I remember when I got my first bank card. Gone were the days of standing in line to withdraw a few dollars. Convenience overshadowed any concerns I may have had about security, but I took some safety precautions. I made sure no one could see my pin when I used the machine and I kept my card safe when it wasn’t in use. Unfortunately, those precautions eventually were not enough.

As our technology advances, so do the criminals. Skimming machines became a real concern and many people returned to banking at the teller. I became more careful about which machines I used, opting to stay with the machines inside of my bank. Other safety concerns arose too, but they are all being addressed in kind by Interac to ensure our security.

These are the top concerns today, and how Interac is ensuring our safety:

  • Skimming: One of out two Canadians (49 per cent) is concerned about skimming-related fraud.
    The Interac network protects consumers from skimming-related fraud through chip technology and comprehensive fraud prevention tactics. All ABMs and Interac debit cards have been converted to chip technology – and by the end of 2015, all point-of-sale (POS) terminals will be converted. To date, virtually all cards and ABMs have been converted and 96 per cent of POS terminals.
  • Electronic pickpocketing: Two out five Canadians (40 per cent) are concerned about electronic pickpocketing. When Canadians use Interac Flash, they are safeguarded against counterfeiting and transaction replay types of fraud, including electronic pick-pocketing. As a contactless enhancement of Interac Debit, it protects cardholders with layers of security, including chip technology and spending limits. No single transaction can be more than $100 and total spend without a PIN can not exceed $200. Once a limit is reached, a cardholder must insert their Interac debit card and enter their PIN for verification, i.e., conduct a regular Interac Debit transaction. The limits are then re-set.
  • Retail data breaches: Forty-five percent of Canadians are concerned about retail data breaches. Canadians should know that the Interac network is not susceptible to fraud from retail payment card security breaches, like those recently reported. Unlike credit cards and other debit card products, Interac rules do not allow the number on the front of the payment card to be used as an account number; it is only an identifier for Interac transactions. This means that any data captured or stolen through skimming or a breach is entirely useless to a criminal because it cannot be used to conduct transactions, online or in person. No personal financial information is ever shared or stored with retailers.
  • Online shopping: Thirty-eight per cent of Canadians have concerns about shopping online. Although Canadians are most concerned about the fraud risks associated with online shopping, Interac Online uses unique, encrypted data – meaning the information cannot be duplicated and re-used for a fraudulent transaction. Since the transaction is completed through web banking, no personal information is ever shared with the merchants. These rules also protect cardholders from fraud resulting from payment card data security breaches, such as those recently reported in the media.


You can see on the chart above that exploitation on the Interac network is at an all time low. This is thanks to the continuing efforts of Interac to stay on top of possibilities of fraudulent behaviour, and protect our hard earned cash. This is why I use Interac and don’t let myself be a victim.

In support of Fraud Prevention Month, Interac Association has created a webpage dedicated to raising awareness about payment card security and fraud prevention. For more information, videos and an infographic, please visit: www.interac.ca/security.



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Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


Lifestyle Blogger. Traveler. Writer. Social Media Marketer. @SunwingVacay #Kidcations Expert Panel. Member of ITWA @PTBAssoc IG: familyenroute
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