Christmas shopping hits a fever pitch in mid-December – but for Tony Foster and a raft of other Tesco Bank customers, holiday plans were scuppered after Tesco Bank cancelled their credit cards without warning.
Mr Foster, along with other Tesco Bank customers, received a text message last Wednesday saying their credit cards could no longer be used and would be replaced in 7-11 days.
Tesco Bank said the cancellations were an anti-fraud measure, as a result of a ‘third party compromise’ – though it did not explain the nature of the ‘compromise’ or the identity of the third party.
Just a small proportion of customers were affected, according to Tesco Bank – though The Sun is reporting a number ‘in the ‘hundreds’.
Which? explains what happened and what you should do if you’re affected.
Why are Tesco Bank cards being cancelled?
Tesco Bank said the cards were cancelled as a precautionary measure to protect customers’ accounts. It acted after receiving notification of a ‘compromise’ at a third party organisation unconnected to Tesco Bank.
The credit cards were cancelled with immediate effect. New cards were issued, and are expected to have reached customers by the end of this week.
Tesco Bank also urged customers who had noticed fraudulent activity on their accounts to call the bank immediately. However, it could not confirm whether data had been compromised, or whether customers’ personal details had been accessed.
A spokesperson for Tesco Bank said: ‘We take the security of our customers’ accounts very seriously and take every measure possible to protect customers from fraudulent activity.
‘As a result of routine industry-wide fraud protection measures, we have reissued a number of credit cards as a precautionary measure. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused as a result’.
Below is the text message customers received.
No credit card three weeks from Christmas
The cancellations left Tony Foster without any access to a credit card – both his and his wife’s cards were cancelled, and Tesco Bank is their only credit card provider.
Mr Foster now worries that his details may have been exposed by a security breach. To make payments online, Mr Foster has been forced to use his Visa debit card, which he fears may leave him vulnerable to other security breaches, or even fraud on his current account.
For Mr Foster, one of the major draws of Tesco Bank is their Clubcard loyalty scheme. To earn points, he puts most of his monthly card payment expenditure through Clubcard. This month, he says he’ll miss out on at least a weeks’ worth of points.
He’s also unsure how to manage subscriptions linked to his now defunct card which are payable this week, or refunds that need to be processed through the cancelled card.
What to do if your card has been cancelled
If you find yourself without a credit card, especially in a busy shopping period, you can take the following steps:
- Be wary of using your debit card online. Credit card purchases are covered by s75, allowing you to claim back your money if things go wrong with a purchase. Debit cards don’t attract a similar level of protection from card providers – so exercise caution, especially when buying from overseas or from sites you’re not familiar with.
- Monitor activity on your credit card. It’s good practice to keep an eye on your credit card bill so that you can spot any unusual activity. If you do find a payment that you didn’t authorise, notify your credit card provider immediately
- Keep track of your payments. If you have payments linked to your credit card, make sure you’re aware of them, and arrange an alternative payment option
- Avoid personal loans or overdrafts with high interest. If you’re left in the lurch financially, you may be tempted to dip into your overdraft or take out a personal loan. But the interest on these products can escalate quickly and leave you even worse off. If you do decide to go down this route, make sure you fully understand how much interest will be payable – and have a clear plan for paying off your debt.
Want to find the best credit card for your circumstances? Which? has reviewed credit card providers to find the best deals.