Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Banks try to attract customers, offer card protection schemes

There has been increase in credit card losses and even the number of credit card takers has also reduced significantly, therefore some of the banks introducing schemes that provide customers coverage of fraudulent transactions in case of loss or theft of credit and debit cards.

In India, currently two banks are offering the scheme — Citibank and Kotak Mahindra Bank in association with CPP Assistance Services Pvt Ltd, a UK-based firm. Card Protection Program (CPP) is one that assists customers by blocking all cards — debit and credit cards — in case of theft and loss, both before and after reporting. CPP also assists customers with emergency cash, travel and hotel assistance, thus taking care of all their needs in any exigency.

There is no restriction customers have the choice of signing up for any number of cards and of any bank for the program.

CPP offers two plans, a plan having an annual fee of Rs 950, customers can get coverage of up to Rs 50,000 of fraudulent transactions before notification. For Rs 1 lakh coverage, the annual fee is Rs 1,250. After the cardholder has signed up for the scheme, transactions done seven days prior to the date of reporting are covered.

If transactions take place after notification of the theft or loss, the coverage is as high as Rs 15-20 lakh.

Mr Subrat Pani, Business Head (Cards), Kotak Bank told Kotak Bank has launched the scheme as a pilot project about two weeks ago and over 1,000 of the bank’s existing cardholders have already been registered for the scheme.

He informed the bank is already offering a protection program for its Platinum and Signature credit cards.

Kotak Bank aims to have a card base of 2.5 lakh by 2009. The next step of the bank would be to cover e-commerce frauds that happen in internet transactions, Mr Pani said.

Earlier this month Citibank had launched a similar scheme. A press release having an announcement of the launch of the program had quoted Mr Sandeep Bhalla, Business Manager (Cards), Citibank India, as saying, “Regulators have strongly recommended that banks introduce a cover to take care of the liabilities arising out of lost cards, and Citicards has provided such a solution to our customer base”.

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