Gesa Credit Union Responds to Target Breach with Real-Time Mobile Alerts

By Cyndie Martini

When news broke about the theft of Target customers’ 40 million credit and debit card accounts over the 19-day period from Thanksgiving to Dec. 15, issuers of those cards quickly notified their cardholders.  Communication is an important tool in fighting fraud, and Gesa Credit Union is armed with one of the best tools for detecting and stopping fraud: Real-Time Mobile Alerts from VISA.

Real-Time Mobile Alerts allow VISA cardholders to set thresholds that will trigger an immediate transaction alert via text message, email or push notification to a mobile device.  Once an alert is received, a member can verify the transaction details, and if the transaction appears to be irregular, they can immediately contact the credit union to help stop further transactions on the card.

In an effort to empower members to take a more active role in protecting their accounts, Gesa quickly got the word out to its members about enrolling in the alert service and registering their VISA debit and credit cards. Research shows that cardholders enrolled in card-based alerts have a lower fraud-run (the time between the first and last fraud), have fewer fraud incidents, and lower fraud rates.

According to a study of VISA-enrolled accounts, the fraud-run for cards with alerts is as much as two days less.  Real-Time Alerts can also reduce the number of multiple incidents as much as 20 percent.  Most convincing, the average dollar amount lost to fraud per account was more than $200 less for cardholders with Real-Time Alerts.

“We see Real-Time Mobile Alerts from VISA as one of an arsenal of tools we use for detecting and stopping fraud early,” says Jeff Gegen, Gesa’s vice president of risk and product management.  “As criminals become more sophisticated stealing card and account information, we need to be especially vigilant fighting fraud and enlisting our members to help us.”

Cyndie Martini is president and CEO of Member Access Pacific. For more information about the card-management company and its products, go to


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