Yesterday, in the Wiltshire town of Swindon, CCTV imagery was released relating to a circumstance involving a debit card that was accidentally left in the card reader at an Aldi supermarket by its owner on April 6 this year, who had used it to pay for shopping at the checkout.
Nowadays, inserting cards into point-of-sale terminals is becoming less common due to the increased use of contactless devices which have security encryption and identity recognition, such as those on smartphones and watches with which it is possible to purchase high-value items.
Physical debit cards can be used via contactless payment systems in the United Kingdom for transactions up to £100 in value, but for higher value transactions than this, cards need to be inserted into the reader, and the PIN number is entered by a purchaser.
Whilst this might be an amusing juncture at which to quip that it must be a shopping trip by an entire army for it to equate to more than £100 at Aldi, the reality is much more sobering.
Shortly after the transaction was made at the Aldi supermarket in Latham Road, Swindon, and the card was inadvertently left in the card reader by its owner, a light-fingered customer swiftly helped herself to the card and began to use it to buy items for herself according to the report accompanying the released CCTV footage.
Wiltshire Police are now looking to speak to the lady who appears in the CCTV footage, which shows her exiting the supermarket with a trolley full of items paid for fraudulently with the card that she had found in the card reader.
The alleged thief used the card to pay for £20 worth of items at Aldi before going on to use it twice elsewhere before the owner realised what had happened and called the issuer to cancel the card.
Often victims of this type of petty crime are insured, however, the FinTech (“financial technology”) industry has an unwritten responsibility to continue to develop systems and practices that keep abreast of modern technology and how it can be misused, as well as to develop methods by which customers can act easily and quickly if someone does attempt to make an unauthorised transaction.
In the case of traditional debit cards, should a card go missing or be stolen, account holders often must call the issuer on a specific telephone number. This results in waiting to be answered and having to clear security questions, by which time a fraudster may have already used the card.
Monevium has gone a stage further and advanced this cause in the interests of ease of use and account security.
The Monevium smartphone application allows users to cancel physical and virtual cards immediately from within the application and to order new ones via the application, negating the need to wait on the phone in case of mislaying a card or in the unfortunate event of unauthorised use.
Therefore, upon realising that a card is missing, a few seconds later your funds are protected, and nobody will be able to use the card at all.
Yes, most of these unauthorised transactions are insured, and victims of such crimes often can recover funds via such insurance, but surely prevention is even better than cure.
As of 2020, fraud-related losses from debit and credit cards in the United Kingdom stood at £572 million.
Having access to systems such as the ability to cancel and order new cards via an app is one step toward lowering this figure and ensuring less expensive banking for everyone – the insurance to cover these losses must be paid for somehow, therefore It is factored into banking costs and interest charges on credit items.
The more we work toward providing user-friendly, secure electronic wallets and card services, the less often individuals like this opportunist at Aldi in Swindon will be able to obtain free groceries at your expense, and the overall cost of living will be reduced.
Monevium is the Trading Name of Advanced Wallet Solutions Limited, a company registered in the UK under company number 10251711 and is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority under Firm Reference Number 766038.