Tag: credit card payment

Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Fraud

The competition between online merchants is quite high.  There are billions of online companies seeking to sell a wide variety of products and services.  With so many companies and services available, the consumer is left to answer the question of who has the best offer.  A lot of times the answer comes down to one or two factors. 

Method of payment can be a deciding factor when a consumer is making a purchase online.  Most merchants offer a variety of payment methods to the customer.  The most common of these methods offered are credit card and checking account.  Both of these methods have been used for years and are becoming increasingly dangerous.  The credit card and checking account methods of payment are both linked to the consumer’s personal credit information.  This information is highly susceptible to theft.  Customers today are wary of this fact. With each purchase made online using a credit card or checking account, the chances for identity theft increase. 

Here are some staggering stats on credit card fraud from creditcards.com:

  • The number of U.S. identity fraud victims rose 12 percent to 11.1 million adults last year, the highest level since the survey began in 2003. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, “Identity Fraud Survey Report,” February 2010)
  • The average fraud resolution time dropped 30 percent to 21 hours. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, “Identity Fraud Survey Report,” February 2010)
  • Nearly half of fraud victims now file police reports, resulting in double the reported arrests, triple the prosecutions and double the percentage of convictions in 2009. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, “Identity Fraud Survey Report,” February 2010)
  • The number of U.S. identity fraud victims increased 22 percent in 2008 to 9.9 million adults. However, the total annual fraud amount jumped just 7 percent to $48 billion. The report said this is because “consumers and businesses are detecting and resolving fraud more quickly.” (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • Women were 26 percent more likely to be victims of identity fraud than men in 2008. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • 71 percent of fraud incidents “began occurring in less than one week from when the data was first stolen, up from 33 percent in 2005.” (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • “Lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks and credit and debit cards” made up 43 percent of all ID theft incidents in which the “method of access” was known. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • Credit and debit card fraud is the No. 1 fear of Americans in the midst of the global financial crisis. Concern about fraud supersedes that of terrorism, computer and health viruses and personal safety. (Source: Unisys Security Index: United States, March 2009)
  • Arizona leads the nation in identity theft complaints per 100,000 people. In 2008, the state had 149 complaints about ID theft per 100,000 people. California (139.1), Florida (133.3), Texas (130.3) and Nevada (126.0) rounded out the top five. (Source: Federal Trade Commission, February 2009 survey)
  • South Dakota has the fewest identity theft complaints per 100,000 people in the nation. In 2008, the state had 33.8 complaints about ID theft per 100,000 people. North Dakota (35.7), Iowa (44.9), Montana (46.5) and Wyoming (46.9) rounded out the bottom five. (Source: Federal Trade Commission, February 2009 survey)
  • Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas, is the metropolitan area with the largest number of ID theft complaints per 100,000 people. In 2008, the area had 366.8 complaints per 100,000 people. Napa, Calif., was second with 351.3. (Source: Federal Trade Commission, February 2009 survey).

 

Some merchants have taken this information into consideration and are accepting forms of payment, other than the traditional credit card.  Consumers are now able to apply some purchases to their monthly telephone bill.  This method of payment is becoming very popular.  Not only does this method of alternative payment appeal to the person wishing to protect their identity, those without credit cards are now able to participate in online purchasing.  Of those that have never made an online purchase, over thirty percent has been due to the lack of owning a credit card. Merchants wishing to reach out to these customers now accept alternate billing. 

Accepting this alternative method of payment can greatly increase the revenue for a company.  The process is easy to implement.  Consumers feel safe knowing their personal information is secure and are more willing to spend money on what they want when they feel safe.  Merchants are beginning to understand this and adapt in order to please the customer. If the customer is happy, they will return for repeat business and maybe even suggest products or services to others.  The alternative billing through the telephone bill is a win-win situation for both the merchant and consumer.

“Always look on the bright side”, “there’s always something to learn from hardship”, and another favorite expression “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel”.  Just a few positive sayings to keep one’s spirit optimistic in these challenging economic times, right?  Well, while optimism is always important, life’s lessons are equally essential.  Many of us have realized that spending more than we earn can quickly get us in to trouble and have since learned to value non material things.  For lots of Americans, material wealth is not quite as important as we once thought.  These economic conditions have forced many to learn how to live without credit.

This tough lesson has resulted in a 32% increase in bankruptcies in 2009. According to AACER (Automated Access to Court Electronic Records) and the American Bankruptcy Institute, there have been more than 1.4 million consumer bankruptcy filings recorded last year. Even worse, bankruptcies grew by one third between 2007 and 2008.  Right now, we are seeing the highest level since the ’05 reform

“This is now a perfect storm” as 2009 saw house prices fall and unemployment and foreclosure rates rise, says David P. Leibowitz, a bankruptcy attorney and managing member of LakeLaw, headquartered in Waukegan, Ill in an interview with CreditCards.com. But with many credit card companies cutting back on consumers’ spending limits or canceling cards completely, some consumers are becoming financially strapped, Leibowitz says.

In addition to learning these lessons, watching the banking industries recent blunders makes one really think about credit cards and the impact they can have on our own financial future. Survey results published by USA Today and conducted by Auriemma Consulting in July showed that 47% of consumers have less trust for credit card companies compared to a year ago.

Consumers are looking for payment choices; particularly those cashless payment alternatives which offer no interest.  When shopping online, the option to choose alternate payment options, such as PayPal and Bill To Phone are becoming the smartest way to keep the credit card nightmares away.  But like any payment method, there’s good and bad – no interest, no finance charges and simple and easy payment as well as risk of fraud and cramming to the phone bill.  Alternative payment providers, like credit card companies and ILD Teleservices, follow a strict process which begins with conducting comprehensive background checks on merchants prior to billing, requiring documented authorization of each transaction, and offering complaint resolution in cases of unauthorized billing. 

The perfect payment option has yet to be developed, but the shake up of the credit card industry and the resulting financial debacle certainly shows we are moving in a new direction.  Don’t you think?

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1. With an economic downturn in full affect we all find ourselves budgeting. In times of need we need services to be secure, affordable, and simplified. Paying via your phone bill will give you the convenience of receiving one bill at the same time every month, making it easier to budget your expenses.

2. Anyone can be affected by identity theft or online hackers, so using an alternative payment option you do not have to worry about sharing financial information. Eliminate the worries of sharing personal information online to purchase services using other payment methods, like credit cards.

3. Anyone with a home phone can charge certain online services to their home phone bill. With over 150 million landlines in America, this service is available to nearly everyone.

4. How often are you worrying about the next bill coming? With bill to phone, you can consolidate your services, like internet access, long distance, movie rentals and even online gaming onto one bill, saving you the time and stress of multiple bills – all at different times of the month.

5. Do you find it hard to type or remember your credit card number? Finally no more attempts of memorizing the numbers on credit cards. Linking purchases from merchants to your phone bill will eliminate the security issues inherent with sharing credit information, personal information, or other sensitive material.