By Karisse Hendrick, Editor-at-Large,

Visa Answers Merchants’ Concerns about Consumer Transaction Controls Last week Visa, Inc. announced a new service for cardholders, “Consumer Transaction Controls” (CTC), providing issuers with functionality that enables cardholders to freeze a lost or stolen card, manage spending on all their cards and manage different cards by blocking transactions by merchant category, environment (CNP vs. card-present) or geographic region. The service enables cardholders to use these controls and change them in real time via a mobile app or mobile-enabled Web browser.

While there are obvious benefits to providing consumers control over their card spending, some CNP merchants raised concerns about such capabilities. They fear the possibility of declines or customer service issues arising from purchase attempts by cardholders who have forgotten the limits they set or who don’t understand the merchant they’re trying to buy from falls under a Merchant Category Code (MCC) they blocked. Also, merchants offering products or services by subscription have wondered if this feature could be used by a cardholder to bypass cancellation terms and block a recurring charge instead. reached out to Visa on behalf of CNP merchants, to help answer the “what about us?” questions and to learn, as a practical matter, how the new service will work and how merchants may be impacted by consumers being being able to block transactions and freeze their own cards.

Why CTC Was Launched

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