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HSBC Bank Sends Activated Debit Cards Through Mail 220

Posted by kdawson
from the unstanched-cash-wound dept.
Knowzy writes "At least two divisions at HSBC Bank apparently failed card issuing 101 and are mailing out debit cards pre-activated. Because they are debit cards, fraudulent transactions come directly out of a victim's checking account. A similar report from 2004 suggests this issue is longstanding and widespread. When confronted with the evidence, HSBC would not commit to fixing this issue, preferring instead to offer vague statements like, 'Through our systems and analytics, we focus on the greatest and most active threats in an effort to avoid negatively impacting customer experience.'"
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HSBC Bank Sends Activated Debit Cards Through Mail

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  • by metalmaster (1005171) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:11PM (#32804608)
    HSBC Customer Service (1.800.975.4722) HSBC Bank USA, N.A. P.O. Box 2013 Buffalo, NY 14240 https://www.hsbctaxpayerfinancialservices.com/htax/Cust/inquiry [hsbctaxpay...rvices.com] If it were my bank I'd take my money and walk....
    • by Elbereth (58257)

      They closed my account and cancelled my debit card when I was a day or two late paying off an overdraft fee. Believe me, I told them how I feel back then.

      But now I feel a little better about it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by causality (777677)

        They closed my account and cancelled my debit card when I was a day or two late paying off an overdraft fee. Believe me, I told them how I feel back then.

        But now I feel a little better about it.

        I have no debit cards and you will never catch me with one. If a bank sent me one unsolicited I would immediately throw it into the shredder. They are a terrible idea. They make sense only for people with such horrible credit that they absolutely cannot obtain a credit card. They might make sense for people with zero discipline who also refuse to make any effort to identify their lack of discipline as a character flaw and take action to correct it (the word for that is "coward"), but in my opinion a cre

        • by Space cowboy (13680) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:05AM (#32806288) Journal
          I have an HSBC debit card. My credit score is in the high 800's. Since I only like to spend money I actually have, they make sense to me.

          With a debit card, if someone ever steals your card or its number they can drain your entire checking account and that money is gone.

          Not true. As it happens, just recently my debit card was used fraudulently online, and pretty much emptied the account to the tune of ~$4,500. The bank phoned me up, asked me which of the purchases were mine, I told them, and they ordered me a new (unactivated, for the record) debit card, refunded (immediately, as in, the money was there when I logged in while talking to the agent on the phone) all the cash, and asked me if there was anything else they could do. The new card arrived two days later by courier (and the courier company phoned me the night before to tell me I should expect a to-sign-for package).

          All told, I'm pretty impressed with HSBC. It's the only bank I know of where you can see accounts in different countries and transfer money internationally in real-time. Since I'm a Brit living in the US, this helps me a lot. I can transfer money from my US account to my UK account, then immediately transfer funds from my UK account to pay bills/family members/whatever. Way better than my "toys" account at Wells Fargo, who don't actually let you transfer money out of your account to another bank via their online system.

          HSBC on the other hand have an online form where you type in the details, and if it can't be done automatically, a human will do all the leg-work for you, so I can transfer money out of Wells Fargo using the HSBC website, which is pretty cool too.

          Simon.

          • by Malc (1751)

            Just moved back to UK after nearly 15 years in US and then Canada. HSBC Canada has never had the ability to see my UK accounts, nor vice versa. A little bit too much of the local bank, but perhaps your experience suggests what we can expect from them elsewhere at some point in the future. A GBP bankers draft from HSBC Canada cost me something like CAD$3. Going the other way, HSBC UK charges GBP£30 for CAD$ draft. HSBC UK are wankers.

            The guys in Canada have been a much better experience, and I'm gu

          • Use a credit card and pay it off fully at the end of every month.

            The card companies hate that.

            • by xaxa (988988)

              Use a credit card and pay it off fully at the end of every month.

              The card companies hate that.

              When my newest credit card arrived it came with a form to sign to have the balance paid automatically from my bank account. It works fine. If they hate this, why do they make it so easy?

              I also get 1p back for every £2 I spend on the card. This adds up very slowly. The only thing I use cash for is entry to nightclubs and buying drinks if it's less than about £10.

              (There's a couple of things that cost extra if paid for by credit card online: cheap train tickets and cheap plane tickets. I use my de

              • by Malc (1751)

                I used to do that, but now I try to use cash as much as I can. I find it's easier spend less with cash... it's something tactile, you can physically feel how much you're handing over, and you get a visual reminder when you're wallet is running low! Furthermore, I hate going through bank and credit card statements with lots of transactions... it's too much of a pain trying to account for each one. Providing financial institutions with data to mine might bother some people too.

            • by Malc (1751)

              Why do they hate that? They get a percentage on each and every transaction. I would have thought that they want you to pay it off every month, because then they'll offer you more credit to encourage more transactions.

        • by haruchai (17472)

          In Canada, fraud is (used to be?) the responsibility of the bank, so it's very likely you'll get your money back in a reasonable amount of time.
          I've never had an issue with a bricks-and-mortar merchant that I couldn't resolve but I did have several ( all on the same Mastercard )
          with online merchants.
          In every case, the credit card company either sided with the merchant or made me jump through so many hoops that it wasn't worth it.
          I don't deal with them anymore.

          BTW, if that's your definition of "coward", you

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:17PM (#32804654)

      quote"A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one."

      Substitute recall for "policy change".

      • This is why we have a government that forces companies to go through safety recalls...
      • by Haeleth (414428)

        Fight Club is a work of fiction. This means that the things it says are not necessarily true.

        The reality is quite clearly different, as we can see by the recent events with Toyota: they were pressured into a massively damaging recall even though regulators were unable to prove that stuck accelerators had actually caused any deaths at all. Public anger is a powerful thing, particularly when the media chooses to fan the flames.

      • by AusIV (950840)

        This is a little hyperbolic. If a car company doesn't do a recall, people die. Paying out settlements can't fix that. If HSBC has a policy that results in money being stolen, nobody dies. Paying out settlements can fix that. The bank and their stockholders lose, but the customers only lose time and legal fees (which might be compensated by a lawsuit).

        I doubt this is the case, but it's possible that the direct cost of having customers activate their own card is higher than the probable loss from sending out

    • by postbigbang (761081) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:22PM (#32804680)

      The reason for the Buffalo NY address is that they bought Midland Marine Bank years ago.

      • The reason for the Buffalo NY address is that they bought Midland Marine Bank years ago.

        Marine Midland Bank (and associated subsidiaries) - back when it was the #3 bank in the country. But yes, that is otherwise mostly accurate. I worked for them. They (HSBC) already owned a large amount of MMB's stock (1980 onwards) - they just finished the acquisition (wholly own) in 1988 (though Wikipedia says 1987 - I am pretty sure it is wrong - I worked there and remember when the purchase was completed, and when shortly afterwards, we were offered relocation packages from Melville, NY to Syracuse, NY -

    • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:32PM (#32804784)

      If it were my bank I'd take my money and walk....

      According to the article they're more than happy to let anyone take your money and walk.

      • According to the article they're more than happy to let anyone take your money and walk.

        Hey, that's an O(1) authentication algorithm! Pretty damn impressive from their IT team...

      • by TheLink (130905)
        > According to the article they're more than happy to let anyone take your money and walk.

        HSBC: The world's local piggy bank.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      Call them on your way out the door as you close your account.

    • and that's that the risk of fraud is born by the customer, not the bank. And activating a card after it's been sent can cost anything from 50 cents to $1.50 Think of that!

      And err, no, not every bank does this. HSBC seems to be a bit "special" in this respect.

      Some things in life are really when you come to think of them.

  • In Other Words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:12PM (#32804618)

    'Through our systems and analytics, we focus on the greatest and most active threats in an effort to avoid negatively impacting customer experience.'

    Oh by the way look at this other shiny pretty stuff we've been doing to divert your attention from this major fuck up, which we kinda did on purpose to save on customer service costs when you idiots try to use your unactivated cards.

    Not that they are perfect but I've been much happier with my credit union than any commercial bank I've used in the last 20 years...

    • Re:In Other Words (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:43PM (#32804878)

      Actually, I read that differently.

      Since they wouldn't commit to fighting this threat, and instead said they would work on their biggest threats...

      WHAT THE HELL ARE THEIR BIGGEST THREATS!?

      I'd be very, very scared of a bank that acknowledges that it has bigger threats than causing their customers to lose their money.

      • Their biggest threat is an employee not doing as instructed. Like lowering the standards on mortgages they buy in credit swaps...

      • by Kitkoan (1719118)
        Their biggest threats are loss of money for both themselves and their shareholders. Their interest in protecting their customers comes much further after this. HSBC is a business, and like all businesses, they are watching their and their shareholders bottom line online.
      • by binkzz (779594)

        Actually, I read that differently.

        Since they wouldn't commit to fighting this threat, and instead said they would work on their biggest threats...

        WHAT THE HELL ARE THEIR BIGGEST THREATS!?

        In all fairness, they didn't say they would work on them. They would focus on them instead, which in marketing terms probably means.. well.. I have no idea. But I'm sure it's even better than working or fixing problems!

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:13PM (#32804624)

    'Through our systems and analytics, we focus on the greatest and most active threats in an effort to avoid negatively impacting customer experience.'"

    If you look at identity theft there are 3 "greatest" threats, stupidity on the part of the cardholder, stupidity on the part of the bank, or stupidity on the part of a third party. Even the best individual practices can't protect against stupidity from the bank or stupidity from a third party that has your card info for a legitimate reason.

    For some reason banks seem to think that they aren't a threat to someone's security of their identity, they are a -huge- threat because they have all the information identity thieves need to make fraudulent purchases. Such things like this will undoubtedly have pressure put on the post office and mail handlers rather than the main culprit, the bank.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rm999 (775449)

      This isn't really a identity risk issue. A stolen debit card alone is not enough to steal someone's identity (anymore than having his name is); a SSN or some other source of identity would be needed because a debit card alone is not a source of identity.

      The real risk here is debit card fraud - sending active cards over the mail is practically asking for it. In the case of credit card fraud, the customer is barely inconvenienced because money is never taken out of his bank account. With debit cards, it's a l

  • Greed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:16PM (#32804640)
    Well, you know, if they are going to pay for adequate customer service, then the upper level management will not be paid as many millions of dollars per year as they are paid now. Think of the suffering of executives and shareholders before you start worrying about customers!
  • According to the expiry date on my HSBC card, one of the mailed cards could very likely have been mine.

    I will be cancelling my HSBC account as soon as I can find an effective replacement bank. We have an ESL Credit Union nearby; looking for any other alternatives if anyone has any suggestions.
    • Re:Great (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:33PM (#32804790)

      My local credit unions either refuse to issue credit cards, or have co-branded cards that are actually issued by the major bank down the street from them. Credit cards is a risky game that small banks can't afford, because if the major employer in town shuts down they just might get defaults from enough people that the banks stability could be at stake. They aren't in the Too Big To Fail club.

      • The cards may be issued by another bank, but the terms of the card will often be better. My credit union gave me a card at 8.9% even though I had no credit history. Even if my local bank had been willing to issue me a card, the interest rate would have been at least 23%.

        • by xaxa (988988)

          If the interest rate on the card is an issue, perhaps it's not a good idea to have the card?

          (Assuming you have the same deal as almost all cards in the UK, where everything's interest free for at least a month, so long as the balance is paid off in full at the end of each month.)

    • I'm very pleased with DCU. They've got the customer service and low/lack of fees that my old hometown bank had before they were bought up. I don't partake, but I've friends that tell me that the investment and loan products are fair. The biggest problem they have is lack of locations, but I do everything over PC Branch or SUM network ATM anyway.
    • by number11 (129686)

      I will be cancelling my HSBC account as soon as I can find an effective replacement bank. We have an ESL Credit Union nearby; looking for any other alternatives if anyone has any suggestions.

      I don't know anything about ESL CU, but my personal accounts have been at a (originally "state employee") CU for 30 years. Their Visa is operated by somebody else under their name, but has a pretty low interest rate (10%, IIRC) and "points", which someday I'll find out if those are good for anything. When they stopped

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:23PM (#32804692)
    I insist my Bank either mails to the local branch for pick up (with ID) or in some cases sends by signed courier. Almost every service representitive, when questioned thinks this is a "good idea" because they admit they hear of an enormous ammount of fraud this way. Banks have no interest in doing this by default in my area.

    I understand it's usual practice in MOST countries to mail pre-activated cards (maily credit, debit not so much) to residential addresses. Indeed credit cards go 'missing' in the mail often.

    This is one of the most common methods of physically obtaining a credit card. Even if you have to go to the branch to get the card activated by a pin, which occurs with Debit cards (credit cards you just need to sign the back of them and their good to go) the fraudsters know branches are slack about correctly checking ID and obtaining a fake or doctored ID is trivial.

    My advice, for you own good, insist you pick up your new card from your local branch, if you have the option of paying for a signed courier if the bank won't then do so.
    • by Psaakyrn (838406) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:36PM (#32804804)

      The problem is not with mailing, it's with pre-activation. The customer has to be made to activate manually to confirm that they did receive the card anyway. Activating manually generally requires user credentials. This can be done online, saving the hassle of having to go to a bank personally. (required: key from issued card + key from user account)

      Also, if "the fraudsters know branches are slack about correctly checking ID and obtaining a fake or doctored ID is trivial", I have more issues with the bank than just the mailing of cards. Switch banks ASAP.

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        I'm not sure why going to the bank. With most banks in Europe you activate the new card by using it in an ATM or performing a purchase that requires PIN. The rule of thumb is to send in the PIN by a different means than the card, say, you get it at the bank while signing the papers, or you get it with your confirmation papers through registered letter. At worst it is mailed 1 week before the card. If the card is a continuation of expired one, PIN is never sent, it is transferred over from the old one. So,

    • Debit cards in Portugal *can't* be pin-less. They come with a random default pin number inserted, which is transmitted separately to the costumer.

      And brute-force doesn't work, obviously: ATMs don't give you your card back if you get the number wrong more than 4 (IIRC) times.

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        Depends on the ATM. Here in the US, a lot of ATMs don't capture the card, but allow someone to keep sliding it through a reader. I've not entered too many wrong PINs, so I'm guessing it would cause that card to be not valid at that ATM after a number of bad guesses.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LostCluster (625375) *

      USPS: The service you use when if it gets lost, it's not your loss. Insurance available if money can replace what you lost.
      UPS/FedEx: The services you use when you want to know where your package is, possibly change the delivery address or pull it back before it's out for delivery, and want confirmation that it got there or at least was dropped at a secure location like a mailroom or co-branded store location.

      There's a reason why UPS and FedEx can charge much more for moving a piece of paper... they do it w

      • by hedwards (940851)
        For all intents and purposes correct. However USPS does offer certified mail, wherein the item travels under lock and key the entire way until an authorized party signs for it. That's definitely quite a bit more secure than what either Fed Ex or UPS will offer.
    • by Rich0 (548339)

      This raises a question in my mind. Just why do credit/debit cards expire, anyway?

      Everybody validates every transaction online, if they have half a brain. If a merchant doesn't and the account is closed, then they're on the hook for the transaction regardless of the date on the card.

      So, why should a credit card ever expire? If you want to put an expiration or renewal policy on the account, sure, go ahead and do it. But, why put that date on the card itself? We wouldn't mail out so many cards if we didn'

      • by David_W (35680)

        Just why do credit/debit cards expire, anyway? Everybody validates every transaction online, if they have half a brain.

        Almost everyone... however, surprising as it may be, some places STILL use carbons. One of the doctors' offices I occasionally visit does. It surprised the heck out of me the first time, as I thought credit card machines were pretty standard fare these days. (I seem to recall them mentioning something about getting one soon; it's 2010, that qualifies as "about time" to me.) So I imagine expiration dates are a holdover until the credit card companies finally just say the machines that can do online verif

    • by Ksevio (865461)

      So what do people like me do that use HSBC Direct (online banking)? There isn't a branch location within a hundred miles of me now.

      I don't remember if I had to activated my debit card when I got it, but I remember there was a hassle to get the PIN since it had to be sent separately from the card.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:24PM (#32804706)

    Here's the thing. You need a database server, an interactive phone system, and humans to talk to people who hit wrong buttons or don't have a clear enough phone line for touch tones... all of which cost money!

    So, if the cost of faking the authentication and paying the fraud off weeks later (if it's caught by the consumer in time) is less than running the real system, that's profit for the bank's shareholders and our financial system requires the bank do what's best for the shareholders, not the customers.

    Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, etc. should enforce a standard for these things, but they don't because if they did they'd have to punish HSBC, and in order to do that they'd lose transaction fees from a competitor that HSBC would most likely start....

    • HSBC does not pay nearly the same costs for fraud when the card is a debit card, instead customers pay far more.

      It's entirely possible that you'll never notice the missing card for 60 days, given banks usually send cards unsolicited when nearing expiration. If so, all the money taken from the account, even after those 60 days will not be reimbursed by your bank.

      Credit cards offer more protection largely because you're spending the banks money, therefore banks usually don't make this mistake with credit car

      • That's the point... debit card fraud costs less than the cost of fixing it, credit card fraud costs more than doing something about it, so they do something about it.
        • by Sporkinum (655143)

          I was just a victim of debit card fraud. We paid off all our debt a few years ago, and decided to go debit card only. We had heard about people getting their card number stolen and charged against, so we used cash on vacation, except for card swipes at the pump for gasoline. Unfortunately, we had to use the card number to reserve hotel rooms, even though we paid by cash. About a week and a half after getting back from vacation in Colorado, we got about $1200 in charges from Mexico of which the blocked $600

          • Yep. The correct way to play the game is to have a credit card, and pay it off every month. Resist the temptation to let balances slide from month to month, claim you rewards points, and you'll profit most.

            No kind of card is perfect. Prepaid cards come with the highest mandatory fees, debit cards put your entire bank balance at risk, credit cards hope you can't pay off what you bought, and don't get me started on store gift cards.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:27PM (#32804730)

    HSBC becomes the first bank to issue pre-signed checks to make check writing easier for it's customers. Simply fill in the amount and date and use the checks as easily as their pre-activated debit cards.

    • HSBC becomes the first bank to issue pre-signed checks to make check writing easier for it's customers. Simply fill in the amount and date and use the checks as easily as their pre-activated debit cards.

      Not so funny as you think.

      With all the Royal Mail strikes in London I had a chequebook stolen (probably by a Royal Mail worker) who has consequently gone running around the UK and Europe handing out ten-thousand-pound cheques in my company's name. Fortunately there's been a block put on my account.

  • by Robotron23 (832528) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:41PM (#32804844) Homepage

    An elderly relative of mine is with HSBC. Being quite savvy she liked to browse the Internet for bargains, and inevitably her search took her to eBay. Long story short a scammer sent a faulty item, lifting about £65/$100 from her debit card as payed through Paypal. Obviously the cardinal rule of debit card use is to avoid using one online as much as possible...never use one on eBay.

    With what is certainly an anomaly in Paypal's so expertly rendered services that we now expect of a caring quasi-bank, she found herself delayed from getting her money back. Meanwhile our scammer had apparently left or been banned from Fleabay. So she called HSBC, citing the 'debit protection' they'd included with her current account.

    Explaining the incident to the first man somewhere on the subcontinent was a nightmare. To his credit he seemed very pleased to help, but his listening skills and speaking style were out of touch with a native British English speaker. Simply put my relative couldn't understand half of what he was saying...and the calls degenerated into his profuse apologizing and her asking him to speak slower, politely.

    This went on for a few more calls, two more foreign customer service people abroad went on - until eventually the lodged claim had enough clarity that it warranted getting a person who spoke better. Eventually an employee with English much closer to that of a typical Briton got on the phone, and despite being strenuously nagged over this seventy quid refused to pay because it was against the bank's policy to refund debit transactions.

    But it all ended well as my relation had a cash ISA with the bank - it took a politely worded threat of changing accounts and ISA to a competitor before firmly requesting a superior a few times before an apparant manager reneged on HSBC's refusal and refunded the account in full. A whole lot of headaching for all concerned bar our scammer who apparently did a bunk with a nice chunk of change.

    Moral of the story is to casually check with older/quite naive people who have the Internet but are not as experienced with the world of online shopping. Use credit cards not debit cards; if they are suspicious of credit explain it to them. Else they might have to talk to 'John or 'Richard' or 'Hannah' over at the other end of the commonwealth for hours chasing up. My family member was lucky judging by all the horror stories of 'debit protection' floating around.

    • by oldspewey (1303305) on Monday July 05, 2010 @09:30PM (#32805264)

      my relation had a cash ISA with the bank - it took a politely worded threat of changing accounts and ISA to a competitor

      I still remember the time I had a major bank screw up and erroneously charge me something like $150 in service fees. The entire thing was completely and entirely their fault, but their "policy" was not to reverse the charges in cases like this.

      I calmly explained to the branch manager that I would pull everything out of the bank if they persisted in their decision. At the time, this included a chequing account, two savings accounts, a retirement investment portfolio, and a term deposit that was (rather fortuitously) coming up for renewal. The manager must have thought I was bluffing because she said there's nothing more she could do.

      It took me about 4 weeks to thoroughly unwed myself from that bank and move every last penny to a competing institution, but I must say it was some of the most enjoyable and emotionally satisfying paperwork I've ever done.

      • by ledow (319597)

        And they still got your $150 in service fees (?) and maybe lost one customer out of several million, probably saved even more money by you *not* bothering to complain more / sue their arse - complainers cost a bank a LOT more than anything else.

        When my bank did this to me, I arranged a meeting with the local branch manager, telling them I had a lot of investments I wanted to make. After two hours of arguing about the fees and not letting him leave the room, the charges were cut in half (I wasn't disputing

    • by Tim C (15259)

      That reminds me of something that happened to a work mate a few years ago. His card details were used fraudulently and his account emptied, taking him over his overdraft limit. So he got on to the bank, and got the money refunded pretty quickly.

      A few days later he had to get back on to the bank to get them to refund the charges for going over his overdraft limit.

      They did refund the charges, but you'd have thought that would have been taken care of at the same time...

  • by sirwired (27582) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:56PM (#32804980)

    The lack of even the rudimentary security is precisely the reason I refuse to carry a debit card. Without your knowledge, your checking account is empty and your mortgage bouncing.

    With a credit card, you get to argue with the bank about their money.

    With a debit card, you get to argue with the bank about your money.

    What happens when the bank denies your dispute? With credit cards, you get nastygrams. With debit cards, your mortgage starts bouncing. Again.

    I'll take an ATM card any day of the week over a signature debit card.

    SirWired

    • by Psaakyrn (838406)

      Obvious solution: Have multiple accounts.

      1 account for your debit uses: Never have more than conventional spending change.
      1 account for your savings: This should be a long term account, go ahead with any long-term investment plans with this.
      1 account for your finance issues: This is to pay your utility bills, kids' schooling, mortgage, anything else which requires frequent payment. This account can also be used for your income, though it should be managed such that it never grows too high. There should alwa

  • Can someone explain what the law is regarding banks' responsibility for safeguarding customers' money?

    • See: TARP.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Weezul (52464)

      Debit cards are substantially more dangerous than credit cards since debit cards are EFTs, although some banks offer equivalent protections.

      Imagine your bank sends you a new card because yours will expire soon, but some kids steals your mail and used your card. You never noticed the card went missing since you rarely use it. Kid makes small charges initially but makes larger purchases over 60 days later. You eventually notice the fraudulent activity and tell the card company they are morons for sending a

  • by christoofar (451967) on Monday July 05, 2010 @10:05PM (#32805520)

    You are NOT liable for debit fraud over $50 on your account, provided you notify the bank within 3 days of it occurring. The $50 exemption for banks is to incentivize you to report fraud quickly rather than waiting until the end of the statement cycle and looking at the paper, long after the fraudster has disappeared.

    If your credit sucks too much to get a real credit card through a credit union---go get a secured credit card from people like Public Savings Bank [publicsavings.com] or a credit union that offers secured credit cards. You put up a security deposit and that's your credit line. If you close the account, you get the deposit back. If you get the secured card through some banks like CapOne, etc---they may unsecure the card after a while and return your deposit, which means then you have an unsecured credit card with a credit line.

    Nonetheless... good luck with some of these banks in getting NSF funds due to fraud reversed. Large banks generally do whatever they can to keep their fee income, including pissing you off to the point where you close your account and take all your business away. Large national and regional banks as a whole only get concerned if you're a large customer that has significant deposits; mostly because branch managers do get graded on retail stats like how many new accounts opened and products purchased, etc. Losing a big depositor makes weekly stats look ugly, so they will bend over to save you. They really don't care much about the depositor who can barely keep $1,000/£500 in the bank.

    The same goes with lending products. Customers with excellent credit (which the banks checks periodically by doing soft pulls on the credit bureaus), revolve their accounts somewhat and generate lots of transaction volume are woo'd and if you call to cancel a card--you will get xfer'd to a "customer save" department... ALWAYS manned by native English speakers, where they try to save the account from closure. Contrast that with borrowers with mediocre credit, make only minimum payments, late-pay or don't use their accounts much at all, the bank is happy to see them go.

    You should always use a credit card when making purchases because it's the bank's money on the line, not your own and if you detect fraud, you can ask for a chargeback. Chargebacks cause the merchant to get money wiped off their credit card remittances for the amount of the chargeback.

    I did a chargeback once when a kid at Starbucks rang up my coffee, twice, on two tickets. I only got one receipt but when I checked my credit card statement... two transactions for the same money for the same day hit my account. I clicked on the charge and clicked "Contest charge" and explained why I thought it was wrong. The next day the charge was gone off my statement, and that Starbucks store got $4.96 wiped off their credit card remittances for charging me twice, which leaves it to their store manager to search their records to find out why they got a chargeback and who caused it to happen, etc.

    You can't easily do chargebacks with debit cards because you have to fight your bank. With credit cards it's easy, because Visa/MC/Amex/DISC build purchase protection into their credit card contracts.

    • by number11 (129686)

      You are NOT liable for debit fraud over $50 on your account, provided you notify the bank within 3 days of it occurring. /I?

      Is that true everywhere? ISTM the OP (or maybe just some of the original replies) was in the UK. TWIAVBP.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Monday July 05, 2010 @10:41PM (#32805784)

    I would worry a lot about the statement 'Through our systems and analytics, we focus on the greatest and most active threats in an effort to avoid negatively impacting customer experience.'

    That would seem to indicate they have much worse problems than the pre-authorized debit cards in the mail that must require a lot of resources and planning to take control of.

    Definitely a bank to avoid as both a customer and investor.

  • When I worked in the mortgage industry, everyone said that these people would destroy your credit. I saw instances of them submitting the same account to the 3 credit rating bureaus under different business names so that credit reports made it look like people had way more outstanding debt. I've heard horror stories about them as a lender in general in fact, so much so that I've been given advice to never accept a store credit card that's backed by HSBC. I also briefly did work for them as a real estate
  • I was under the impression this was a fairly common practice (in Europe, never seen it in North America). I do expect they send the pre-activated pin on a different shipment, on a different day. (The usual is about a week apart). TFA doesn't give any information on this crucial point. It doesn't make it totally secure (or acceptable), but somewhat less worse than presented here.

    I think that pre-activated credit card are much worse for the system (and yes, this seems fairly common too). Although you are lega

  • This is a bank that hands the entire contents of a business account to a member of staff who isn't even on the account mandate, AFTER a lawyer has warned them.

    So, no surprise there.

  • So what - this is common practice for repeat issue cards (where they do not have to also send the PIN). The notion of "activating" your card is stupid as the normal way to activate the card is to use it in a cash machine (ATM). They are NOT sending out the card with the PIN printed on them so nobody can use them fraudulently anyway. I really don't see what the issue is here.

  • 'Through our systems and analytics, we focus on the greatest and most active threats in an effort to avoid negatively impacting customer experience.'

    Translating through booblefish gives "Through our posture and orientation of our balance within Earth's gravity field, we focus on our experience that when our cranial crown is applied to our rectal region with sufficient impact, the former can be forced into a state of mechanical immobility, and an extended distance, within the latter."

    Naw, I'm just kidding.

  • I'm not sure how debit cards work outside of New Zealand, however here in New Zealand it is impossible to use a debit card without entering in a PIN code to authenticate yourself to the terminal. In other words signing off a debit card transaction isn't possible. So if a bank were to post a pre-activated card out to a customer, there's no security risk since the customer would have picked a PIN code when they originally signed up for the card in the branch.

    I'm with the ANZ Bank here in New Zealand and they

  • confidence in Uncle Sam indeed!

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