A couple of months ago I met a Head for Points reader who worked for a major mobile phone company who told me about an exciting new security product he was working on for the credit card industry. MBNA has now launched this in the UK, in conjunction with 02.
Most of us, at one point or another, will have had problems using a credit card abroad due to suspected fraud. A couple of years ago, MBNA suspended my card for the following series of ‘suspicious’ transactions – bought stuff in London, bought stuff at Heathrow, bought a subway ticket at JFK airport in New York. Yup, looks suspicious to me ….
However, there is one utility which knows you are abroad the second you arrive – your mobile phone network. As soon as you turn on your phone, your home network is notified and you are sent the statutory message about foreign pricing.
The new Bon Voyage service from 02 takes advantage of this data. Once you have given 02 your consent, they will tell MBNA every time your mobile phone is activated abroad. Card transactions in that country should then be processed without any trouble.
This service is currently being rolled out to selected invitees. If you have not been invited, make sure that your o2 mobile number is registered in your MBNA profile to improve your chances of being invited into the next wave.
(Don’t forget the small print though! “Bon Voyage is not available in the following countries: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Libya, Sierra Leone, Angola, Syria, Sudan and Burma.” Not a concern for most of us, luckily.)