debit card fraud

Debit card fraud protection services comparison

What security measures do the big banks have in place to stop you becoming a victim of debit card fraud? Let’s take a look.

Becoming a victim of debit card fraud is a nasty and unpleasant experience. Unfortunately an increasing number of Australians are becoming familiar bank account fraud. According to the Australian Payments Clearing Association, the total value of card fraud in Australia increased by 33% in 2014 to $387 million. While that figure represents just the 0.06% of the more than $650 million made on Australian payment cards that were actually fraudulent, it still shows that fraud can be an expensive risk for Australian banks and their customers.

Over the six years since 2009, the payment card fraud rate has risen from 33.7 to 58.8 cents for every $1,000 spent. With this in mind, what is your bank doing to ensure that you don’t become a victim of debit card fraud?

To find out what your bank is doing to keep your money and your personal details safe, let’s take a closer look at the fraud protection services of Australia’s ‘big four’ banks.

Big four debit card fraud protection services comparison

BankName of defence featureOther security features
NABNAB Defence
  • Verified by Visa
  • Mastercard SecureCode
  • Enhanced security chip
Find out more
Commonwealth BankCommonwealth Bank Security
  • Netcode
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee
  • Enhanced security chip
Find out more
  • ANZ Fraud Money Back Guarantee
  • Verified by Visa
  • Enhanced security chip
Find out more
WestpacWestpac Protect
  • Westpac Protect Security Guarantee
  • Westpac Protect SMS Code
  • Enhanced security chip
Find out more

NAB Defence

NAB’s fraud protection service is known as NAB Defence. Wherever you see the NAB Defence logo, NAB has measures in place to protect you against fraud. The bank monitors your accounts and any high-risk transactions to detect any irregular activity. If any suspicious transactions are detected, NAB will inform you of this and then investigate the potential fraud.

If you’re a victim of fraud, NAB also guarantees to reimburse you any funds that are taken out of your account. Of course, you’ll need to make sure to responsibly manage your account and notify NAB as soon as possible after noticing any suspicious activity on your account.

NAB also allows its customers to enjoy increased security when shopping online with their NAB debit card using Verified by Visa and Mastercard SecureCode.

Compare NAB transaction accounts below

Rates last updated November 25th, 2017
Name Product Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Monthly Account Fee Product Description
NAB Classic Banking
$0 monthly account fees.
Tap and pay with your NAB Visa Debit card, NAB Pay for Android or NAB PayTag for iPhone.
NAB Gold Banking
Enjoy unlimited access to your money with no service charge plus no fee for transactions in foreign currencies.
NAB Personal Overdrafts
Whenever you need a little extra money now and then.
NAB Retirement Account
A retirement account with easy access to your money.

Compare up to 4 providers

Commonwealth Bank Security

Commonwealth Bank debit cardholders are protected by a range of security and detection devices. The bank uses advanced security and fraud detection systems to monitor customer accounts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These systems are designed to detect any abnormal transactions or spending patterns and Commonwealth Bank’s telephone alert system means the bank can contact you within seconds of any potentially fraudulent activity being detected.

Other security features of Commonwealth Bank debit cards include:

  • Enhanced security chips. All new Mastercard and Visa cards from CommBank feature secure chip technology, making it much more difficult for thieves to copy the details of your card.
  • NetCode. Part of NetBank, CommBank’s internet banking service, NetCode is designed to guarantee safe and secure online shopping. It can be used to authorise particular transactions or activities on websites authorised by Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode. This service offers the security and simplicity of using one-time passwords for many of your online transactions.
  • 100% money back guarantee. Commonwealth Bank will reimburse you for 100% of any fraudulent transactions that take place on your card. However, you will need to make sure that you comply with the bank’s debit card conditions of use in order to take advantage of this money back guarantee – for example, you must contact the bank straight away when you think there has been an unauthorised transaction on your account. Plus, you can’t have contributed to the cost.

Compare Commonwealth Bank bank accounts below

Rates last updated November 25th, 2017
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
Commonwealth Bank Business Transaction Account
Open business transaction account in less than 10 minutes.
Visa $0 $0 $10 flat monthly account fee. Unlimited free withdrawals at CommBank ATMs in Australia. Go to site More
Commonwealth Bank Smart Access
Get unlimited CBA electronic transactions using internet banking, phone banking, ATM and EFTPOS.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $4 fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at CBA ATMs. More
Commonwealth Bank Pensioner Security Account
A flexible transaction account that keeps your retirement savings at work.
Mastercard $0.50 $50,000 Access to over 4,000 ATMs and 1,000 branches. More
Commonwealth Bank Streamline Basic
Eligible if you hold a Commonwealth Seniors card, Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care card.
Mastercard $0 $0 Eligible if you hold a Commonwealth Seniors card, Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care card. More

ANZ Falcon

Debit card security for ANZ customers is provided by ANZ Falcon. All ANZ credit and debit cards are backed by Falcon 24/7 fraud monitoring, which is designed to automatically detect any suspicious spending activity on your card. If Falcon detects any unusual activity on your account, ANZ will contact you immediately to check whether the transaction is okay or if something is wrong.

If the bank is unable to get in touch with you, it may block access to the account until you are able to confirm the details of the transaction. With this in mind, it’s always important to inform ANZ when you are travelling overseas – if the bank doesn’t know you’re abroad, it may suspect that overseas transactions on your card are fraudulent and block your account.

ANZ also implements several other security measures to help keep your money safe, including:

  • ANZ Fraud Money Back Guarantee. If you suffer a loss due to a fraudulent transaction on your ANZ debit card, the bank will reimburse you for the loss. However, you must not have contributed to the loss in any way, and you must have promptly notified ANZ of the fraud.
  • Security microchips. All ANZ debit cards feature embedded security microchips that make it harder for debit card details to be fraudulently copied by scammers and thieves. Contactless cards also use the latest encryption technology for increased protection.
  • Verified by Visa. These free services from the major debit card providers offer extra protection against unauthorised card use at participating merchants. The first time you use your ANZ card to shop at a participating merchant, you will be asked to enrol with your name, date of birth and card information. You can then follow the instructions to enjoy increased security.
  • Online security tips. ANZ also offers a range of tips and security alerts to help you keep your card details safe and avoid common scams, while encryption is used for online transactions to ensure that your details are protected.

Compare ANZ bank accounts below

Rates last updated November 25th, 2017
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
ANZ Access Advantage
Apple Pay, Android Pay & ANZ Mobile Pay.
Take advantage of Apple Pay by linking your ANZ Visa Debit card to an eligible iPhone and seamlessly pay for purchases with your phone.
Visa $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at ANZ ATMs. Go to site More
ANZ Access Advantage with ANZ Seniors Privilege
If you're over 60 years of age and receive Centrelink or Veteran's allowance, you can benefit from a ANZ Access Seniors Privilege.
Visa $0 $2,000 No monthly fee and unlimited access to ANZ ATMs Phone and Internet Banking, plus branch, cheque and EFTPOS. More

Westpac Protect

If you have a Westpac debit card, the bank also uses a 24/7 fraud monitoring service to keep track of every transaction and check for any suspicious activity. If an unusual or irregular transaction is detected, Westpac’s fraud specialists will contact you to confirm the transaction.

The bank also offers an Online Transaction Security Guarantee so that customers will not be liable for any fraudulent online transaction; however, the guarantee only applies if you notify Westpac of the transaction before the due date shown on your debit card statement.

Some of the other security measures Westpac has in place include:

  • Chip technology. All new Westpac cards feature securely embedded chips that provide added protection. These chips contain your personal data and make it much more difficult for thieves to access your details than the old-fashioned method of storing data on the strip on the back of the card.
  • Safer online shopping. Enjoy increased security when you use your Visa debit card to shop online at a retailer authorised by Verified by Visa, your Mastercard at a merchant authorised by Mastercard SecureCode, or your Amex at a merchant registered with American Express SafeKey.
  • Westpac Protect Security Guarantee. If you’re a victim of internet fraud that affects your Westpac account, Westpac guarantees to refund you for any loss. However, you’ll need to make sure that you comply with Westpac’s online banking terms and conditions, including making sure that your sign-in details remain private.
  • Westpac Protect SMS Code. Westpac Protect also operates an SMS code authorisation system to let you confirm online transactions and provide extra security.

Compare Westpac bank accounts below

Rates last updated November 25th, 2017
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
Westpac Choice
$0 ATM withdrawal fee at 50,000+ ATMs globally.
Via Westpac's Global ATM Alliance. Get Cash without your debit card (conditions apply).
Mastercard $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at St.George, Westpac, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
Westpac Choice – for migrants
Suitable if you're arriving in Australia within 12 months and intend to make a deposit within 6 months.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees for the first year, then a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at St.George, Westpac, BankSA or Bank of Melbourne ATMs in Australia. Go to site More

What to do if you think you’re a victim of debit card fraud

Finding out that you’ve been a victim of debit card fraud is a truly angering experience. The discovery of an unexplained transaction on your debit card statement can be enough to send you into a panic, so it’s important that you stay calm and follow a few simple steps to take control and prevent any further loss of money.

  1. Contact your bank straight away. Check your card statement regularly to verify all transactions. If you notice any suspicious transactions, contact your bank immediately.
  2. Stop your card. The bank will stop your debit card and issue you with a new one.
  3. Record the fraud. Your bank should work with you to investigate the fraud. Your bank will create a record of the fraud that contains a list of any fraudulent transactions on your account.
  4. Investigation. The bank will complete its investigation of the fraud to determine exactly what happened. If you have been a victim of fraud and you adhered to all of the bank’s terms and conditions, you’ll be reimbursed for any loss you have suffered.

Tips to prevent becoming a victim of debit card fraud

Although the banks have plenty of measures in place to ensure that your money and your identity are protected, there are still plenty of common sense tips to keep in mind to ensure that you never become a debit card fraud statistic.

  • Sign here. Make sure to sign a new or replacement debit card as soon as you receive it.
  • PIN (personal identification number) privacy. When paying for purchases, use a PIN instead of your signature wherever possible as this is a much safer method of payment.
  • Protecting your PIN. Don’t choose a PIN that anyone else will be able to easily guess, and make sure never to tell anyone else what your PIN is. When entering your PIN at a retailer, make sure to cover your hand.
  • Keep an eye on your card. Don’t let a merchant take your debit card out of your sight to complete payment – either have them bring the payment machine to you or accompany them to it.
  • Know your numbers. If possible, keep a list of your debit card numbers somewhere secure. This can come in very handy if your card is lost or stolen.
  • Watch out for scammers. If you receive unsolicited emails or phone calls from strangers requesting personal information or debit card details, don’t be fooled into giving up your card information.
  • Be wary of public computers. Public computers are common targets for hackers and scammers, so avoid providing your debit card details when using any computer other than your home PC.
  • Cut it out. When you need to dispose of a card, use scissors to cut the card up before disposing of it.
  • Know what to do. Make sure you’re aware of what you need to do when you think you might be a victim of fraud. Knowing how to get in touch with your bank as quickly as possible is the best way to prevent any further loss.
  • Update your contact details. Make sure your bank has all your current contact details so they can quickly get in touch with you if they detect any suspicious activity on your account.

Shirley Liu

Shirley Liu is a program manager at finder, formerly the publisher for Banking and Investments. She is passionate about helping people make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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