By Jill Jaracz


5 Min. To Read

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As credit card fraud and theft identity are very real fears for many, credit card issuing banks are coming up with solutions to mitigate the fraud. Barclays is the latest bank to hop on that bandwagon, with the release of four new digital features that give cardholders the power to increase and customize the amount of control they have over their credit cards.

The first feature is Barclays' trademarked SecurHold. This feature allows cardholders to temporarily lock their card if it's lost or stolen so that no one can try to use it and rack up charges on your bill. The temporary aspect of this feature is useful in case you simply misplace your card because you don't have to go to the trouble of cancelling your account--and having to move any regularly recurring charges to a new card.

Spending alerts are another new feature, which gives you real-time alerts whenever your card is used for a purchase. Even though you might think that you know you just used your card, this feature lets you know if someone else had tried to use your number. It's also a helpful budgeting reminder if you have subscription services or other regular payments.

The next feature allows you to customize and control where you can use the card by allowing you to select only the merchant types you want to use your card for. Trying to be more careful about eating out? Turn off the restaurant category. Need to cut back on your retail therapy habit? Turn off department stores.

Finally, you can set spending limits for every transaction you make with the card. This is also great from a budgeting standpoint, as you can really make sure you spend only what you can afford to spend. Also, if someone does manage to steal your card number and tries to buy a big-ticket item with it, a transactional spending limit will prevent them from doing so.

The features will be located with the Barclays app so that cardholders can manage their credit card accounts and authorized user accounts on their mobile devices. That last bit is a nice feature, particularly if you're a parent and have added your children as authorized users on your account. You'll be able to limit their spending and even turn off the ability to use the card at different merchants, which can keep your bills lower, if your children haven't quite grasped the finer points of budgeting and spending.

"Barclays is committed to offering our cardmembers innovations that take advantage of new technology to improve their financial health and simplify their lives, and these features deliver on that promise," said Sagar Dalal, head of digital payments and innovation, Barclays US Consumer Bank, in a statement. "From parents of college students who want to limit spending in particular categories, to the consumer who wants to exert more control over their spending at the supermarket or local watering hole, this mobile feature acts as a remote control for cards within the Barclays mobile app."

Features like these can be beneficial in a lot of ways, particularly if your card happens to be compromised and your credit card is stolen. This, unfortunately, is a very real possibility, as hackers continue to breach systems to steal consumers' information and sell it on the Dark Web. In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center found that over 446 million consumer records were exposed in data breaches last year. That data--your data--usually ends up being for sale. Having these controls helps you and card issuers mitigate losses that can happen from card theft.

While theft prevention is helpful, the added bonus is that being able to customize where and how much you spend with your credit card can help you budget better. You just have to remember to abide by your limits and not just use another credit card.

Barclays is the latest bank to increase their credit card security. The release of four new digital features give cardholders the power to increase and customize the amount of control they have over their credit cards.

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