‘Freeze’ your Discover card

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Are your prone to leaving your credit card at your favorite restaurant? Or forgetting your wallet at work?

Good news for you, Discover just launched a feature that could minimize the stress associated with those scenarios. Beginning today, the issuer’s personal credit cardholders will be able to turn their plastic “on” and “off” via their smartphone or desktop whenever they misplace it.

Why should you care?

The feature, called “Freeze it® ” is intended to provide peace of mind to consumers, particularly in situations like the ones described above.

Cardholders “know where the card is,” but they can’t get to it right away, says Julie Loeger, senior vice president of marketing for Discover. “They want to be able to manage that window of time in a way that is easy.”

The ability to turn your card “on” and “off” precludes you from having to cancel and get a new card, but still minimizes the chances of incurring fraudulent charges.

The rest of the story

Freeze It’s on/off switch applies to new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. It does allow some account activity to continue. For instance, bills marked as recurring by merchants, returns and rewards redemptions still will be processed when a card is “off.” Cardholders will receive alerts if a transaction is declined while their accounts are frozen.

The service can be activated via the issuer’s mobile app, online or by calling 1-800-Discover. It is currently unavailable to Discover business customers, though Loeger says that will change at some point.

Freeze It is meant to complement a host of other security features Discover provides customers, Loeger says. These features include a zero-liability guarantee, 24/7 card monitoring, email and text alerts when a purchase is made over a specified threshold and new Europay, Mastercard and Visa, or EMV-chip technology.

Discover is the only major credit card issuer to provide this type of feature.

“We have a patent pending,” Loeger says.

Still, similar solutions could hit the marketplace in the future. Card security remains a major concern among credit card issuers (who generally foot the bill for fraudulent charges) and a few financial technology companies have been marketing similar solutions to banks and credit unions over the last year.

Would you use Discover’s new service? Let us know in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter: @JeanineSko.