It is a small world where you can make purchases at any time from any part of the world only. However, using a credit card internationally is not as safe as using it in India. Even if you are not going to use it on your travels to other countries, there have been several reports of scams where stolen cards were used to make international transactions or withdraw cash abroad.
If you own a credit card, especially with an Indian Bank, you have the option to disable international transactions on them. This is a standing instruction you give to the banker and can be changed anytime. You can choose to keep it active when you go on a vacation abroad but use it only for emergencies. You can opt to use a forex card instead. Also Read: Reasons to Avoid Using Credit Cards Abroad
Why is it not safe to use a credit card issued in India to make international transactions?
Whenever you use credit cards to a make a domestic transaction online, banks apply the RBI mandated 2 factor authenitication, which means it has two layers of security- the PIN and the OTP.
In the case of international transactions (on websites registered in other countries), you will only be asked for the credit card number, CVV and expiry date- all of which are available on the card itself. There is no added second layer of authentication. If a fraudster gets a hold of these from your credit card, they could share it will someone outside India. It is, therefore, important to watch your card when you are at merchant outlets. Ask the cashier to swipe the card in front of you and not allow them to take it to a different room citing technical difficulties.
These international transactions need not be conducted outside India but even on various foreign commerce websites from India.
How to disable international transactions on your credit card?
To deactivate international transactions, you can log into your netbanking facility and choose the option under the 'cards' section. You receive a text message on your phone as well as an email notification regarding the same (differs from bank to bank) on completion of the change in settings. Your card can no longer be used in international ATMs, merchant outlets or websites registered outside India.
If you plan on going abroad, you can activate the transactions before you leave, in the same way. You can also choose to set a credit limit on your international transactions rather than deactivating it completely.
Banks are actively working on introducing new methodologies to secure your transactions like moving to EMV chip cards (which cannot be cloned). The RBI has ordered all cards with magnetic strips to be replaced with EMV chips by 31 December 2018. Cards are also blocked whenever the bank suspects unusual activities on it.
You should also take precaution with your card details even when not in use. For example, do not share details of your card like CVV, PIN and OTP with strangers contacting your over phone or email, claiming to help you.
If you get a notification on your phone about a transaction that you did not make, call the bank's 24/7 helpline number (available with all the leading banks) and block your card immediately.