Credit Cards Offering Fraud Protection - A Protective Perk

One day at work, my coworker and I decided we’d like to order some food from a local restaurant. I made the order online, and the website must not have been as secure as advertised because less than 24 hours later, I noticed fraudulent charges on my account. It turns out that somehow my credit card information had been compromised, and now somebody was trying to purchase a bunch of concert tickets on Ticketmaster in Spain—more than 4,000 miles away!
When you often read personal finance articles ranking the best credit cards, features like annual fees, cashback, and free access to your credit score are often the things that get the most attention. However, in the case of a data breach, many card issuers also offer benefits like fraud protection or zero liability protection on unauthorized purchases using a stolen card. Thankfully, my credit card was one with $0 fraud liability, so when I talked to my card issuer’s credit card fraud department, they could lock my account and refund the fraudulent purchases.
At first, seeing several hundred dollars worth of fraudulent transactions in my credit card’s mobile app was stressful. However, when I called my credit card company and explained the situation, everything was reversed and properly handled almost instantaneously. As a cardholder who can quickly get unauthorized charges changed thanks to fraud protection, I have peace of mind when making purchases online—and you can, too. Check out the following credit cards offering fraud protection so you can swipe with confidence.

What is fraud protection?

At its heart, fraud protection is precisely what it sounds like: protection from fraudulent activity that your credit card number might be used for. If you have a debit card, getting charges reversed at an ATM or online account for shopping could take weeks, if not months, to be thoroughly investigated. Having fraud protection and using your credit card for most purchases can thus help you safeguard your money and how accessible it is.
Unfortunately, data breaches are becoming more and more common, putting your account number and other sensitive personal details at risk. Identity theft and phishing scams can all jeopardize your finances, so it’s a good idea to consider a credit card that offers fraud protection if you’re looking to sign up for a new account.

Common types of fraud protection

There are a few different services that credit card companies offer their cardholders to help protect them from suspicious activity. Here is a quick overview of two of the most common types of security your credit card issuer may offer.

Fraud detection

One layer of fraud protection is fraud detection when suspicious activity is automatically flagged, and your approval is required for the transaction to go through. In some instances, you’ll be notified immediately via text or email to alert you to the suspicious charges. This is one reason many people are told to let your card issuer know if you’re planning to travel out of town or make a large purchase: you don’t want your card declined due to suspected fraud!

Zero liability

The Fair Credit Billing Act has made it a federal law that any credit card transactions you are not responsible for as a consumer are transactions you do not have any responsibility for. Technically, you have to report that your card has been stolen or compromised in some way first to be able to cash in on that claim. However, most credit card companies go above and beyond what is required by law by offering zero liability no matter what the circumstances are. Zero liability means that you won’t have to pay a dime towards any fraudulent charges you report to your card issuer.

Free credit monitoring

Many credit card companies offer credit monitoring and access to your credit report as an additional complimentary service. Having your free credit report can help you review instances of identity theft or credit card theft beyond just charges on your account. With free credit monitoring services, you can protect yourself against new accounts or loans being taken out in the future using your personal information.

Locking your card

If your card is stolen, many banks and credit card companies have features that allow you to lock your card via mobile app or online remotely, preventing it from being used. Rather than hopping on the phone to talk to a customer support rep, this type of expediency can give you peace of mind since you might notice the unauthorized charges when in your app or online account anyway.

Credit cards offering fraud protection

Most major card issuers have a few different options for opening a credit card with fraud protection. Here’s an overview of some of the best credit cards that feature this service, among their other benefits.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred card

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is already an excellent option for anyone interested in a credit card with solid cashback rewards on everyday expenses like trips to the grocery store, gas stations, and transit. However, its fraud protection features also go above and beyond to give a very robust, secure credit card.
In addition to offering zero liability on purchases, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card has an advanced algorithm for detecting fraud that doesn’t always lock you out when traveling and making a purchase. Best of all, you have the option to use the card contactless by registering it to your smartphone, so you don’t need to worry about a physical card being stolen. These features, combined with the ability to lock your card via mobile app, make the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card a great option for heads of households who want to earn cashback without sacrificing security. Plus, the $95 annual fee is waived for your first year of usage!

Capital One Venture Rewards card

Another great travel card with a 60,000 mileage welcome bonus, the Capital One Venture Rewards card, offers a significant number of travel perks in addition to fraud protection. Especially if you’re worried about tourist pickpockets, you’ll be grateful to know that this credit card can be used for contactless purchases and has card lock capabilities as well. That, combined with zero liability, means you’ll have one less thing to worry about when traveling abroad.
You’ll even get free credit monitoring of your credit score with the Capital One Venture Rewards card. While it has a $95 annual fee, there’s a lot of value supplied by this card from Capital One that goes beyond fraud protection to ensure that the yearly cost is worth the price. For example, with the Capital One Venture Rewards card, you’ll earn 2x miles on every purchase you make, regardless of its category. This means it’s easier than ever to rack up mileage and travel points using the card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred card

Perhaps one of the most popular travel cards out there, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card also offers zero liability coverage, travel protection and cancellation insurance, and free credit monitoring through Chase Credit Journey. Although it has an annual fee of $95, that cost is more than made up for through its generous travel points, as well as a free year of DoorDash’s DashPass and discounts on Peloton memberships.
With a 100,000 point sign-up bonus and the ability to get even more value from your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you’ll be able to squeeze a lot of value from the card in the years following your first year of welcome bonuses. All of those features combine to make the Chase Sapphire Preferred card a great option if you want a secure card to travel with that will offer robust perks.

Discover it Cash Back card

Discover is one of the only credit card issuers on this list offering a $0 annual fee card with $0 fraud liability. They also have excellent customer service and will overnight ship you a replacement card free of charge if you lose your card, or it gets stolen. You can use your Discover card for contactless purchases and monitor your credit score, and report using Discover’s online FICO score tool, too.
As far as cashback cards go, the Discover it Cash Back card also has a generous welcome bonus in the form of a dollar-for-dollar Cash Back Match program for the first year you use your card. That perk, combined with rotating 5% cashback categories and 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, makes the Discover it Cash Back card a worthy option for someone who wants perks, fraud protection, and a $0 annual fee card.

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card is a relatively new credit card option from Bank of America that does away with convoluted cashback tiers and rotating categories to deliver a much simpler approach to cashback. When you use this card, you’ll earn 1.5% cashback on every purchase, every time. It is also a credit card with no annual fee is just another reason you may want to consider this credit card.
You can use the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card for contactless purchases for an additional layer of security when shopping, and it also comes with $0 fraud liability. If you open the card today, you’ll even get $200 in bonus dollars after $1,000 of purchases in the first three months, giving you even more value beyond the security and peace of mind fraud protection offers.

Wells Fargo Active Cash

If you liked the sound of the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card, you’re going to be equally as excited by the Wells Fargo Active Cash credit card. Offering the same $200 welcome bonus as Bank of America, the Wells Fargo Active Cash card will net you 2% in unlimited cashback on every purchase. It also comes with an introductory APR rate of 0% on all purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.
In terms of protection, the Wells Fargo Active Cash card offers zero liability on fraudulent transactions as well as a cell phone protection plan worth $600 if you pay your bill with the card. You’ll also get Visa Signature benefits like concierge service if you use the card for luxury hotels in the Visa network. All of this for a card with a $0 annual fee isn’t too shabby!

Costs/Fees

When it comes to the APR rate of most of the credit cards on this list, your variable rate will run anywhere from 14.99% to 24.99%. Your credit score has a major role in your interest rate, so it’s a good idea to do what you can to boost your score before applying to one of these cards.
As has already been outlined, many cards charge an annual fee of $95. However, due to the Fair Credit Billing Act, zero liability is offered by every card for free. This means that you don’t necessarily need a card with an annual fee to gain access to a credit card with fraud protection. Many people are more concerned about credit card fraud if they frequently travel or spend time overseas, so getting a travel reward credit card that does have a fee might still be the best option for you unless you’re particularly budget-conscious.

Pros/Cons

Pros
  • Layers of protection. Many of the credit cards on this list offer multiple layers of fraud protection, including zero liability for fraudulent purchases, credit monitoring, contactless payment, and the ability to lock your card without calling customer support.
  • Peace of mind. Unlike when you use a debit card, unauthorized transactions are very quickly taken care of if you swiped your credit card to make the purchase.
  • Ubiquitous. Thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act, most credit card issuers have a generous zero liability policy on unauthorized purchases made with your card. This means that fraud protection likely won’t be the most significant deciding factor in your credit card search.
Cons
  • Fraud detection can be a nuisance. Having your card automatically declined when making a large purchase or overseas can be annoying and embarrassing.
  • Best cards have annual fees. Some of the best options for credit cards with a robust bevy of fraud protection features also come with annual fees due to other perks. If you’re budget-conscious, you may not get much more than zero liability protection.
  • Need to be used responsibly. While a debit card offers you less protection than a credit card when it comes to fraud, you’re much less likely to overdraft your account swiping your debit card than you are to overextend the credit you’re using. It’s important always to pay your credit card balance in full each month to avoid getting hit with interest costs.

The bottom line

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to finding a credit card that offers fraud protection. Fraud protection may seem like a small perk to prioritize as you’re shopping around for cards, but it actually can be a great form of defense to protect your finances. Mainly if you do a lot of online shopping, it’s best to utilize a credit card with fraud protection to be safe. This is particularly true since debit card fraud is much more cumbersome to take care of.
While there are many reasons to choose a credit card with good fraud protection, there are still people who may not want to use a credit card at all because they’re not the best at managing debts. Even if you can trust yourself to use your credit card each month responsibly, many of the best cards have annual fees, so your options are more limited if you want a $0 annual fee card with a suite of security features. It’s also worth repeating that any time your card is declined due to suspected fraud, it can be a nuisance to get the situation remedied at the moment without holding up the checkout line.
Since every card issuer offers some form of fraud protection, which credit card with fraud protection you choose is totally up to you, after all, you may or may not be interested in getting cashback rewards, discounts on prepaid gift cards or entertainment parks. The most important thing to do is get a card that offers robust fraud protection via zero liability and other services so that you can have peace of mind while using a credit card that best meets your needs. You’ll be grateful the next time you and your coworker order lunch!
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