTA. All students in the counties of Madison County, Morgan County, and Limestone County are also eligible for credit union membership. There are numerous other eligibility methods.

Become a salesperson for North Alabama Educators Credit Union and earn some green while helping the credit union to continue our membership growth.