Security features of Mastercard credit cards

Information verified correct on May 1st, 2017

Learn how Mastercard credit cards have been designed for your protection and peace of mind.

Mastercard provides the payment network and technology that processes payments between banks and merchants. Each Mastercard credit card is independently issued by a bank or other provider and operates under the regulations of that bank.

But these cards still fall under the Mastercard scheme, which is designed to help keep your card and account safe. Here, we look at the security features that are typical of Mastercard credit cards in Australia.

What security features come with Mastercard credit cards?

These are the main security features and services provided by Mastercard credit cards:

  • Chip technology. A chip is embedded inside each credit card to enhance payment security. This chip creates unique data with each new transaction, and it also makes counterfeiting much more difficult.
  • Zero liability policy. This policy protects you from unauthorised transactions made in-store, online, on your mobile or over the phone. You will not be held liable for payments made by someone else using your credit card as long as you’ve taken reasonable care to protect it from loss and theft, and as long as you also promptly report any loss or theft to your card company.
  • Identity theft resolution. Mastercard provides a 24-hour service to help you resolve identity theft via its toll-free hotline (1800 120 113 in Australia). Its certified resolution specialists will help you notify the relevant credit bureau, cancel your compromised card and arrange for its replacement.
  • SecureCode. SecureCode is an optional service provided by some card issuers that helps enhance the security of online transactions when you’re shopping at participating online stores. This is an extra step at checkout that sends you a code (usually via SMS) which you must enter before the purchase can be processed. Note: This is only available for some cards and on certain websites.
  • Tokenisation. Tokenisation is a way of translating chip technology into the online environment. By replacing each Mastercard’s card number with a unique token, it reduces fraud relating to digital payments. This applies to online and mobile payments as well as contactless payments.

Are Mastercard credit card contactless payments secure?

This is a common question, especially with contactless payments becoming so commonplace. These are the different ways you can make contactless payments with a Mastercard:

  • PayPass. This service allows you to tap your card to pay at the checkout instead of swiping your card and entering your PIN. You can do this wherever you see the PayPass symbol at checkout. As the card needs to be within 4cm of the card reader, you are in constant control of your card and it never leaves your hands, making it a secure payment option. Even if you accidentally tap more than once, you will only be billed once. For added protection, transactions in excess of $100 will still require you to enter a PIN.
  • Mobile payments. Smartphone technology and apps like Google Wallet and Apple Pay allow you to make contactless payments from your mobile phone or other smart devices. As well as offering the same security features as PayPass, these apps and devices all have their own layers of security. Both these cardless payment methods are also covered by Mastercard’s zero liability policy and tokenisation process.

Other credit card security features

Other security features may also be provided depending on the type of Mastercard you hold and your card issuer. These could include:

  • Physical card details. Your unique credit card number, three-digit CVV security code, signature panel, hologram and account name on the card all combine to help keep it secure. The CVV, in particular, adds a layer of security to online transactions.
  • Expiry date. Credit cards expire at regular intervals so as to reduce the risk of fraud. When your card expires, a new card is sent to you with updated details, including a new card number and expiry date.
  • Fraud monitoring services. Many card providers have specialised teams dedicated to monitoring cardholder activity for fraud, and any irregular transactions are immediately detected and investigated. This is why you may sometimes receive a call or text from your card company to verify that it was you who made a transaction.
  • Chargebacks. Chargebacks can be requested if a transaction has been fraudulent, processed in error (e.g. processed twice at checkout), or if the purchased goods were not received. In these instances, your card provider may initiate a dispute with a merchant to reverse the transaction.

With these intelligent safeguards in place for your protection, Mastercard transactions are lower-risk. Making sure you also try to keep your personal security in check and always contacting your credit card company as soon as you suspect there’s an issue will also help keep your account safe. But in the event that a security issue does arise, you can also remain confident that you won’t be held liable for unauthorised or fraudulent activity.

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Images: Shutterstock.

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4 Responses to Security features of Mastercard credit cards

  1. Default Gravatar
    fakrul | August 21, 2016

    Could i transection from foreign country by a mastercard?

    • Staff
      Anndy | August 22, 2016

      Hi Fakrul,

      Thanks for your comment.

      MasterCard credit cards find acceptance in most countries around the world. You can use a MasterCard credit card at any ATM or EFTPOS terminal that displays the MasterCard logo. Please note that international transaction fees may apply.


  2. Default Gravatar
    chidiebere | May 2, 2016

    please, what is CSC on master card?
    How can i validate my master card

    • Staff
      Ysa | May 3, 2016

      Hi Chidiebere,

      MasterCard credit card numbers usually begin with an issuer identification number (IIN). This IIN, ranging from 50-55, is also used to determine the financial institution who is issuing its cards through a card network, such as MasterCard.

      On the side note, you’ll be able to find the three-digit card security code (CSC) on the back of the card, typically printed on the signature panel and after the card number.

      I hope this helps.


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