Visa® Purchase Alerts FAQ
What are Purchase Alerts?
Purchase Alerts are messages sent to your email or mobile phone to help you manage and track your signature-based Visa® credit and/or debit card transactions. Alerts provide near real-time1 notification of transaction activity based on your alert settings. You select from preset alerts and specify the settings for the alerts you want to receive (for example, the option to be notified when a transaction exceeds a specific value). Information in the alert includes the amount of the transaction, the merchant name and location (if available), and the last 4 digits of the Visa card used. Alerts can be sent to an e-mail address or to a mobile phone as an SMS text message.
Does Mobile Card Fraud Alert Service replace Visa® Purchase Alerts?
How is Mobile Fraud Alert different from Purchase Alerts?
Visa Purchase Alerts are a one-way1 text communication that sends you notifications based on criteria that you select (i.e., international transactions, online transactions, transactions above “x” dollars, etc.). They’re available only with Visa credit and debit cards.
Mobile Fraud Alert is a two-way2 text communication generated by our internal Fraud Detection System based on what the bank sees as a possible suspicious transaction. The Mobile Card Fraud Alert lets you reply to the alert with a text message, which communicates with our Fraud Detection System, saving you the time of having to contact Customer Service about activity. Mobile Fraud Alerts are available with both Visa and MasterCard® credit and debit cards.
Do I need Mobile Card Fraud Alert Service if I already have Purchase Alerts?
Mobile Card Fraud Alert Service gives you a higher level of fraud prevention and faster time-to-resolution. With Fraud Alerts, when the bank suspects fraudulent activity, your account is suspended until we confirm the activity is valid and authorized by you. This can be done quickly using Mobile Card Fraud Alert Service, which as a two-way2 text communication system sends you a text that you can quickly respond to in order to verify a purchase as legitimate or fraudulent. It gives you faster notification and potential response time than with a phone call.
Purchase Alerts are a one-way1 text communication that sends you notification by phone or text (based on your choice) on purchase criteria you select (i.e. international transactions, online transactions or transactions above “x” dollars, etc.) You can’t respond to a Purchase Alert using a text message. You have to call the bank.
Fraud alerts are an excellent addition to Visa Purchase Alerts and add any activity the bank may notice in addition to the criteria you select with your Purchase Alerts. Additionally, they are available with both Visa and MasterCard credit cards where Purchase Alerts are available only with Visa cards.
What are the benefits of Purchase Alerts?
The advantages of Purchase Alerts are that they:
- Let you monitor your card's signature-based purchase transactions in near-real-time2.
- Offer you peace of mind by providing timely information that helps you monitor your Visa card for suspicious activity.
- Give you a tool to help you manage your money.
What type of cards can I enroll in Purchase Alerts?
You can enroll most Visa credit and debit cards3. For debit cards, Purchase Alerts are not available for purchases that require you enter a PIN number. You can enroll your card if you’re sharing an account; the primary account holder on the card designates the Purchase Alert settings. Purchase Alerts are available for business credit cards as well. Note: Purchase Alerts are not available on business purchasing cards or commercial cards at this time.
Can multiple Visa credit cards on one account receive Purchase Alerts?
Yes. Purchase Alerts can be sent to up to two cardholders on the same account. One cardholder receives an SMS message and one cardholder receives the e-mail alert message. The primary account holder designates the mobile number that receives the SMS message alert and the e-mail account that receives the e-mail alert.
Can two debit cards on the same checking account receive Purchase Alerts?
Yes. Two debit cardholders who share the same account can each receive Purchase Alerts. Each cardholder logs in to their Zions® Online Banking account to enroll in Purchase Alerts, customize his/her Purchase Alert choices and designate if he/she wants to receive SMS alert or e-mail messages.
Can I enroll my Visa business card in Purchase Alerts?
Yes3. Purchase Alerts can be sent to business cardholders with the exception of purchase cards and commercial cards. Only the company system administrator (CSA), however, can set up or manage Purchase Alerts. The CSA can set up and manage Purchase Alerts by logging in to Online Banking.
Will the CSA be the recipient of the Purchase Alerts for all cards enrolled?
The CSA has the option to set up Purchase Alerts to either be sent to a centralized e-mail account/mobile phone or to the individual cardholder’s e-mail address/mobile phone.
Can I have different Purchase Alerts settings for different cards or will all my cards be enrolled with the same alert selection setting?
Each card can be set up with unique alert settings.
Is there a charge to enroll in Purchase Alerts?
You can enroll in Purchase Alerts at no charge from Zions Bank3. Standard mobile text and data charges apply for SMS message alerts.
How quickly after I enroll in Purchase Alerts will I begin receiving alerts?
After you enroll, you will immediately begin receiving alert messages4.
Can I enroll in Purchase Alerts using my mobile device?
The Visa enrollment page is currently not developed to work with mobile devices. An error will occur and state, “An error has occurred while performing some function.”
What types of Purchase Alerts are available?
The following alerts are available:
- Threshold transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase amount is greater than a preset dollar amount.
- Card-not-present transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase is made without having to physically present the card at the point of sale, such as when a purchase is made online or by phone.
- International transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase is made outside the country that issued the Visa card.
- Gasoline transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase is made at a gas station (i.e., fuel, car wash)
- Declined transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase is made and subsequently declined for any reason.
How do I enroll in Purchase Alerts?
Step-by-step instructions for enrolling in Purchase Alert are:
- Log in to your Online Banking account
- Navigate to the Services tab (for consumer accounts)
- Select Purchase Alerts
- Select the card(s) for which you want to set up alerts
- Review enrollment information and accept the Terms and Conditions
- Enter the mobile number and/or email address where you want to receive alerts
- Select the alert options you want to receive
- Click "Save updates" to save your settings
What information is required for enrollment?
You must provide your:
- Email address (to receive email alert messages) and/or
- Mobile phone number (to receive SMS alert messages)
For your protection, we will never ask you to provide your Visa card account information for the alerts service.
Can I customize the threshold transaction amounts based on my personal preference? If so, how do I change the settings?
Yes. You can change the threshold transaction amount at any time by following these steps:
- Log in to your Online Banking account
- Select the Services Tab
- Select Purchase Alerts
- Select the card(s) you want to customize the threshold transaction amount for
- Customize the threshold transaction amount in the transaction amount window
- Click "Save updates" to save your settings
Where are Purchase Alerts sent?
Alerts can be sent, depending on your preference, to:
- Your email inbox
- Your mobile phone’s default SMS inbox
When your mobile phone receives an SMS alert message in your default SMS inbox, your mobile phone's notification mechanism is triggered.
What will happen when I receive a Purchase Alert?
For email alert messages, you receive an email in your email inbox.
SMS alert messages are handled by your mobile phone in the same way as any other message that is received while you’re on a call: it will trigger the handset setting that you have set up (i.e., tone, vibration or other related features). Your call shouldn’t be interrupted.
Can I receive Purchase Alerts on my mobile phone?
In the US, you can receive Purchase Alerts on your mobile phone as long as your mobile carrier supports the service, you have a wireless service plan that allows for the receipt of text messages and you have adequate wireless data service coverage in your area at the time the alert is being delivered to your mobile phone. Mobile carriers supporting the service include, without limitation, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile USA. If you have a different mobile carrier, or are unsure of the details of your wireless service, ask your mobile carrier for information.
Will my mobile carrier charge me for Purchase Alerts?
Depending on your wireless service plan, standard text messaging rates from your mobile carrier may apply to SMS alert messages. You should consult your plan. If you have any questions about whether you’re charged for standard text messages, please contact your mobile carrier's Customer Service department.
Do Purchase Alerts show my Visa card number?
No. For your protection, only the last 4 digits of your Visa card number are displayed in an alert.
What happens to my enrollment if I lose my mobile phone?
Go to the alerts web site and register your new phone number. You’ll be sent a validation code via SMS message. You’ll need to enter this validation code on the alerts web site. After successfully validating your new mobile phone number, all existing triggers will apply, and you’ll continue to receive alerts as before.
What happens if I change my mobile phone number?
If you change your mobile phone number, you’ll need to go to the mobile/email preference page of the alerts web site and register the new number. You’ll be sent a validation code via SMS message. You’ll need to enter this validation code on the alerts web site. After successfully validating your new mobile phone number, all existing triggers will apply and you’ll continue to receive alerts as before.
What happens if I change mobile carriers, but keep my mobile phone number?
If you change mobile carriers, but keep your mobile phone number, you still have to confirm that you want to continue receiving alerts via SMS. You’ll be prompted via SMS message to confirm that you want to continue receiving alerts on that phone number under the new carrier. If you respond “yes” to the text message, alerts will continue to be sent to your mobile phone. Otherwise, you’ll need to visit the mobile/email preferences page to update your mobile phone number. You must complete the process of receiving a validation code via SMS message and entering it on the alerts web site to confirm the new carrier and continue to receive alerts.
Can I enroll another authorized user on my Visa card for Purchase Alerts?
Yes. Simply add the authorized user’s mobile phone number and email address when you register as the primary cardholder. Note: If you remove the authorized user from your account after you’ve registered him/her for alerts, deleting his/her information from the registration page will stop him/her from continuing to receive alerts.
Do I receive Purchase Alerts if I share the enrolled Visa card with another person?
Yes. You’ll both receive alerts if you both have the same Visa card number and both enroll in purchase alerts.
If my transaction meets the criteria for more than one Purchase Alert trigger, do I receive multiple alerts?
No. You receive only one alert per transaction based on the alert type priority:
- Declined transaction
- Gasoline purchase transaction
- International transaction
- Card not present transaction
- Threshold transaction
Do I receive a Purchase Alert when I return an item I’ve purchased?
No. You receive alerts for purchase transactions only, not for returns, refunds and other adjustments.
Can I have email Purchase Alert delivered to my mobile phone?
Yes, you can have email alert messages delivered to your mobile phone, but only if:
- You choose to receive email alert messages and provide a valid email address during the enrollment process
- You own a mobile phone that is able to receive email messages
What are the differences between the email formats for Purchase Alerts?
If you’ve enrolled for the Purchase Alerts via email, the alerts service gives you the flexibility to customize email alert messages and:
- Choose “HTML” to receive emails with formatted text and graphics
- Choose “rich text” to receive emails with formatted text but no graphics
- Choose “plain text” to receive emails in plain text only, (no formatting or graphics)
If you’ve only enrolled for the Purchase Alerts via SMS messages, you don't need to worry about email formats, as your bank will not send you alerts via email.
How do I opt-out of Purchase Alerts?
To opt-out of receiving alerts at any time, take one of the following actions:
- Uncheck all the boxes on the Manage Alerts page of the alerts web site. You’ll still be enrolled in the service, but won’t receive alerts. If you want to start receiving alerts again, simply return to the alerts web site and select your options.
- Opt out of the service using the Opt-Out page of the alerts web site. You’ll stop receiving alerts and be officially unenrolled from the service. If you want to start receiving alerts again, you’ll need to re-enroll.
What if I receive a Purchase Alert for a transaction I don’t recognize?
Check to see if the unfamiliar transaction is one of the following:
- A large purchase that was divided into smaller transactions.
- An aggregated charge (several small purchases combined into one, such as buying $0.99 songs online).
- A purchase initiated by an authorized cardholder who has the same Visa card number.
- An authorization charge from a restaurant or hotel.
If you still can't identify the transaction, call the number on the back of your Visa card to report the activity as quickly as possible.
Why did I receive several Purchase Alerts for a single transaction?
This rarely occurs, but can happen if a merchant:
- Is a portal, meaning the merchant sells merchandise from other merchants (i.e., Amazon.com). If you purchased multiple items, each merchant may charge separately for its portion.
- Bills taxes separately from the total sale, as airlines often do.
- Has to resend the transaction information to Visa because the initial authorization expired.
- Requests an initial authorization amount of $1 or some other small amount to verify that your account is valid.
If you experience this problem repeatedly, call the number on the back of your Visa card.
Why did I receive one Purchase Alert for several transactions?
Certain transactions—such as buying $0.99 songs online—may be aggregated into one large transaction.
Why did I receive a Purchase Alert hours (or days) after the transaction occurred?
Occasionally an alert is delayed if a merchant doesn't immediately submit your transaction information to Visa for processing. The merchant may be waiting until your order ships to do so or may not have immediate access to a power source for transmitting data.
Why did I receive a Purchase Alert for an online purchase before I even submitted the transaction?
Certain transactions may trigger an initial authorization amount of $1 or some other small amount to verify that your Visa card is valid. You’ll probably receive a second alert for the actual purchase amount when you submit your online purchase. Note that you will only be charged for the actual amount of your purchase.
Why did I receive a Purchase Alert for a $1 transaction—or some other small amount—when I made an online purchase?
Some online merchants may request an initial authorization amount of $1 or some other small amount to verify that your account is valid. Alerts are triggered based on the initial authorization amount, so in this case you will probably receive a second alert for the actual purchase amount when the merchant submits your online purchase. Note that you’ll only be charged for the actual amount of your purchase.
Why didn’t I receive a Purchase Alert when I expected one?
Alerts are not sent if the:
- Dollar amount of your transaction is lower than the amount you specified for your alerts.
- Merchant processes transactions through the bank's system instead of Visa's system.
- Merchant hasn’t yet submitted the transaction information to Visa.
- Your mobile carrier drops the message.
- Your mobile phone remains out of the coverage area at the time Visa pushes out the alert and the phone remains out of coverage for a period of time after that.
- Your mobile carrier blocks the SMS messages, or your phone plan doesn’t include SMS message service.
Why is the amount in the Purchase Alert different from the amount on my restaurant bill?
Alerts are triggered based on the initial authorization amount that the restaurant sends to Visa, which may or may not include the estimated tip, and isn’t necessarily the final amount you signed for.
Why is the amount in the Purchase Alert different from the amount on my hotel bill?
Alerts are triggered based on the initial authorization amount the hotel sends to Visa, which doesn't include discretionary charges, such as room service, parking, dry cleaning and wireless service.
Why is the amount not in the Purchase Alert?
Some businesses, such as restaurants, hotels and rental car companies, send an estimated transaction amount to Visa for an initial authorization. If the estimated amount meets the transaction amount threshold that you’ve set up, Visa sends you an alert to let you know that your card has been used without specifying the amount.
Why is the merchant's name not in the Purchase Alert?
The merchant's name is provided in the alert if it’s available. Please check the transaction in Online Banking for more details.
How can I find out where a specific purchase was made?
The bank may be able to help you determine the merchant's actual location. The alert includes the merchant name and location only if they’re made available to Visa.
Can I consider a Purchase Alert a replacement for a receipt?
No. An alert can’t be considered a replacement for a receipt.
If I delete a Purchase Alert from my email inbox or my mobile phone’s default SMS inbox, will it be stored anywhere else?
Alerts are stored for 90 days in the View History page of the alerts web site, even if you delete them from your email inbox or your mobile phone’s SMS default inbox.
How many alerts are stored on the alerts web site?
The View History page of the alerts web site will contain records of your alerts history for the last 90 days regardless of the number of alerts received during those 90 days.
Can I sort the Purchase Alerts on the alerts web site?
Yes. You can sort alerts in the alerts web site.