How Apple Pay Came in Handy When My Card Was Compromised

Previously, I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a big fan of Apple Pay. Having seen how much easier the service makes my life while overseas as well as helped me earn additional cashback here at home, I’ve welcomed the platform’s adoption in recent years. What’s more, while some might think it a bit odd to enter even more of their personal information in their phone, the tool can help keep your card numbers safe by using tokenized versions when you make purchases. Well, this week, I learned about another power of Apple Pay as it came to the rescue when one of my credit card accounts was compromised.

This past week, I got a call from Wells Fargo’s fraud department telling me that they’d detected some suspicious transactions on my Bilt Mastercard. Incidentally, before this call happened, I’d already read an article on Doctor of Credit mentioning that some cardholders had been experiencing such issues due to what’s an apparent BIN attack. As a post on Reddit from Bilt’s account explains, “In short, they use compromised merchants to randomly test millions of potential card numbers to see which ones work, focusing in on one card range at a time.” That post went on to note that, most of the time, these transactions were declined invisibly to the customer. This matched up to my experience as, looking at my Bilt account, I didn’t see any unauthorized purchases approved or pending. However, heading to my Wells Fargo account showed my card had been suspended.

When I called to inquire what was up and get my account back, I learned that there had been two declined transactions, both of which were for under a dollar — but neither of which came from me. Once I confirmed that was indeed not my doing, the agent told me that a new card had been issued and would replace my existing one.

And this is where Apple Pay comes in.

After they offered to send me a new card via FedEx so that it would arrive as quickly as possible, they noted that I had my Bilt card activated on my phone with Apple Pay. That’s when they informed me that they could instantly transfer over the data to my new account. Sure enough, after I hung up, I saw that the change had occurred and my card number had been updated. Just to test it out, I loaded $10 onto my Starbucks card using the card in Apple Pay and, indeed, it went through without issue.

Granted, in this particular case, it wasn’t really imperative that I had my Bilt Mastercard right away. What’s more, the physical card did arrive a couple of days after I called. However, if you were traveling or if you only had a single credit card, then the instant aspect of Apple Pay could definitely save the day.

The bottom line is that, if you aren’t already using a mobile wallet option, it’s something I’d recommend setting up. In some cases, you may be able to earn bonus rewards — like with the Discover card’s Q4 bonus category last year — and, in other cases, you just might be able to save yourself some headache should things go wrong. If nothing else, you’ll have a secure and quick way to pay for your purchases. So, what are you waiting for?


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site and the founder of

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