The Target breach and others have sharply ramped up interest in card on-off switches on mobile apps, according to two credit union vendors.

Malauzai said this week it has seen an 850% increase in the use of that debit card management feature on its platform between November 2013 and April 2014. Card on-off switches are now offered by 80 of its 250 credit union and bank customers, the Austin, Texas-based vendor said.

The number of active mobile banking users employing the switch increased by 40% at the same time, Malauzai said.

Target revealed Dec. 19 that a data breach compromised 40 million debit and credit card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Then on Jan. 10, the company said hackers also stole names, phone numbers as well as email and mailing addresses from as many as 70 million customers. Neiman Marcus followed with a similar announcement of its own.

Malauzai added debit card management in 2012, including the ability to activate or de-activate a debit card and change ATM and point-of-sale transaction limits.

“The increase in card management use since the Target breach is staggering,” said Robb Gaynor, chief product officer for Malauzai. “Even though the breach happened in late 2013, we continue to see increased use of debit card on/off and other card management features each month as end users take control of their own data security.”

The $56 million Hallco Community Credit Union in Gainesville, Ga., also offers its 10,600 members a similar service from its provider, core processor FLEX out of Utah, called Remote Control Debit and Credit Cards.

The app provides members with the option of immediately turning off their cards if they fear fraudulent activity, or if they are leaving the country for an extended period of time and would not be using them, the credit union said. They then have the option of turning the card back on or requesting a new card.

“This provides my members with the ability to stop fraud and enjoy peace of mind when using their Hallco Community CU debit and credit cards,” said its President/CEO Joe Foster.   

FLEX, which counts approximately 260 credit union clients, said the mobile remote control system interacts directly with core processing in real time and also allows member service to view status reports and card management on the back end.