Magazine article American Banker

B of A to Play Up Security Features in New Promo

Magazine article American Banker

B of A to Play Up Security Features in New Promo

Article excerpt

In what looks like a sign that privacy and online security concerns have crept back to the top of the agenda, Bank of America Corp. said Wednesday that it plans to introduce and promote heavily a free package of anti-fraud features for its credit and debit card products.

Only one feature is particularly new, a promise to make whole by the end of the next business day any customer who reports fraudulent activity within 60 days of the bank statement on which the transaction is listed. But the Total Security Protection program is meant to call consumer attention to behind-the-scenes safeguards the company (and, indeed, most competitors) already has. These include 0% liability, a privacy policy, an optional photo on the front of the card, and neural networks for fraud monitoring.

In conjunction with the new promotion, which will be introduced Tuesday, Bank of America will begin offering Verified by Visa, an e-commerce program that enables cardholders to attach personal identification numbers to their cards. National and local marketing blitzes costing $26 million will ensue, including a campaign for a Hispanic audience that will start Wednesday.

"I think it's fair to say this is the first financial institution that packaged all these things in a compelling way," said Robert E. Whyte, Bank of America's debit products executive. "We believe this is a long-term strategy, and we're going to stick with it."

Though card fraud is low in the United States, "the perception and ... concern is much higher," Mr. Whyte said.

Under the current policy, a customer reporting fraudulent transactions on a card might not be reimbursed for as long as 10 days while the bank investigated the claim. Under the new policy, the Charlotte company will still investigate a disputed transaction, but "if the customer indicates to us 'I did not do it,' we're going to reimburse him," Mr. …

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