Banks Are Giving Customers More Control Over Their Debit Card Settings

by on May 13, 2019

Retail banks have been gradually adding debit card management services to their websites and mobile apps to help customers handle situations like misplacing or losing cards or even forgetting their ATM PINs. In the last six months, Corporate Insight’s (CI) Bank Monitor and Mobile Monitor publications reported that six banks from our coverage sets introduced three types of card services: PIN management, card replacement, and temporarily card locking. Now, more than half of Bank Monitor firms offer these services, making them standard across the industry.

CI has seen a notable rise in the number of Bank Monitor firms that offer a card locking feature on their websites, with 26% offering one in 2017 versus 72% offering one now. In our proprietary survey of 1,582 online banking users in July 2018, we found significant customer interest in debit card management services—around 66% of respondents rated the ability to report a card lost/stolen, lock it and replace it online as “very important” or “extremely important” to them.

To differentiate, SunTrust recently unveiled debit card services that let customers restrict card spending by transaction type and set card spending and withdrawal limits; Bank of America similarly added debit card transaction limit settings on its app. Currently, however, less than 25% of Bank Monitor firms provide services that allow customers to set card transaction limits or control card spending—based on location, transaction type and/or merchant type—on firm websites and mobile apps.

Here, we elaborate on the noteworthy debit card management services offered by Ally Bank, BB&T, SunTrust and USAA.

Ally Bank Provides Impressive Card Control Settings

Ally offers the most unique debit card control settings among Bank Monitor firms, but they are strangely hidden behind a standalone Card Controls app—instead of within Ally’s banking app or private site. Ally Bank’s debit card control settings include letting customers set transaction spending limits, restrict international transactions and block transactions based on geolocation, specified region, merchant type and transaction type. After customers download this app, they can then access it from a link on their Ally banking app.

  Ally Bank Card Controls App – Location Controls and Merchant Controls


BB&T and SunTrust Offer Exclusive Card Control Settings

Given BB&T’s and SunTrust’s impending merger—which will result in the sixth largest U.S. bank—we look at their offerings in unison. BB&T and SunTrust allow customers to set daily card spending limits and restrict card purchases based on transaction type, with BB&T listing eight transaction types—including in-store purchases, recurring payments and transfers—and SunTrust four. BB&T offers additional debit card control settings, albeit fewer than Ally Bank, that let users manage where they can use their debit card geographically and the amount they can spend in a single transaction. BB&T and SunTrust conveniently provide these services within their banking apps and websites.

BB&T Transaction Restriction Options: Transaction Types and Region


USAA Offers Distinct Spending Limit Options and Adds a Security Measure

USAA customers can set a spending limit amount on in-store purchases with a PIN, signature-based purchases and cash withdrawals made with a bank teller. USAA also provides a layer of security—customers must enter a one-time passcode to verify their identities before setting any card spending limit. Few banks offer this level of security for debit card management services.

USAA Card Limits


Stay Abreast Of New Debit Card Service Offerings

Although Ally Bank, BB&T, SunTrust and USAA may seem to serve a niche audience with these card control preferences, they actually help the banks set themselves apart from competitors in a saturated and competitive industry. More importantly, they give customers more control over their accounts. We expect to see more banks add debit card services that allow customers more control over how, when and where they use their cards.

Bank Monitor plans to revisit account self-service options in a monthly Report later this year, which will examine debit card management services. For regular reporting on industry best practices and biweekly updates on website and mobile app changes—among other deliverables—subscribe to CI’s Bank Monitor and Mobile Monitor services.