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Online security enhanced for credit cards?

By Abitha Deepak,
July 01, 2009 16:40 IST
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In one of its recent announcements, the Reserve Bank of India announced that come August all online credit and debit transactions will need to go through one more step before they can be completed successfully.

So apart from the details such as the card number, expiry date and the three digit CVV security code that needs to keyed in, it has been made mandatory for the card holder to provide further inputs that indicate a security code or some other data that will enable him or her to complete the transaction.

RBI has also made it compulsory for all transactions that exceed Rs 5,000 to intimated to the card holder through an online alert system. Banks that do not adhere to these rules will be penalized under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act 2007 states RBI in its directive issued on Feb 18, 2009.

Though such measures are already being practiced by several banks including mobile alerts for every transaction that takes place using the card be it an ATM withdrawal or card payment, this being made mandatory will make it a uniform practice by all banks and check the rising incidence of fraudulent online transactions.

However, certain secure codes employed need the co-operation and implementation of all the parties involved in the entire transaction namely the card company, the online retail merchant and the bank which recieves the money once the purchase is confirmed.

Virtual cards promoted to address security concerns

On the other hand virtual cards are being promoted by Banks specifically to address such fraudulent online transactions. These cards go one step even further in implementing online security.

They are a one time use card. The user can generate this card online via a simple registration process several times during any given day with pre-defined cash limits set for the card depending on that particular transaction requirements. The left over cash will be refunded back to the credit or debit card account.

How do you register for the virtual card online?

The process is very simple with most banks. All you have to do is log on to your online banking account and register for the virtual card.

You have to fill in the particulars like the cash amount your are likely to spend apart a few other details. The bank will generate a brand new exclusive 16 digit number, a CVV2 number and an expiry date for that particular virtual card.

Remember that most cards expire within 24-48 hours after being generated. This in in your own security interest. This is an absolutely safe method for undertaking all your online transactions and is hacker proof because its designed for a single use only after which any excess cash gets automatically transferred back to your credit or debit card account.

More such measures the need of the hour

A lot more of these hacker plugs are needed, though there is no one easy solution in sight with the use of plastic money.

Users also need to be alert when using an online service and ensure security instructions are strictly adhered to.

This could be beyond the realm of banking but given the fact that everyone's lifestyles are so dependent on the internet, streamlining online systems to ensure protection of sensitive information is a very critical and urgent need in today's scenario.

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Abitha Deepak,

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