A bank account for internet purchases

  LinH 17:43 25 May 2007

Is it me or do I detect a rather cavalier attitude from banks with regard to internet fraud?

I have a current account that I keep open purely for internet purchases. I only keep a few pounds in it until I buy something, then I transfer the amount required to pay for my purchases from my 'ordinary' current account. This reduces to a minimum the chances of fraud because the account is virtually empty of funds. It does, however, depend on one crucial aspect; this being that the account should never be allowed to go overdrawn.

So, just to be sure that all the loose ends were tied up I contacted my bank to verify the above. We got to the bit where I said that on no account was the account to be allowed to go overdrawn, only to be told:
“ We can't guarantee that we would refuse a payment request but we can arrange an overdraft facility for you”.
I pointed out that this was the very thing I didn't want, but it fell on deaf ears and then came the statement that staggered me:
“If you find that your account has been compromised contact us for a claim form and we will credit your account with the amount taken”.

It seemed lost on them that prevention is better than cure and that it is we, the banks customers, that eventually has to meet the cost of fraud; their attitude left me speechless!

So, is it me or a sign of the times?

  Forum Editor 17:52 25 May 2007

but you're being unwise if you're using a debit card for internet purchases, it's far more sensible to use a credit card. Your card provider will be liable for fraudulent transactions, and you have additional protection if you use a credit card anyway.

My advice is that you ditch the special bank account immediately, and use a credit card from now on.

  LinH 18:09 25 May 2007

Fe, yes, for purchases over £100 I use a credit card but the majority are for amounts far less than this, hence the reason for this 'special' account.

What intrigues me, however, is that you say that my bank is acting quite normally. How? I assume, perhaps wrongly, that if I am the customer and I don't want an overdrtaft I don't have to have one!

Also, when I was repping before I retired several years ago my credit card was compromised to the tune of about £10,000, and you only become aware of it up to a month later when you get your statement. At least with a tightly controlled current account and internet banking you know immediately when money has been taken out.

Credit cards are not the panacea they are made out to be with regard to internet purchasing.

  Forum Editor 18:16 25 May 2007

At least they are until something better comes along.

In the near future we'll probably all be supplied with special PINs for internet use, and we'll have to enter them in addition to other card information when we buy things online. There's no such thing as the perfect system, but for now credit cards are the best thing we have.

If your bank chooses to give you an overdraft facility you don't have to use it.

  LinH 19:28 25 May 2007

FE, sorry about the delay in replying but a Cauliflower cheese with Jersey Royals and Asparagus tips, washed down with a couple of glasses of Jacobs Creek Shiraz (red) was a tad more inviting than Speakers Corner!

So: “if your bank chooses to give you an overdraft facility you don't have to use it”.

Hold on a minute! I always thought, misguidedly perhaps, that it was the customer that made the demands, not the service provider. Giving an overdraft facility without it first being asked for merely promotes fraud whereas we should be looking to prevent it in the first place. No, I cannot accept this way of thinking, to my mind if I try to actively seek to reduce the probability of fraud it should be supported, not rejected with an alternative (and unwanted) offer that merely makes it more likely.


  GANDALF <|:-)> 19:33 25 May 2007

Banks are businesses with shareholders and they make a lot of money from overdrafts, so of course they push them.


  LinH 19:42 25 May 2007

Good evening Gandalf and yes, Banks are businesses that need to make money, there's nothing wrong with that. However, there is everything wrong with being given a facility that has not been asked for, specially in these circumstances where fraud is so prevalent and on the increase.

  HondaMan 19:48 25 May 2007

I use a Cahoot Web-Card for most internet purchases. The advantages are
(1) you sent a credit limit for each purchase allowing for P&P etc.
(2) The number of the card changes for each purchase,
(3) The card is only valid for a very short time and
(4) The amopunts are debited to your "normal" Cahoot card which can remain safely in your desk drawer.

  LinH 19:57 25 May 2007


That's worth looking at, thanks.


  Pine Man 20:21 25 May 2007

I liked the 'old style' credit cards when any goods you purchased could only be delivered to the home address of the cardholder. It certainly wouldn't stop fraud involving services but it would certainly help if such a facility could be introduced again.

  Forum Editor 22:44 25 May 2007

Many online suppliers will not deliver to any address other than that registered as the cardholder's.

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