Security features of Mastercard credit cards
From 24-hour support to data encryption, find out how Mastercard helps protect you from credit card fraud and security issues.
If your credit card carries a Mastercard logo on it, that means that every transaction you make is processed through the Mastercard payment network. As one of the largest payment processing companies in the world (Visa being the other big player here), Mastercard also works closely with banks and other credit card providers to make sure your account stay safe.
So, let's take a look at exactly what features and services Mastercard offers to protect you against theft and fraud issues.
Need help with your Mastercard now?
If your Mastercard credit card has been lost, stolen or hacked, call Mastercard Australia's 24/7 security service on 1800 120 113. If you're overseas, visit the Mastercard global services page for a list of toll-free numbers for different countries – or call collect to the United States on +1 636 722 7111.
What security features are available on Mastercard credit cards?
- Chip technology. The microchip that is embedded in your credit card encrypts the sensitive data that's needed to make in-person payments. Compared to cards that only have a magnetic stripe, this technology makes it harder for the card to be copied or counterfeited. However, you do need to insert the card for transactions in order to get the full benefits of the chip technology.
- Contactless security. Every time you tap and pay with your Mastercard, encryption protects your transaction data. This encryption is unique for each transaction and also helps protect your contactless mobile payments. The fact that you can tap to pay without handing over your card also makes it difficult for the card to be skimmed or copied.
- SecureCode. This is an optional service that offers added security for online purchases. When Mastercard SecureCode is available, you will be sent a code (usually via SMS), asked a security question or prompted to enter a pre-chosen password before the payment is processed. This step helps verify that you are making the purchase and, by extension, also reduces the risk of unauthorised transactions. Note: Mastercard SecureCode is only available for some cards and on certain websites. You may also need to register your card through your bank's website to activate SecureCode.
- Tokenisation. While chip technology encrypts your card data for in-person transactions, tokenisation offers a similar type of security for online transactions. This technology replaces your Mastercard credit card's 16-digit number with a unique alternate number that's known as a "token". Put another way: when tokenisation is used, your card's details cannot be stored, hacked or compromised. Tokenisation can be used for online transactions, in-app purchases and in-person mobile payments.
What if my Mastercard credit card is lost, stolen or used for fraud?
If your account is compromised, it's important to contact both your credit card provider and Mastercard as quickly as possible. While it is easy to panic when your account is compromised, be aware that there are services that help protect both your money and your identity. With a Mastercard credit card, this includes:
- Zero liability policy. This policy helps protects you from unauthorised transactions made in-person, online, on your mobile or over the phone. You will not be held liable for payments made by someone else using your Mastercard credit card, as long as you have kept your card details safe and reported any theft, loss or suspicious activity to your credit card provider as soon as possible.Basically, if your account is used for fraud and you've kept it safe, this policy means you'll be refunded for the amount that was taken.
- Mastercard Global Services. Mastercard's 24/7 phone service offers support when your card is lost, stolen or compromised – no matter where you are in the world. This includes:
- Notifying your provider within 15 minutes of when you report a card as missing.
- Emergency card replacement anywhere in the world, usually within 48 hours.
- Emergency cash advance in the local currency, which is usually available within 2 hours.
It also offers an ATM-location service, access to account information and access to any relevant card benefits (such as Priceless Cities offers).
To reach Mastercard Global Services in Australia, call 1800 120 113. If you're overseas, you can call collect to the US number on +1 636 722 7111. Alternatively, you can download the Global Emergency Contacts list (.pdf) to find numbers by country or location.
Other credit card security features
Depending on your bank or provider, you could also have some access to a range of other credit card security features, including:
- 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.
Both Mastercard and your credit card provider offer security measures and support services that can help keep your account and details safe from fraud or other issues. But, if something does happen, letting Mastercard and your credit card provider know straight away will help you get it sorted as quickly as possible.
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