How To Tell A Legitimate Credit Card Transaction

Credit card fraud is prevalent these days, especially with the popularity of online shopping and other transactions. Criminals are becoming nefarious in obtaining credit card information, and consumers find out too late that there are unauthorized transactions on their credit cards. 

Sometimes, you want to authorize someone to use your card, and you want to ensure they are making legitimate credit card transactions. Remember that an authorized user must first authorize your credit card so that you can detect legitimate transactions.


Authorized Vs. Unauthorized Credit Card Transactions

Charges on your credit card that you didn't make are considered unauthorized charges. Furthermore, you did not consent to the use of the authorized credit card. These tend to appear as small amounts since most criminals start with small charges to validate that the card is active. 

If you know that your card was stolen, misplaced, or went missing, you need to be extra cautious and assume that someone may have unauthorized access to your card. Immediately notify your credit card issuer and dispute the charge.

Sometimes, what you thought was an unauthorized charge may be legitimate. This happens when a merchant goes by a different business name than the one you’re familiar with and uses that to reflect the charge in your account. Some credit card bills may not reflect the full details of the charge, which can be confusing when reconciling your charges. 

The best course of action is to find out more information about the charge. Some credit card issuers allow you to download the charge details, or you can call them to ask about it. A practical way is always to keep track of your expenses and note which cards are charged to. This will make reconciling your bills easier. 

Creating Authorized Credit Card Users

Authorized credit card users are allowed to place charges toward someone else’s card but are not required to pay for it. The cards are issued under their name and linked to the primary cardholder responsible for paying the credit card bill. 

Family members like teenagers or a spouse are eligible to be authorized users of credit cards. They can make purchases using the card but can’t manage account details like altering personal information, adding other authorized users, or increasing credit limits. 

One advantage of becoming an authorized credit card user is piggybacking on the credit score of the primary card user. They will enjoy the same good credit standing regardless of zero or bad credit scores by becoming someone else’s authorized credit card user. They can use this to build or repair their credit score in the long run. 

Becoming An Authorized Credit Card User

Only the primary cardholder can add a credit card authorized user. They need to call their card issuer and make the request. This is usually a quick and easy process, and within days, a secondary card with the authorized user's name is mailed to the primary card holder’s address. 

Bear in mind that most card companies charge an authorized user fee. As the primary cardholder, you will be responsible for managing the use of the authorized credit card. Often, secondary cards are given lower spending limits than primary cards. 

It’s up to the cardholder and the authorized user to negotiate payment terms and methods. Sometimes, the authorized user can pay the cardholder directly whatever is owed, and the cardholder settles the bill in full. Other times, the cardholder can give the authorized user access to the card’s account so they can pay their share. 

If the authorized user fails to make the payment, then the sole responsibility of settling that with the card company rests on the shoulders of the cardholder. 

Removing A Credit Card Authorized User

Sometimes circumstances change, and you want to remove an authorized user. Or perhaps you are an authorized user on someone else’s card and want to remove yourself. Both are possible and also quickly accomplished. 

You can simply call the credit card company’s number, typically found at the back of the card, where you can then request to remove or be removed as an authorized user. While authorized users cannot change a credit card account, they can remove themselves. 

Don't forget to inform the cardholder. Plus, if you have any pending payments to settle with the cardholder, make sure arrangements are made towards it. 

Credit cards can be lifesavers or huge stressors, depending on how you use and manage them. While they are susceptible to fraud, following simple steps to secure your card and assigning authorized card users can help you avoid the stress of dealing with unauthorized transactions. 

Read more about the best practices when using your credit card at Processing Card.

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