Numberless Credit Cards – a growing trend

Mastercard has partnered with UNO Digital Bank to issue digital and physical Debit Mastercard cards in the Philippines. The virtual cards will make it easy for customers to transact online, and the physical card can be used at retail PoS outlets or a Mastercard, Maestro, or Cirrus ATMs worldwide.

The card shows only the cardholder’s name and the logos of Mastercard and UNO Digital Bank. This feature averts the risk of personal or financial data theft in case the card is lost or stolen. Card details are instead embedded in its chip for safe transactions.  A cardholder is given the option to lock a card temporarily and to reset the daily transaction limit in-app anytime to prevent misuse. An email or an SMS alert will be sent every time there is a transaction to monitor usage. A cardholder will also be alerted of suspected fraudulent activity.

Numberless cards are a growing trend with credit and debit card providers and are said to be more secure than cards that prominently display banking information. Numberless cards were first introduced in Europe by UK payments company Curve in 2020, but Apple’s numberless credit card was the first mainstream product on the market when it was launched in the US in March 2019. In early 2022, Barclaycard removed numbers from the front of newly-issued credit cards, followed by NatWest in April. Other banks that HSBC and First Direct have also redesigned their debit and credit cards in this way. For cards that have no numbers anywhere, details are usually stored behind a secure login on the bank’s app. This means the app has to be opened every time to access the necessary information.

Numberless cards do not stop fraudsters completely. The fact that a card still exists digitally means there is still a risk that card details can be stolen and used online.

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