Barclays Gives Users Total Control Over Debit in Effort to Stop Card Fraud

Will giving customers more direct control over their debit cards stop fraud? Barclays is optimistic.

Barclays customers now have the ability to shut the remote spending (online or mobile) function of their debit card, the bank announced today. Barclays bets the feature will help halt card fraud; about 25% of the U.K. population has experienced fraud in the past three years, according to the bank.

The announcement is part of Barclays’ new digital security campaign—dubbed “The Great British Fraud Fightback”—a £10 million initiative aimed to increase consumer awareness of digital financial fraud risk within the United Kingdom.

Users can set up an ATM withdrawal limit from the bank’s mobile app, or  “toggle ‘off’ and ‘on’ the ability to make remote purchases, putting an instant block on the ability to make any internet, in-app, mail order and telephone transactions,” a spokesperson for Barclays told Bank Innovation.

Will this ability further protect consumers against fraud?

Possibly, but adding better consumer authentication methods might have been even more beneficial, Madeline Aufseeser, CEO of fraud prevention company Tender Armor, told Bank Innovation:

It’s great that Barclay’s is investing in fraud prevention initiatives and consumer awareness. £10 million is a significant investment. It would be even better knowing the bank dedicated portions of the investment to stronger consumer authentication methods.

Approaches such as dynamic dual-factor authentication services are true prevention techniques going beyond basic card control services which limit exposure but do not prevent fraud.

The bank’s “card control” offering—a “first” for a major U.K. bank, according to company statements—effectively allows consumers to decide when their debit card is a debit card, and when it’s a useless bit of plastic. However, when a consumer does make a remote purchase, it still works like a normal debit card in the same spaces, where fraud prevention depends on online security measures Barclays has in place.

Aside from its debit announcement, Barclays’ £10 million will be used for a nationwide advertising campaign concerning fraud. The bank will also host “regular fraud awareness takeovers on its online and mobile banking sites” in order to promote better financial awareness among its users.

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