Millions of Australians with credit and debit cards will be forced to use a PIN when they make payments as card scheme operators aim to phase out signatures as a means of verification from early next year.
Visa and MasterCard have written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission outlining their plan and seeking authorisation under the cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act.
Under the proposed plan, regulation will be amended so that from March 17 next year merchant terminals will be required to enforce PINs on eligible transactions. From June 30, signatures will no longer be accepted.
According to Visa a MasterCard, about 45 percent of cardholders do not use PINs when they make payments so millions of Australians are set to be impacted by the move.
Visa says the biggest benefit of the move would be to improve card security. It said card fraud was rising in Australia and one of the problems is that point-of-sale staff at many stores did not check signatures.
Latest research from the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) shows that last year more than $270 million was stolen or defrauded via non-cash payment methods.
Tips to protect against card fraud
To ensure you are always protected, follow these simple tips to avoid becoming a victim of debit or credit card fraud
- Don’t send your card number via email
- When shopping online, check the website has an “s” after the http in the address bar. This means the site uses protective encryption technology to relay your information across the internet. Also look for a closed padlock in the address bar
- Never access a website by clicking on a link in an email
- Avoid using public computers – for example, internet cafes and libraries – for internet banking
- Consider using a phishing filter to warn you of suspicious websites
- If your card is lost or stolen, notify your bank immediately. It can block your card to prevent other people using it. If you're heading overseas, make sure you have the global emergency number
- Notify your bank when you change address to ensure your bank statements don’t fall in the wrong hands
- Check your credit card statements regularly, to refute any unauthorised charges.
- Ask your bank for a PIN on your credit card – PINs are more secure than signatures.
- Finally, don’t wait until a fraud occurs to read up about an institution’s fraud prevention and recovery information, instead do this at the time of comparing credit cards and debit cards and before you apply – this information will be easy to find on the individual banks’ websites.