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How To Monitor Your Credit Card Activity - For Free

Updated: Feb 15

You might one or more credit cards. I have one and everyone reading this blog has at least one credit card minimum.


Although 22% of U.S. adults don’t have a credit card, it is still a good idea to have at least one.



credit card users in the US

Sources: www.newyorkfed.org | files.consumerfinance.gov | www.federalreserve.gov


What Is A Credit Card Alert?

A credit card alert is an electronic alert that banks send you whenever there is a transaction happen in your credit card account.


Even if you are that person who logs in to your online credit card account every other day to see your card transactions, these alerts notify you as soon as there is an activity in your card.


One of the important things to do as a credit card holder is to monitor the activity going on in your card. The so call transactions in your account need to be monitored and you need to watch for any fraudulent activity or an unintended charge.


Our day to day lives are already getting busier. From tens of bills, we get in email as PDF and the never-ending promotional emails. These distractions often make us forget our precious credit card where who knows what activity is going on until we log in and see it for yourself?


Now imagine if you have 2 or 3 credit cards, it gets even crazier. You might be a shrew money handler and save money to the best of your knowledge. Still, things can go out of control without your knowledge.


You need to keep an automated system to track your transactions and report to you automatically and immediately. The are several ways to do this and some are very easy one-time-setup-and-forget.


Even if you use your card once a week, it is good to set up this credit card transaction alerts to alert you of any fraudulent activity. Here is how you can monitor your credit card or even debit card for that matter, in an automated way!


Step 1:

Log in to your credit card account. Look for your account profile and then go to the alert and notifications section (if you are using an American Express credit card).

Most credit/debit card online account services have this Account Alerts section where you can set up alerts.


Step 2:

Go through all the types of alerts and notification types. You don't have to select each and every type of alert displayed there.


The most important of the alert you need to look at are the fraud alerts and payment activity alerts.


signing up for credit card alerts

You have the option to enable email only or text only or even both of them, so you get a notification in your email as well as a text message on your phone.



signing up for credit card payment alerts

Setup similar alerts for payment activity too. There are especially some alerts that are a must and you should enable them for sure.


For debit cards, it is highly recommended to set up the following type of alerts.


1) Low Balance Alert

Setup up this low balance alert and specify a minimum amount. If your bank account balance goes below this amount, you will get alerted. This will help you to avoid overdraft fees.



2) Large Purchase Alert

Once you setup this alert, you will get notified whenever there is a large purchase. Very helpful to give you the assurance that it is your large purchase and not someone else.



3) High Balance Alert

This alert might not make sense immediately but when you set up this alert it will serve its purpose. You will get alerted when the balance exceeds say $10, 000 in your checking account. Then you can think about keeping $10, 000 in a checking account and move the rest of the money to a savings account.



4) Large ATM Money Withdrawal Alert

Let's you usually withdraw $100 to $300 max from ATMs. You can set up and max withdrawal alert of $350 or $300. You will get an alert if there is a withdrawal that exceeds this amount.



5) Unusual Activity Alert

This alert might have been already setup but make sure you set it up especially when you are going on a vacation. If the bank suspects a particular transaction to be fraudulent, you will be alerted immediately.



6) Profile Change Alert

Very important alert since it notifies any changes that are made without your knowledge and you can take action on it as soon as it happened. If someone changed your password you will get notified and you can check if that is you who changed the password or someone hacked in your account and tried to change your password.


7) Direct Deposit Alert

Set up this alert and you will be notified whenever you have a paycheck deposit in your account. Always good news when you get this type of alert for sure!


Conclusion:

Once you have set up an automated alerting system, you can stay on top of all activity on your card. This is an instantaneous alert and you can take action on any suspicious activity. Report the activity to the card company and you have just reported this on time.



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