How credit card security features can help protect you

From purchase protection to microchips, credit cards offer a number of features to help keep you safe.

Your credit card is more than just a convenient way to pay for things. Many cards also provide users with a wide range of security options—from fraud and identity theft protection to purchase protection—that could save you time and money. Generally speaking, your credit card:

Helps protect your identity

There are a number of different ways cards protect your identity and information.

  • Microchips: Chip technology is becoming the new global standard for credit and debit cards. The chip creates a unique code for every transaction, so even if a criminal got ahold of information from a purchase, they wouldn’t be able to make a copy of your card to commit fraud.
  • Identifiers: Be sure to sign your card. Together with a photo ID, your signature can protect against fraudulent purchases. Some card issuers offer to place your photo directly on your card, adding an extra layer of security.

Limits your liability

Federal law helps protect you if your credit card is stolen. Many card companies offer you additional protection.

  • If your credit card is stolen: The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) protects you if someone steals your card and makes purchases. Legally, you’re only responsible for up to $50—and many card issuers waive even that amount. Your card company may also offer free fraud monitoring and analysis.
  • If goods or services are defective or not what you ordered: The FCBA lets you dispute a charge with your card issuer and withhold payment for the credit used on damaged or defective goods or services, if you are unable to resolve the dispute with the merchant. You must have attempted to resolve the problem with the merchant first to dispute the purchase. Certain restrictions about the amount and location of purchase apply as well. Your card may also offer purchase protection separate from the FCBA. To find out if you’re covered with this service, check with your issuer for the benefits offered with your card.

Protects you when you travel

If you travel—whether it’s road trips with your family or international trips—your credit card may offer protections that can help you. Just remember to check your terms to understand any limitations.

  • Travel assistance: Many cards offer travel-related services such as flight insurance, baggage protection and roadside assistance. Many major credit card companies also offer emergency assistance to travelers, typically through a hotline open 24/7. Be sure to check your card agreement, which lists what services you may have access to and what terms and conditions may apply.
  • Rental car insurance: Some cards offer insurance to cover loss or damage if you rent a car using your credit card. If you don’t have auto insurance and something happens, your credit card may cover the deductible on the rental policy. It’s a good idea to check with your credit card company to find out if your card provides coverage—and what the coverage terms and conditions are—prior to renting a vehicle. You may also want to see what’s included in your coverage; for example, many card policies won’t cover personal injury or liability. As always, certain terms and conditions likely apply, and you should check your agreement.

There are a number of ways credit card security features work to protect you against fraud, accidently and purchase disputes. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the features your card offers and take them into consideration if you’re thinking about getting a new credit card. Learn more about credit card security from Bank of America.

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The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

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