As identity theft protection becomes more popular, credit card issuers are joining the mix by launching products that afford consumers more control over their accounts.
Citigroup has announced the launch of its new MasterCard inControl product, which will offer a groundbreaking service to consumers giving them the ability to set certain spending and alert controls. The service has already been utilized by a number of Barclays cardholders in Britain, but this is the first time the offering will be provided to U.S. citizens.
Consumers who secure MasterCard inControl will have the power to set their own spending limits in certain categories. For example, a consumer who shops at a specific retail chain frequently and does not want to overspend will be allowed to create a monthly cap that will result in the denial of their card once they reach their limit. This policy can be imposed at restaurants, retailers or any location that a consumer spends money. Borrowers will even be permitted to control what types of purchases are made with the card.
Additionally, the product provides consumers with real-time alerts regarding their account and card usage. Through the service, they will be alerted when an attempt is made to use their card, allowing them to detect a possible case of identity theft. Consumers will have the option to choose when and how they receive these alerts whether it be via text message or email.
A recent survey conducted by MasterCard revealed that 51 percent of participants reported that the inControl alerts would make them feel more secure and safe from identity theft and fraud. Forty-nine percent said that the service may also help them stay within their budgets.
"Citi is committed to providing greater choice and control to our customers, making their lives easier, and helping them better manage their money consistent with the principles of responsible finance," Citi Cards executive vice president Ed Garofalo said. "We believe that MasterCard inControl will help enhance our cardholders' experience, through increased transparency, greater spending confidence, and more secure and efficient financial management."
Credit monitoring is another way that consumers can attain more control over their finances, allowing them to receive notification when new accounts are opened under their name. These services are also widely used as a method of detecting identity theft.