By Dorothy Tucker

CHICAGO (CBS) — You probably lock your front door when you leave home, your car when you aren’t driving it and your smartphone when you’re not using it. Pretty soon you may be able to lock your credit cards too.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker shows you this new technology trend aimed at keeping you safer.

“I have the peace of mind that no one can get to this account but me,” says debit card user Scott Kilmer.

That’s because he uses an app made by Malauzai Software allows him to lock his debit card when he’s not using it.

“That was really the feature that stood out to me the most,” Kilmer says.

In the past year, Centier Bank in northwest Indiana began offering Malauzai on/off service to customers through its mobile app.

The bank says it saw a spike in customers turning their cards off last fall after Target announced millions of customers’ debit and credit cards were compromised. Nessa Feddis with the American Bankers Association believes this new technology is beneficial, allowing customers more control over their own security.
Feddis says “We’re all familiar with the bank systems that identify suspicious activity, but this is one that actually stops the fraud before the transaction occurs,” Feddis says.

Here in Chicago, MB Financial and BMO Harris Bank are interested in the new technology and told us they’re planning to offer on/off capability sometime in the future.

Similar technology from Ondot will begin showing up through banks and credit unions nationwide next month. What are the benefits?

“In some of the test markets where the product has been deployed for over 12 months. They’ve seen reduction in fraud by as much as 60 percent,” says founder Rachna Ahlawat.

These kinds of apps make customers feel more secure, so they use their cards more often and spend more money.
But some worry it’s only a matter of time before crooks figure out a way around the security.

“If this system becomes more popular, fraudsters of course will then try to break down the barriers,” says Feddis.

Concerning security threats, Ahlawat says “As far as the card numbers are concerned, even if you get access to my application you’re only seeing my card numbers that are masked.. only the last four digits.”

Kilmer trusts his app to keep crooks locked out of his account.

“I know exactly where my money is being spent and better where it’s not being spent,” he says.

Ondot says it is in talks with several major banks and expects one to begin offering the on/off capability before the end of this year.

Dorothy Tucker