Wells Fargo & Co. is offering a text-message antifraud service from Visa Inc. that Visa says can also help people manage their finances.
With its announcement Tuesday of Rapid Alerts, Wells Fargo became the first issuer to implement the technology that Visa formally introduced in November.
The system sends enrolled customers near-instantaneous text-message alerts about their purchases, including date, time, location and amount.
Wells was one of 12 North American banking companies that evaluated it last year, and Peter Ho, a vice president and product manager for the San Francisco company, said employees who participated in the test said they felt Wells was more "on top of" their transaction data.
Users can tailor the system to send alerts based on specific criteria, including transaction size, foreign transactions, automated teller machine withdrawals and card-not-present sales.
Because Visa receives the transaction details during the authorization process, the alerts are triggered seconds after a purchase is made, said Michele Janes, a senior business leader of global innovation at Visa.
Though Rapid Alerts is designed to spot fraud, it also addresses consumer demand for tools to track spending in near-real time.
"Consumers … in this economy are very cognizant of their payments and transactions," Janes said. "This is really a financial management tool as well."
The service can give people "a running view of the different transactions," she said.
She said other issuers, which she would not name, are close to rolling out the program.
The proliferation of such services could create a "waterfall effect" as consumers become accustomed to having detailed transaction data on their phones, said James Van Dyke, the president and founder of Javelin Strategy and Research. This will put demand on issuers to provide more information, and eventually "will force changes in the core processing systems."