Fintech Saved Me from a Huge Headache Today

Tyler Linsten Personal Finance

Financial technology isn’t so bad, after all. 

Earlier this morning my phone buzzed, as it tends to do excessively. This notification, however, wasn’t just another headline about another Mariners player hitting the DL. This time it was a heads up from the app of my credit card company that a $0.99 transaction had been made on my card. The source of that charge was a big red flag: It was from iTunes.

If you know me at all then you’ll know I’m a huge Google Kool-Aid drinker so something from iTunes rings all kind of alarm bells. I quickly logged into my account and disputed the charge and put a freeze on the account. I then notified Citi who recommended I close the account and get a new card, which I promptly did. After I looked again at the transactions I saw that the fraudsters had already snuck in two more $0.99 transactions before I managed to hit “freeze.”

Now, for all the unnecessary stuff we can be driven to do thanks to financial technology (see: cryptocurrency, Robin Hood, Acorns, etc), I want to recognize some of the good. If I hadn’t turned on push notifications for all transactions on my card, which is something I definitely recommend everyone do, I would have never shut this down in time. If this were, say, ten years ago, I would have been lucky to notice the charge within a few days since the only way to patrol a credit card account was manually logging in. The bad guys would have seen that the card worked, and cranked up either their volume of purchases or the price of what they bought.

Score one for fintech.