How to Set Up Credit Card Alerts for Fraud and Purchases

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Credit card fraud is one of the most common identity theft scams, affecting more than 365,000 Americans last year, according to Federal Trade Commission data. Fortunately, taking some simple precautions can help protect your identity—and your bank account—from credit card criminals.

Setting up credit card alerts on your card issuer's mobile app ensures you get notified of account activity on your smartphone so you can take immediate action if you see something suspicious. Here's how to set up credit card alerts for cards from each of the major credit card issuers.

Types of Credit Card Alerts

There are several different types of alerts you can set on your credit cards. While these may vary slightly from one issuer to another, most credit card companies allow you to set the following alerts:

  • Purchase alert: Get alerted every time a purchase is made, or only for purchases over a certain dollar amount. You may also be able to get more details; for example, Capital One lets you enable notifications including the amount of the purchase and information about the merchant.
  • Bill due date reminders: Avoid missing a payment by signing up for reminders that let you know when your next payment is due.
  • Payments posted: Keep tabs on your payments to make sure they post on time.
  • Balance updates: Monitor your spending by receiving balance updates.
  • Foreign purchases: A purchase in another country when you're in the U.S. is a warning sign of fraud.
  • Cash advances: Crooks may take cash advances on your account.
  • Balance transfers: Identity thieves might try to transfer their high-interest balances to your card, leaving you responsible for payment.

How to Set Up Mobile Credit Card Alerts

You can receive credit card alerts via text, email and/or push notification. Using the credit card issuer's mobile app to set up alerts and enabling push notification ensures you're alerted quickly. Here's how to set up credit card alerts for the major card issuers.

American Express

  1. Tap Account
  2. Under Settings, tap Notifications
  3. Select the alerts you want to receive

Bank of America

  1. Tap Menu
  2. Tap Alerts, then Settings
  3. Select the alerts you want to receive

Capital One

  1. Tap your profile icon
  2. Tap Alerts Notifications
  3. Select your account, then the alerts you want to receive

Citi

  1. Tap your profile icon
  2. Under Settings, tap Account Alerts
  3. Select your account, then the alerts you want to receive

Chase

  1. Tap your profile icon
  2. Under Alerts Messages, tap Manage Alerts
  3. Select the alerts you want to receive

Discover

  1. Tap More
  2. Under Profile Settings, tap Alerts
  3. Select Allow Push Notifications, then the alerts you want to receive

How Can Credit Card Alerts Help You?

Credit card alerts can warn you of fraud and allow you to take swift action. For example, if you notice a purchase you didn't make, you can quickly notify your card issuer and file a police report if necessary. Your card issuer will cancel your card and issue a new one.

You should check your credit report regularly to make sure all the information there is correct; this is especially critical after discovering credit card fraud. The criminal could have opened new credit cards or other credit accounts using your identity. Fraudulent credit card activity that appears in your credit report can negatively affect your credit score unless you have it removed, which you can do by contacting your card issuer or filing a dispute with the credit bureau on whose report it appears.

To protect against future fraud, consider placing a fraud alert, also called a security alert, on your credit report. This requires credit grantors to confirm your identity before issuing new credit in your name.

Fighting fraud isn't the only thing credit card alerts can do. Receiving alerts about your balance or purchases can help you stay on top of your spending, stick to a budget or monitor an authorized user's spending.

Your payment history with credit cards and other credit accounts is the single biggest factor in your FICO® Score , the most commonly used credit scoring model. Alerts about payment due dates remind you to pay your bill on time, which can boost your credit score.

Monitor Your Credit and Stay Alert

Having a good credit score can help you get approved for credit cards and loans, and can qualify you for lower interest rates and favorable terms. It can even make it easier to get an apartment or a job. To protect your credit, consider signing up for free credit monitoring from Experian, which tracks your credit score, helps you stay on top of spending and sends real-time alerts of key changes to your credit report. Armed with credit card alerts on your mobile credit card app and credit monitoring alerts from Experian, you'll be better prepared to fight fraud.

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