Yes, banks sometimes decline credit card transactions abroad for your own protection, but it sure can be annoying, especially when you’re not carrying money in the local currency. Visa has a new service for card holders in the US that could prevent that from happening again: one that instantly cross-references your phone’s location with the transaction. If the location data matches, the bank automatically approves your payment, so you can use your cards even in places with high CC fraud rates. The feature will come bundled with banks’ mobile apps starting in April this year, but Visa says it’s completely optional, and you can leave it deactivated in case of privacy concerns.
While it’s unclear if internet connection is needed while a merchant is swiping your card, you have to at least “periodically [connect] to a mobile or WiFi network” while abroad, in order for the app to detect and confirm your location. MasterCard, on the other hand, is investing $20 million into new “cybersecurity-related technology enhancements.” The payment company will start by introducing its SafetyNet tool, which uses an algorithm that can identify fraudulent transactions in real time, in the US this spring.