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Security features of Mastercard credit cards

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?

woman's hand with a gold credit card

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:mastercard cc logo

  • 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.

Compare Mastercard credit cards

Rates last updated February 17th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$45 p.a.
A no-frills card with a competitive annual fee, a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$149 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Get 70,000 bonus Qantas points when you meet the spend criteria and 30,000 more after the first year (100,000 total). Ends 28 February 2019.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
17.99% p.a.
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
Bendigo Bank Platinum Rewards Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
$89 p.a.
Earn 1.5 Bendigo Rewards points per $1 spent. Receive complimentary insurance covers, plus, access to Mastercard Priceless Cities.
ME frank Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
A low rate credit card that doesn't charge an annual fee.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Platinum Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$89 p.a.
Offers premium features such as mobile phone and tablet insurance and purchase protections, plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
21.99% p.a.
4.99% p.a. for 6 months
$0 p.a.
No annual fee to pay ever and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Emirates Citi World Mastercard
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 9 months
$149 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Receive up to 60,000 bonus Skywards Miles and pay half the annual fee for the first year.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Pay 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 6 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
Latitude Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$69 p.a.
Offers a competitively low interest rate and annual fee, plus up to 55 interest-free days on purchases
Bendigo Bank Qantas Platinum Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
$149 p.a.
Earn Qantas Points on eligible spend, plus enjoy 180 days of comprehensive travel insurance and extended warranty on purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

Pictures: Shutterstock.

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Jeremy Cabral

Jeremy is a publisher for finder.com.au, he is also a personal finance all-rounder specialising in: Credit Cards, Savings Accounts, Personal Loans, Home Loans & Online Shopping.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    fakrulAugust 21, 2016

    Could i transection from foreign country by a mastercard?

    • finder Customer Care
      LouAugust 22, 2016Staff

      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.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  2. Default Gravatar
    chidiebereMay 2, 2016

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

    • finder Customer Care
      YsaMay 3, 2016Staff

      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.

      Cheers,
      Ysa

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