The 5 biggest mistakes you're making with card security

Tap, click, press - we're quickly moving towards a cashless society. In 2014, only 48% of purchases made by Brits were made using cash, and mobile payments, whilst on the rise, aren't the future just yet. For now, the humble plastic card is the way to pay.

The flip side of this is cloned cards, fraud and identity theft - and all of the other traps that most of us have fallen victim to at some point or another.

It's not all bad news, though - here are some quick and easy tips to see you through and help you get smarter with your money's security.

1. Keep up-to-date on your bank statements

Obvious, yes. Most of us keep an eye on our statements - thinking we'll know as soon as we see something out of the ordinary - a rogue transaction here or there.

But it's easy to assume that we'll be notified as soon as someone that isn't us starts using our card for purchases online or in-store. The reality is that it could be weeks before your card is actually used, or your details sold to criminals. In the end, this can cost you money and the time spent waiting for a replacement card.

How to stay safe

Pressing 'refresh' on your computer every hour of every day isn't a practical solution, but it's definitely a massive win to check your account every few days. Be sure to check keep on top of your purchases both online and offline. See something you don't recognise? Make a note on the transaction and contact your financial provider right away.

2. Set up real time alerts for when your card is used to make a payment

Let's be honest - it's hard to always make the time to check our receipts and statements. When was the last time you checked the amount on the payment terminal when you used contactless, or double checked the direct debit the moment it came out of your account? Most of us don't see our payments in real time - which means we don't have full clarity over who is spending and how much they're spending on our card.

How to stay safe

Many banks now allow you to set up alerts when purchases are made using your card - you can customize these alerts to let you know when a purchase is made over a certain amount, or when a particular merchant is paid. Get alerts, and be in the know.

Want to know when your money's leaving your account as it happens? Curve sends you instant notifications across all your so that you can easily track any outgoing spend to make sure it's you doing the spending. No more having to check in with your bank to chase up on transactions - just a clear view of your money straight to your smartphone. Better yet - see something you don't like? Stay safe and instantly lock your Curve card with the tap of a button in-app.

3. Shield your PIN when paying and keep it in your head!

In the UK alone, there are 100 million cards in circulation - that's more than one card per person, which means that we're likely to have to deal with more than one PIN each! When paying at an ATM or in-store, it can be difficult to shield your card's PIN as you enter it into the machine. Plus it's tempting to write each PIN down on a post-it note, or have them jotted down somewhere public. Whilst convenient, this can cost you in the long-term...

How to stay safe

Put the 'P' in 'personal when it comes to your PIN - Keep your PIN unique and memorable so that you don't need to store it anywhere other than in your head. With Curve it's easy - just one PIN to access each and every one of your existing cards, leaving them (and sensitive numbers) at home!


4. Keep your cards somewhere safe and memorable

One of the biggest mistakes we can make is treating cards with less care simply because they aren't cash - our bank can always send us a new one, though often at the cost of time and some lengthy phone calls with your bank!

We've all been there - losing our bank card at work or down the back of the sofa, and worrying for days that it's been stolen. For example, even though we know where it is, most of us have put our card down as a 'tab' in our past - but would we write a blank cheque and hand it to the bartender and let them fill it in at the end of the night?

How to stay safe

If you take your card out with you, be conscious about where you store your card - if you don't need it, leave it at home or somewhere safe until you do. And if you take it out with you, be sure to make a note of how you used it and where.

Connected all your cards to Curve? You can now leave them at home, safe and sound, taking Curve out instead. Lost your Curve? Stay safe by locking it instantly in app - and your existing cards are safely ready for you to use until your replacement card shows up.

5. Don't save your details online

We're all online for most of the day - be it at work or at home, and making purchases with the click of a button is great. But online purchases come with a risk when you store your information - what if there's a data breach at your online retailer, or something happens to your phone or laptop? Saving your card details online is a mistake which we can all avoid in an effort to stay more secure.

How to stay safe

Take your time when paying online. Exchanging that quick one click for the reassurance that your card details aren't saved somewhere you can't see them is well worth it, saving you both money and headspace.

Get smarter with your money with these 5 simple tips and tricks, and take back control over your 💳's!

Curve is a single card and app that combines all your existing bank cards into one, allowing you to spend from all your bank cards using just one Curve card, unlocking benefits such as: keeping on top of your business spending on-the-go with real time notifications, managing and tracking your spend in the app, and saving money when you travel with super low foreign exchange fees - all in one place.

Curve is built for freelancers, entrepreneurs, contractors and small business owners, enabling them to make smarter choices with their money. Sign up today at

Alan McAlpine

Product Marketing at Curve 🚀

See more posts from Alan McAlpine