How to enable mobile credit card alerts for purchases and fraud

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As mobile banking becomes increasingly popular, credit card issuers have continued to evolve their methods for keeping cardholders informed about the status of their credit accounts.

And in a world where most people never leave home without a cell phone, quick mobile credit card alerts are helpful ways to ensure you never forget a credit card payment, run too close to your credit card limit or miss a warning of potential fraud. If you don’t already have mobile credit card alerts set up on your smartphone, you may be missing out on the opportunity to monitor spending, track credit card payments and protect yourself from fraud or identity theft.

Here’s what you need to know about mobile credit card alerts, including how to set them up, what to do if you suspect fraud and how mobile banking can help you manage your money.

What are mobile credit card alerts?

Mobile credit card alerts are push notifications designed to keep you informed about the state of your credit card account. These notifications can appear as lock screen notifications, banners or badges depending on the settings you choose. Based on the alerts you select, you may get a notification every time your credit score changes, for example, or you might get notified before a credit card payment is due.

Three of the most useful credit card notifications include purchase alerts, fraud alerts and balance notifications.

Purchase alerts notify you every time a purchase is charged to your card. If you make a lot of small purchases with your card, you can request to only receive a spending alert if your purchase is over a certain amount, like $500. These purchase alerts allow you to track exactly where your money is going, which can help you stick to a budget.

Balance notifications can also help keep you from overspending. These alerts warn you when your credit card balance gets too high, reminding you to cut back on your spending and focus on paying off your credit card before you build up too much debt. Plus, lowering your credit card balance is a great way to boost your credit score.

Lastly, your credit card issuer will send mobile fraud alerts when a suspicious charge hits your credit card account. Some credit card issuers may send these fraud alerts automatically, whether or not you’ve opted in to mobile notifications (if you have mobile notifications turned off, the alert might arrive via text or email).

When you receive a potential fraud alert, you’ll be asked to confirm whether you’ve made the purchase in question — and if you haven’t, your card issuer will work with you to report the fraud and reverse the transaction.

How to set up mobile alerts

You can easily set up mobile alerts through your credit card issuer’s app. In many cases, you’ll be able to customize your alerts. Choose what types of activity should trigger an alert — scheduled payments, past due notices, balance summaries and so on — and whether you want to receive the alert as a push notification, a text message or an email.

Here’s how to set up mobile alerts with some of the most common credit card issuers within your mobile app:

Bank of America

  • Tap “Menu”
  • Tap “Alerts” then navigate to “Settings”
  • Select which alerts you’d like to receive and choose your delivery preferences

Capital One

  • Tap “Profile”
  • Tap “Alerts & Notifications”
  • Tap the bank or credit account you’d like to customize
  • Choose which notifications you’d like to receive and how you’d like to receive them

Chase

  • Tap your profile icon
  • Tap “Manage Alerts”
  • Use the top two menu options to decide which alerts you’d like to receive, then tap “Delivery Preferences” to customize how you’d like to receive them

Citi

  • Tap “Profile”
  • Tap ‘Account Alerts”
  • Choose which alerts you’d like to receive and how you’d like to receive them

Discover

  • Tap “More”
  • Tap “Alerts”
  • Select “Allow Push Notifications”
  • Select the alerts you’d like to receive (some alerts will automatically be selected for you, but you can deselect them if you prefer)

Wells Fargo

  • Tap your account icon
  • Tap “Manage Alerts”
  • Toggle through alert options, enable the alerts you’d like to receive and choose your delivery options

How can alerts protect you from fraud?

Credit card alerts can help protect you from fraud by quickly notifying you of any suspicious or unusual charges.

In some cases, you’ll get credit card fraud alerts about charges you know are legitimate. While using your card internationally, for example, you might get a few suspicious charge alerts from your credit card issuer, since transactions from a new location can be an indication of fraud. It’s easy to then respond to the alert and confirm you made the purchases.

In other cases, you’ll get a fraud alert about a charge you know you didn’t make — which means it’s time to work with your credit card issuer to protect yourself from further credit card fraud and identity theft through measures like issuing new card information or even enabling a credit freeze. The sooner you’re aware of potential fraud and take action to combat it, the easier it can be to resolve.

While credit card fraud alerts can help protect you from fraud, it’s still important to regularly check your credit card statements for unfamiliar charges. If you find a purchase that looks suspicious, contact your credit card issuer to dispute the charge.

Other mobile credit card alerts to consider

In addition to fraud alerts, purchase alerts and balance alerts, your credit card issuer can alert you to everything from credit card statement notices to late payments. If you combine mobile credit card alerts with mobile banking alerts, you can keep track of high credit card balances, low checking account balances, direct deposits, cleared checks and more.

Browse the available alerts within your banks’ and issuers’ mobile apps to find the right combination of helpful alerts for you. To learn more about mobile banking, visit Bankrate’s mobile banking resources — and if you haven’t yet added mobile credit card alerts to your phone, consider updating your notifications.