CommBank considers credit card kill switch

The Commonwealth Bank is eyeing a kill switch that will allow customers to disable the use of credit cards while overseas.

The Commonwealth Bank is eyeing a kill switch that will allow customers to disable the use of credit cards while overseas.

The feature will work like a mobile phone roaming switch, allowing users to deactivate the ability to use cards from overseas Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs).

Commonwealth Bank electronic crime executive manager Matthew Keaney said that the bank was considering the technology for deployment "in the near future".

"It means you won't be able to us the card in ATMs offshore," Keany said.

Australia is known as a hotbed for the harvesting of credit card information. Stolen credentials are captured here and sent overseas where criminals use the data in fraudulent transactions.

The roaming feature could render credit cards useless for offshore fraud, and result in a drop in demand for stolen information, according to NSW fraud squad detective superintendent Colin Dyson.

But criminals, notably bikie gangs, are moving to loan and superannuation fraud, which uses stolen identity credentials.

Dyson said Australian businesses have had loans taken out against them worth millions, and individuals have had mortgages taken out against their homes. He said individuals rarely notice superannuation fraud.