See how our credit cards could reward you

Some things can't wait but the cost of them can. Help spread the cost of your spending as this card offers our longest ever 0% interest period on purchases.

  • No interest to pay on purchases for up to 30 months from account opening. We may offer you a 0% interest period of 24 or 18 months instead depending on your individual circumstances
  • Collect even more Clubcard points when you spend Terms apply
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 3 months with a balance transfer fee of 2.9%. You can transfer up to 95% of your credit limit.
  • To benefit from these 0% interest periods it’s important that you make your minimum repayments on time and in full.

  • Representative rate 18.9%APR (variable)
  • Interest rate on purchases 18.9% p.a. (variable)
  • Assumed credit limit £1,200

No fee to transfer your balance and no interest to pay on the amount you transfer for up to 24 months from account opening.

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for up to 24 months from account opening. 0% balance transfer fee. We may offer you a 0% interest period of 21 or 15 months instead depending on your individual circumstances.
  • 0% interest on money transfers for 12 months from account opening. 3.94% money transfer fee.
  • These offers apply to any transfers made within the first 90 days of opening your account, if you make your minimum repayments on time and in full each month. You can transfer up to 95% of your available credit limit.

  • Representative rate 18.9%APR (variable)
  • Interest rate on purchases 18.9% p.a. (variable)
  • Assumed credit limit £1,200

0% interest on balance transfers for up to 40 months

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for up to 40 months from account opening with a 2.69% fee. We may offer you a 0% interest period of 34 or 28 months instead depending on your individual circumstances.
  • 0% interest on money transfers for up to 40 months from account opening with a 3.94% fee. We may offer you a 0% interest period of 34 or 28 months instead depending on your individual circumstances.
  • These offers apply to transfers made within the first 90 days of account opening, if you make your minimum repayments on time and in full each month
  • You can transfer up to 95% of your available credit limit.

  • Representative rate 18.9%APR (variable)
  • Interest rate on purchases 18.9% p.a. (variable)
  • Assumed credit limit £1,200

Getting you closer to a world of experiences

  • Apply by 31 August 2017 and if you're accepted, you'll receive a £50 Tesco Gift Card.
  • In order to be eligible for the gift card offer you must make a purchase or balance transfer on your new Tesco Premium Credit Card within the first two months of account opening Terms apply
  • Enjoy our best credit card Clubcard points earn rate Terms apply
  • Collect 5,000 bonus Clubcard points when you spend £5,000 on your Premium Credit Card at Tesco in any year. This includes in store, online and Tesco Fuel Terms apply
  • Includes annual worldwide family Tesco Bank Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance if you’re aged under 70. Also covers immediate family members under 70 years old. Provided by Ageas Insurance Limited Terms apply
  • Annual fee of £150

  • Representative rate 56.5%APR (variable)
  • Based on 19.9% p.a. (purchase rate variable)
  • and
  • Annual fee £150
  • Assumed credit limit £1,200

0% interest on money transfers for up to 40 months.

  • 0% interest on money transfers for up to 40 months from account opening, with a 3.94% fee. We may offer you a 0% interest period of 34 or 28 months instead depending on your individual circumstances.
  • 0% interest on balance transfers from another card for up to 40 months from account opening, with a 2.69% fee. We may offer you a 0% interest period of 34 or 28 months instead depending on your individual circumstances.
  • These offers apply to transfers made within the first 90 days of account opening, if you make your minimum repayments on time and in full.
  • You can transfer up to 95% of your available credit limit.

  • Representative rate 18.9%APR (variable)
  • Interest rate on purchases 18.9% p.a. (variable)
  • Assumed credit limit £1,200

No interest to pay on purchases in the first month, followed by a low APR on purchases to help you keep your repayment costs down.

  • Low 5.9%APR representative (variable) on purchases
  • Plus 0% interest on purchases for the first month
  • Earn even more Clubcard points as you spend Terms apply

  • Representative rate 5.9%APR (variable)
  • Interest rate on purchases 5.9% p.a. (variable)
  • Assumed credit limit £1,200

If you're looking to rebuild or improve your credit rating following a history of impaired or bad credit, then our Foundation Credit Card could help you get back on track.

  • Manageable monthly repayments from £25 and credit limits between £250 and £1,500
  • Stay in control of your credit score through our partnership with Noddle, part of the Call Credit Information Group Learn more
  • Set up email and text alerts to help you avoid missing repayments and stay in control
  • Use our Mobile App to keep track of your balance

  • Representative rate 27.5%APR (variable)
  • Interest rate on purchases 27.5% p.a. (variable)
  • Assumed credit limit £1,200

Find out which option's right for you

Collect points as you spend

Collect Clubcard points when you use your card - online, in stores, or when you fill up at the pump. And not just at Tesco.

Get your vouchers

Every three months, your Clubcard points get turned into vouchers.

Spend your vouchers

You can spend your vouchers at, in store or on Tesco fuel. Or get up to four times the value with one of the Tesco Clubcard Partners.



Use your Tesco Bank credit card for fast and secure payments.

Available to Tesco Bank credit card holders featuring the MasterCard logo, on a compatible iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch.

Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Apple Pay, Apple Watch and Touch ID are trademarks of Apple Inc.

Our UK teams are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yes, even Christmas day.

Other customers have been asking:

Do you need a different borrowing option?

  • If you have 0% interest rates, these apply from the day you opened your account
  • If you have 0% interest periods, to benefit from this, you must make your minimum payments in full, on time each month.
  • For our Purchases, Balance Transfer and Money Transfer Cards, your credit limit, APR and introductory offer period may vary subject to your individual circumstances
  • You can transfer up to 95% of your available credit limit. You won't be able to transfer a balance between Tesco Bank Credit Cards.
  • Our credit facilities are available to over 18s and UK residents only, subject to status
  • For money transfers: purchases made using money that has been transferred will not benefit from protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Section 75 protection is only available if you make the purchase with your credit card (not all purchases are eligible for this protection).

Tesco Bank Credit Cards are provided by: Tesco Bank, PO Box 27028, Glasgow, G2 9FT

How to collect Clubcard points with your Tesco Bank Credit Card

It’s simple: use your credit card wherever you see the Mastercard logo. You’ll collect points on almost everything you buy.

For the Premium Credit Card you collect 1 Clubcard point for every £1 spent (£1 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point for every £4 spent (£4 minimum) outside Tesco in each purchase transaction.

For all our other credit cards you collect 1 Clubcard point for every £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point for every £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco in each purchase transaction.

There are some products at Tesco you can't collect points on. Find out more about collecting points at the Tesco Clubcard website. Clubcard points also can’t be collected on Tesco Travel Money purchases.

Points collection rates are subject to change.

You must have available credit.

The Tesco Clubcard Scheme is administered by Tesco Stores Limited, Tesco House, Shire Park, Kestrel Way, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 1GA, who are responsible for fulfilling points.

Premium Credit Card terms and conditions

Tesco Bank Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance is included if you (the primary cardholder) are aged under 70. It also covers your immediate family members under the age of 70. You’ll be insured for as many trips of up to 31 days as you like and the policy also includes 17 days winter sports cover each year as standard. Immediate family means the primary cardholder’s spouse, co-habiting partner or civil partner and their dependent children, including grandchildren, step-children and foster children under the age of 18. No add-ons are available and the policy does not cover pre-existing medical conditions. Tesco Bank Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance is provided by Ageas Insurance Limited.

If you spend £5,000 on your Premium Credit Card in Tesco in any year you will collect 5,000 bonus Clubcard points.

Qualifying spend includes any purchase transactions in Tesco Stores UK (excluding Tesco Opticians, Tesco Mobile and Tesco Travel Money), (UK only), Tesco Direct, F&F Clothing, Tesco Wine by the Case and Tesco Petrol Filling Stations (UK only, excludes Esso).

A year begins on the date the account was opened and each anniversary of that date, and ends 12 months later. Any refunds that you receive for returned items will be deducted from your total spend in that year. These points will be added to your Tesco Clubcard account within 45 days of the end of the relevant year and will be included in your next Tesco Clubcard statement after that. The Tesco Clubcard Scheme is administered by Tesco Stores Limited, Tesco House, Shire Park, Kestrel Way, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 1GA, who are responsible for fulfilling points.

Additional terms and conditions for £50 gift card

Only one Gift Card offer is available per customer. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. Your Gift Card will be delivered to the address entered on your Premium Credit Card application within 8 weeks of your first transaction.

Noddle is a free service which allows you to view your credit report, credit score, rating and financial history. Additionally, as a Foundation Credit Card customer you will also benefit from free access to Noddle Improve and Noddle Alerts for three years from the moment you sign up.

  • Noddle Improve – information and helpful tips on how you can improve your credit score.
  • Noddle Alerts –sending you notifications when there are significant changes to your credit report, allowing you to stay in control of your report and spot any problems quickly.

If you have applied and been accepted for a Foundation Credit Card then we’ll send you a welcome email within three weeks of receiving your card, including a link to the sign up page.

If you’re already a Noddle customer and are accepted for a Foundation Credit Card, then you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your account to have access to Noddle Improve and Noddle Alerts through the welcome email.

As part of the sign-up process you will be required to pass Noddle’s identity validation checks before accessing your Noddle account.

After three years, your additional benefits (Noddle Improve and Noddle Alerts) will expire, but you can choose to renew and pay for these benefits if you want to. The good news is, you will still have access to your free for life credit report and score.

It’s worth knowing that only the primary credit card account holder will have access to Noddle.

  • 7,5% in commission
  • Rates from Kraken with no markups
  • VISA and MasterCard accepted
  • No login or profile required
  • Buy from only 10 €
  • Paid directly to your bitcoin wallet

Setting up your bitcoin wallet is easier than you think! Our guides will help you get started in no time!

Go to our FAQ page for a quick brush up on what Bitcoins is and how to buy them, otherwise, follow this link to our Guide to gain expert knowledge in minutes. These guides will show you exactly how to create a Bitcoin wallet on your chosen device, use your Bitcoin wallets, how to keep your Bitcoins safe and how to restore and access them if needed.

It is easy to get started with bitcoins!

There are many different wallets, however, we would like to point out a few that we recommend:

If you're on a mobile we recommend either Bread Wallet for iOS or Mycelium Wallet for Android.

On a PC or laptop we would recommend Electrum Wallet.

For more information please visit our tutorial section (linked to above) or our glossary page on the Bitcoin Wallet.

The wallet you choose automatically generates an address, also called a public key, where others are able to transfer your money to.

Most addresses are 33-34 characters long, however, are usually expressed in a QR code which can be easily scanned.

Choose the amount you want to pay for, your Bitcoin address as well as your personal details. If the transaction size exceeds certain thresholds we will ask for more information in order to know that you are who you are.

Buy Bitcoins using your credit card. In order to do so you will need to verify using your mobile number associated with your credit card.

Wait for the transaction to complete. We guarantee to transfer your Bitcoins within 12 hours, however, usually it is much faster.

• Email address (Use your personal email which must have been in use for at least 12 month)

• Mobile telephone (Enter your own telephone. We do not accept virtual numbers)

• Credit card (Use your own credit card. US-issued credit cards are unfortunately not accepted)

• Bank account (Use only you your own bank account when transferring money to our account)

• IP Address (We need to your capture your actual IP address. Please disable VPN during the order process)

• Bitcoin address (Address associated with dark market or criminal activities is a no-go)

Online Shopping: How to Secure Your Credit Card

Online shopping has been in vogue for long abroad and now it is spreading its roots in India as well. With the growing number of online shopping sites the net fraud is also flourishing. It was not a long times ago when a friend of mine had to give twenty thousand rupees for a pair of Ray-ban glasses. Reason? Someone stole his credit card information online and did a hearty shopping.

I never understood how these hackers or geniuses, as I earlier thought them to be, manage to do all that. And after what my friend had to go through I just kept myself contented by shopping in stores. Though I always desired the stuff available online I could never gather the courage to shop.

One day while surfing the net I came across a wonderful deal on some makeup products online. I could not resist myself from clicking it which in turn made me yearning for it. With no one to my rescue I decided to take up the fight of enlightening myself on the precautions to be taken while shopping online. Though most of the articles went at a miles distance above my head (too technical) I still managed to get hold of few basic points.

Things to remember while shopping online:

Virtual credit cards are the best options available to shop online. These credit cards are for one time use only with the 24-48 hours validity. Many banks like HDFC and ICICI provide this facility.

Use a secure web browser while shopping online. As we all know that the Internet Explorer is the most used browser across the globe which makes it the most sought after browser for net thieves. No please don’t take me wrong I do not mean that by using other browser like Mozilla Firefox for instance your information would be totally secured. What I am trying to say is that by using a less popular browser the chances of hacking are relatively low.

• Don’t buy stuff from anyone online. Always deal with a reputable merchant while making payment online as they use encryption technologies to protect the private data of their users.

Using a temporary card number is another good option. Get a temporary card number from your credit card provider with a preset spending limit. It is always safe to keep a low cash limit after all you won’t be buying an Aston Martin online.

Do not share your personal information with every site you visit.

• Never ever let any website store your credit card number.

• Avoid sending payment information via e-mail.

Due to the lack of time with everyone these days internet shopping sure has a future in our country as well. So until some another genius brings out some method to challenge these security tips just enjoy shopping online.

As far as I am concerned no matter how much I buy online nothing could beat the feeling I get when I grab my shopping bag in a store.

Types of credit cards and their uniqueness.


Many Indian banks provide different types of credit cards. People can choose a credit card according to their usage & purchasing habits. Although bank only offers a credit card to only eligible consumers but an eligible customer can opt for various other card types mentioned in the next paragraph. It adds a lot of benefits and is an ideal match for their requirements.

Example – If you travel a lot, then a travel Credit card is best for you. It can help customer earn air miles reward point, access any airport lounges and take benefits of their credit cards, etc. In India, credit cards are offered in collaboration with following payment networks – Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner’s Club, etc. These are basically card manufacturers. Each manufacturer or card type uses a pre-decided set of card numbers to make it easier figuring out a card type at the later stage. Example:


There are different categories of credit cards below:


1.Gold Credit Cards

2.Business Credit Cards

4.Classic Credit Cards

6.Co-branded Credit Cards

7.Contactless Credit Cards

8.Balance transfer Credit Cards

9.Credit cards for Women

12.Platinum Credit Cards

13.Premium/Signature Credit Cards

14.Prepaid Credit Cards

15.Auto / Fuel Credit Cards

16.Silver Credit Cards

17.Titanium Credit Cards


How to settle your credit card dues?

Get rid of your Credit Card debt now!

If you are in credit card debt, I’m sure you must have received plenty of calls from Debt collector agencies by now. They call you daily asking to clear debts or else they will visit your house. Many a time they approach you directly at your home address and try to threaten using various tactics.

In that case, you can follow below steps:

Many people take credit card however they are unable to manage their credit. Credit cards give their holder to pay their debt within 45 days. Credit card’s cycle is usually 45 days from the purchase date, however, this billing cycle is decided by Credit card issuer bank. We’ve to make sure to contact the bank to know billing cycle and use your credit card accordingly.There’s forever a plan out. If you play your cards right, you will be able to get out of debt quickly than awaited.

Here are some points on how to manage your credit card debt.

Call your credit card issuer bank customer care.

Bank will never lose his customer and surely they will give a guide to pay your credit card debt. you can ask simply to convert your debt into EMI option and you can pay your Credit cards due in installment as well. you can also ask them to give more time to pay credit card debt. However, before proceeding that you should ask your bank to issue no clearance notice and after that, you can proceed.

Two things from here, either you choose to clear pending bills yourself or bank is making a request. In the first case, you must contact the bank directly enquiring about minimum amount you need to pay for the settlement. However, in the second case, where a bank employee approaches you, you need to first verify the identity of the person approaching you.

In the recent past, we’ve encountered such complaints, where fake callers posing to be one of the bank employees contact customers directly for settlements. Somehow, they fetch customers debt details from various resources & make it completely legit for customers to pay the settlement amount. To the worst of it, bank has no acknowledgment about it & customer don’t even receive a ‘No Dues’ Certificate. So, to avoid such things happening, confirming bank would be the best option.

When someone from the recovery team contacts you, you’ve to be completely transparent about how much you can afford to pay. Start negotiating for the same amount (deals are usually cracked at 20-30% of the total pending bill). Post negotiation once the minimum payable bill is set, you can promise them a fixed date of payment without fail. This way you can easily clear your debts & start maintaining credit history again.

I hope you understand my point, Rather searching for alternate you should direct contact your bank. this is the option you have.


Easy ways to get a Credit Card.

Getting a Credit Card got easier than ever

1: Apply directly from your email inbox


If you have noticed that Every day you getting a lot of emails from banks by their advertising agency regards to apply for Credit cards. you just need to open that email and click ‘apply’. After that, you will get a new page in your Internet browser. You will need to fill all your details over the page and submit. You will automatically get a call from Bank and you need to verify over the call. Bank will send bank representative to collect all the documents. Bank will verify all the details at their end and check your eligibility If you are found eligible for the applied credit card, they will process it further. Within next few days, you will get your credit card at your address.

2: Apply for Credit cards through your ATM Card


We’ve been using debit cards of multiple banks for several years now. But sometimes we keep encountering friends those are using credit cards of the same banks. Obtaining a credit card isn’t that tough if you already have a bank account in the same bank. It gets even easier if you already have a salary account in a bank. If not, you need to maintain a savings balance in your account, this contributes to better credit history. There is no other secret for why your friends already own a credit card in the same bank as yours.

We frequently visit ATMs these days. Most of us have never paid attention to all the options we get on the ATM screen. One such option you see there is ‘Apply for a credit card’. Next time once you visit an ATM, you must check that option & try putting a new credit card request. Rest would be taken care by the bank employees.

Also, you can apply for a credit card online using your net banking interface. Every bank has a ‘service request’ section. There you can make various requests with just click of a button. Not to ignore, you can make the same requests from your phone in the mobile banking application.

3: Call your bank customer care number and ask them to enroll you.

One of the simplest ways to get enrolled for the credit card is, contacting bank customer service directly. This option is very helpful if you find difficulty making requests online or using your ATM card.

You’d find customer service very helpful in processing your request. If you validate all the required criteria, it won’t be a surprise to hold a credit card within a week’s time.


How to verify if your Credit Card is hacked?

Precautionary measures to keep your credit card safe & secure

Nowadays, credit card frauds are most frequent amongst all fraud types. Careful & consistent monitoring can easily reveal if your card details are stolen or are being misused.


Always remember that Bank never approaches its customers to know or verify credit card details or other sensitive information. In any such attempt of possible fraud, one should contact the bank directly. Unfortunately, if you’ve been tricked into revealing the personal information, without delay you should contact bank and request for a fresh card.

Keep Monitoring your Account

For better security, the best way to secure your account is to keep checking your account related alerts. You can also download the app, through which you can keep the track of your account activities. Nowadays, all bank branches provide net banking facilities & mobile applications which are very convenient, secure & user-friendly. You must contact your bank for activating mobile alert services so that you’re updated with account activities. In case of any unauthorized activities happening with the account, you may take appropriate action at the right time.

To keep it even secure & safe you should ask the bank to link your aadhar number with the bank account. Which can also be done online using the online banking portal.

Using card as payment option on unsecured websites

In the current world, we’re slowly growing towards online payments. People often prefer ordering goods and services online rather than visiting local stores. In such cases, online payment is the main method of payment. We come across plenty of sites on daily basis, out of which a few if you look at closely, are potentially unsafe or haven’t taken all necessary steps to protect their or customers credit card information. While making any such payment, if you suspect upon the authenticity of the website or the owner, you must not use your credit card. Instead, you can order stuff selecting ‘cash on delivery’, would be a great alternative.

Upgrade your Credit Card to the latest chip for better security.

Banking sector has been making continuous efforts in improving safely & security of credit cards & related date. Major card manufacturing companies have now integrated a security chip in the front of the card. In the advanced card swipe machines, you’d find the option to scan your chip instead of the magnetic stripe to process the payment. Compared to the black magnetic stripe, chip based transactions are much secure. So, you must upgrade your credit or debit cards wherever it’s possible.

Keep your PIN & other personal details private

You must keep all your pin, net banking login id & other personal information secret. Someone, who’s the access of such information, may attempt a theft from your card even though the credit card is physically not present. Make sure in ATMs or such places, there isn’t someone around sneaking your card details. In any such case of doubt, feel free to immediately contact the bank to get the card replaced or just simply change your PIN. Never hand over the card to someone you don’t trust enough. Numbers printed on the card are almost everything needed to make an online payment. Make sure you receive an OTP before processing a payment. Accounts with OTP facility enabled, are very less prone to be a fraud victim.


Credit Cards: Benefits & features

Everything you need to know about Credit Cards :


The Frist credit card was launched in 1958 By American Express. The card named Dinner card. A credit card is almost similar in size & shape to other ordinary cards, usually built in plastic to avoid getting damaged easily. As the name suggests, Credit Card gives users a certain credit limit, under which one can use it to make payments in return for goods or services. A credit card is a card which is issued by the bank to the eligible customers. to use a Marchant for Good and services. A credit card is also known as Plastic Money or Pay Card.

Credit cards are almost identical in appearance to Debit Cards but you don’t need to load funds to use it. Bank itself sets a usage limit based on the customer’s credibility & credit history.Thus Credit Cards are the powerful tool in low economic situations.

A credit card can be used world wide

A credit card provides extra facility to the card holder. A credit card can be used world wide. where as cash currency can’t be used Internationally.You need to convert them to local currency t use them.

Credit Cards gives customer grace period to pay the minimum balance amount for the month. You don’t need to pay the total bill. However, A user has to pay the credit charge every month along with the minimum balance. Credit Charge is calculated based on the outstanding amount for next month. In short, Credit Card allows the feature of breaking the entire bill into EMIs.

The Great Thing about credit card is, It comes with the Signup bonus. so that every time when a customer applies for any credit card. The issuing bank gives signup bonus to his customer. through that customer get extra purchasing power and He/ she can save money as well.

Reward point is also a unique Feature in which customers get points for all the transaction they make using the card. They can easily redeem their points once enough such points gets accumulated & make further purchases. However, reward point value varies from bank to bank and Credit card type. No other card types give such facilities to motivate their customers to use Credit Card for frequent purchases.

It’s Rectangular in shape and holds Card Holder Name, Unique Card Number, Expiration Date & CVV printed on the card. The rare side of the card holds a magnetic stripe that stores all the sensitive information to proceed with the ATM withdrawal or shopping transactions. Modern credit cards have a computer chip embedded in them as an additional security feature.

How credit card security works

It’s understandable to be worried. From time to time, large companies lose customer data in major hacks:

  • In a well-publicized hack, Target lost card data from 40 million customers. A class-action lawsuit claimed that Target hadn’t implemented sufficient security measures to prevent the hack.
  • Malware infected Chipotle’s cash registers, allowing thieves to steal data from credit card magstripes.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group, which runs properties like Holiday Inn, had its own run-in with hacking. A data breach affected almost 1,200 of the company’s hotels, and many customers reported unauthorized charges on their credit cards.

Credit card fraud is a growing problem — it caused an estimated $24.71 billion in losses in 2016 alone. By 2020, it’s expected to cost $31.67 billion worldwide.

If you’re concerned about your credit card information, you’re not alone. Here’s what you should know about credit card security — and keeping your information safe.

Should I be worried about credit card fraud?

To get a credit card, you must first submit personal and financial information to a card provider. Your name, phone number, email address and residential address are a given. But you also have to divulge sensitive details about your employment information, total annual income and Social Security number.

We hand over this information without a second thought. But is it safe once we part with it?

YourcreditcardDo credit card companies keep my information safe?

First, the good news: As of yet, there hasn’t been a significant data breach in a major credit card company.

According to a report by the US Government Accountability Office, large financial institutions adopt security measures that are “generally more sophisticated and harder to compromise.” Banks and credit card companies know it’s important for them to safeguard customers’ information and money. To that end, they’re constantly updating their security systems to guard against hacks.

However, it’s not impossible for a big financial player to be breached. Financial services giant JP Morgan was hacked in 2014, exposing the sensitive data of 76 million customers. Fortunately, it didn’t appear that passwords, birthdates or Social Security numbers were stolen. But hackers took countless phone numbers, addresses, names and email addresses — information that could be sold on black markets.

Even if your credit card company closely guards your data, there’s the chance that a merchant could lose your credit card information. Your own computer hardware could be hacked, and thieves could steal your credit card information at ATMs.

So it’s not just your bank’s job to keep your information safe. It’s a good idea for you to be vigilant as well.

Credit card fraud doesn’t happen often, but it can be incredibly inconvenient when it strikes. According to payment systems provider ACI Worldwide, 46% of Americans have been victims of credit card fraud. Though financial institutions rarely lose customer data, it’s not out of the question for it to happen.

To protect yourself, implement these safeguards:

  • Be selective about who you give information to. Think twice before applying for services from little-known financial institutions. The big players may be more expensive, but they’re better prepared to safeguard your data. According to accounting firm Moss Adams, small banks are easier targets for hackers because they often have fewer resources.
  • Monitor your credit card transactions. Credit card providers have robust fraud departments, but you’re your own best defense. Regularly check your card’s transactions and alert your provider if you see anything fishy. It’s easy to get a replacement credit card, and you’ll rarely be on the hook for fraudulent transactions.
  • Be wary of unknown callers and phishing emails. Your financial institution will never call you asking for sensitive information. Also be suspicious of unexpected emails that seem to be from your bank or card provider. They may be sent from thieves attempting to steal your information.
  • Check your credit reports. Monitoring your credit reports can help you spot identity theft. You can get your report for free every year from, which is authorized by the US government.
  • Initiate a “security freeze” with the major credit bureaus. If you set a security freeze, a credit bureau can’t release your credit report without your permission. This can stop identity thieves from opening new financial accounts in your name.

Your credit card spending isn’t private

Credit cards are incredibly convenient. The tradeoff for using them, however, is losing your financial anonymity.

This doesn’t mean everyone will know what you spend money on. But your card providers will: They’re regularly slicing and dicing your card use. They can see where you’ve used your card, and they’re constantly evaluating your creditworthiness based on your spending habits.

For example, if you’ve used your card at a casino or at bail-bond shops, your provider may consider you more likely to be in financial trouble. It could mark you as a riskier borrower who might default on payments. To protect its downside, your provider can possibly take preemptive measures, like lowering your credit limit.

Fortunately, your card company isn’t allowed to share your personal information with nonaffiliated third parties. But that doesn’t mean third parties don’t have ways of monitoring your spending. Google, for instance, claims it’s privy to 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the United States through its third-party partnerships.

The implication is clear: If you use credit cards, always assume someone’s monitoring your spending.

Thieves steal credit card information in numerous ways, but one of the prominent is by using credit card skimmers.

Skimmers are small, nearly undetectable devices that criminals fit onto credit card machines to read and record your credit card data. For example, a skimmer can be placed over the card slot on an ATM and steal information from a card’s magstripe.

Credit card skimmers have proliferated in recent years, largely because skimmers have gotten more sophisticated. In the past, the bulkiness of a skimmer would give it away. Now they’re small and sleek, and it’s hard to tell when they’re installed.

First, a thief installs a skimmer onto a credit card machine — like a store point-of-sale system or ATM. Typically, fraudsters will plant skimmers where they’re less likely to be caught doing so — outdoor ATMs and gas pumps are prime targets. They may also install hidden cameras or fake keypads to steal customers’ PINs.

After some time, the thieves will return to collect the skimmer. They’ll sell the information they’ve stolen, or even use it themselves.

Is it safe to use your credit card at an ATM?

Whenever you use an ATM, consider the possibility that a skimmer is installed. ATMs inside of a bank are less likely to have been tampered with. But if you’re using an ATM in an outdoor or little-trafficked area, the machine could be compromised.

If you must use an ATM that’s not monitored by cameras or bank personnel, make it a point to check your credit card transaction history for suspicious activity.

How to protect yourself from credit card skimmers

It’s difficult to detect all skimmers you could come across, and they’re only getting more sophisticated. However, you can minimize the risk of losing your credit card data to these devices.

  • Use ATMs attached to banks. These machines are more likely to be monitored, and they’re serviced more often than off-brand ATMs.
  • Regularly monitor your credit card transactions. You don’t have to wait for your statement before reviewing your transactions. Just sign in to your online account to see what’s charged to your credit card. If you’re vigilant about monitoring your card, you can catch fraud quickly.
  • Avoid ATMs that appear to have been tampered with. Especially with off-brand ATMs, don’t use a machine that looks suspicious, rundown or out of place. If buttons are hard to press or graphics are misaligned on the screen, take your card elsewhere.
  • Inspect hardware on ATMs. Don’t be afraid to pull at the card slot or test the machine’s keys before your transaction. A skimmer may be glued to a machine, and it could come off if you pull it.

How is your data uploaded onto a tiny plastic card? The answer is your magnetic stripe. Your card’s magstripe contains a bunch of magnetic particles that are magnetized to store data.

When you swipe your card at a terminal, your transaction is sent to an acquiring bank or an acquirer. This is the organization that pays the merchant.

In turn, the acquirer gets paid by sending the transaction through a card network like Visa or Mastercard to an issuing bank — the institution that distributes credit cards to consumers. The issuing bank charges a commission on the transaction and then sends the remaining funds to the acquirer.

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about any of the behind-the-scenes processes. Just swipe your card and you’re done!

Security measures offered by your credit card

We’ve talked considerably about how credit card information can be stolen. Still, a credit card builds in defenses against fraud, and the financial industry is always developing better tools to combat fraudsters.

One of the reasons that card companies monitor your spending is to catch fraud.

Fraud costs banks money. To avoid losses, financial institutions develop technologies that automatically detect inconsistencies in customer spending. Uncovering these anomalies is how card companies catch fraud.

There’s more good news: You most likely won’t be liable if your credit card is used fraudulently. Many banks and card providers — especially large ones like Chase, Bank of America, Visa and Mastercard — offer “zero liability” protection for fraud. That means if your card is lost or stolen, you won’t have to pay anything. Even if you owe money for a fraudulent transaction, federal law mandates that you can only be charged a maximum of $50.

Overall, a credit card is an excellent way to pay because it offers great consumer protections against fraud.

Why your credit card has a chip

Recently, your card provider may have sent you a new card with a shiny chip inside. If so, you’ve received a chip card — also known as an EMV card (EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa).

A chip card is relatively secure because it encrypts account information differently each time it’s used. In contrast, data is static on a magstripe card, which means it’s easier for criminals to extract. Skimmers are highly effective at collecting data from magstripes, but they’re less adept at foiling chip cards.

Chip cards have been widely adopted around the world, but only now is the United States following suit. The US is mostly adopting chip-and-signature cards, with which you sign your name to verify your identity.

Meanwhile, many other countries are using chip-and-PIN cards, which require you to enter a personal identification number. Chip-and-PIN cards are considered to be more secure, since there’s no signature to forge.

Maybe someday we’ll upgrade to chip-and-PIN cards too. Until then, we at least have a significant upgrade from magstripe cards.

Credit cards and online purchases

E-commerce is growing fast, but consumers still have security concerns about making purchases online. In fact, nearly two-thirds of consumers say online retailers aren’t doing enough to protect credit card and personal information.

The truth of the matter is that a credit card is one of the safest ways to make purchases online. As long as you’re using a trusted website and the online retailer encrypts your data, it’s safe to enter credit card information on the web.

Here are a few precautions you can take to use your credit card safely online:

  • Make sure you’re on the right website. It sounds elementary, but you can lose information by submitting credit card details in the wrong place. Take a quick glance at your browser’s URL bar to confirm the web address is correct.
  • Only input credit card information if the website URL starts with “https.” This means the data you send will be encrypted. If the website URL starts with “http,” cancel your transaction.
  • Use antivirus software on your computer and regularly scan your system. Your credit card data could be stolen by malware like keyloggers and screen recorders. Keep viruses and spyware off of your computer with a reputable antivirus provider like Kaspersky or Norton.
  • Don’t place orders on public Wi-Fi. Because public Wi-Fi is unsecured, it’s a prime target for hackers. Only input credit card information online when you’re on your secured home network.

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