Starting this summer, MasterCard will increase the benefits provided to all U.S.-issued credit, debit, prepaid and small business cards. One new perk is an identity theft resolution service that helps cardmembers protect themselves in the event that they lose their cards or sensitive card information. The other perk is an extension of an existing liability policy to cover more types of card transactions.
“The changes that we’re making in cardholder protection combined with our efforts to move the U.S. payments industry to EMV chip technology will help deliver safer shopping experiences to consumers,” said Chris McWilton, president of North American markets at MasterCard, in a press release.
The new Identity Theft Resolution assistance program will cancel lost or stolen cards and notify credit bureaus of the situation. Additionally, the program will search for stolen personal and confidential information that show up online.
Following the recent data breaches at major retailers, consumer card payment data has been spotted online for sale by hackers on the black market. MasterCard’s new program would help to mitigate the damage that could result when a cardmember’s information is compromised as the result of these data breaches.
Target, Neiman Marcus and Michaels Stores are among the major U.S. retailers that have been victims of payment card data breaches in the past year.
The Identity Theft Resolution coverage begins in July 2014.
MasterCard is also extending its zero liability policy to include all PIN-based and ATM card transactions.
Currently, the policy only covers credit and signature debit transactions. For instance, the current MasterCard policy doesn’t cover an unauthorized ATM withdrawal where a thief replicated a debit card with stolen information and knew the victim’s PIN.
The improvement to the liability policy means that more consumer card transactions will be protected against fraudulent activity.
Again, the enhanced liability policy addresses the security concerns following the data breaches at retailers, where debit and credit card information was stolen. Credit card users were better protected since credit cards tend to have better card protections. Debit cards, on the other hand, did not enjoy similar protections (some card issuers disregarded liability policies and opted to reimburse customers for all unauthorized purchases).
The new zero liability policy takes effect in October 2014.
The move by MasterCard is a step ahead of a proposed bill that would require new protections for debit cards.