Peeve with local businesses

I’m cleaning up my computer area, which also serves as the finance center for our household. All receipts go through this area, to get entered into Quicken so that we can reconcile them against our credit card statements. I had a very large of receipts that had been filed, but hadn’t yet been discarded, so I set to work. You can’t just throw out receipts, particularly credit card receipts. As I’m discovering, too many companies put your full credit card number on the receipt. That makes that slip of paper a handy way for someone to snag your credit card number and charge whatever they’d like to your account. (Folks worry about electronic credit card fraud, but the fraud caused by folks just snagging credit card numbers is much greater!)

Why is it that they need my whole credit card number to be printed on the receipt? I don’t need it. I much prefer the receipts that show the last four digits – gives me enough to verify the charge account, without giving anyone else enough to buy themselves a nice stack of stuff at Amazon. Restaurants seem to be the worst offenders here, even though they run credit cards through the same Point of Sale (POS) system as someone at Walmart. Maybe the deal is that that POS system isn’t integrated into their records, so they don’t have a way to cross-reference against any reports they get from the credit card company. So buy a better system! Stop exposing me to the risk of fraud to balance out your protection against fraud/mistakes/communication failure with the credit card company. Someone’s got to have a cost-effective solution out there for businesses. And if there isn’t one, I say let’s create a market for such a solution by lobbying somebody to make it illegal to print out that whole credit card number on a receipt.

(Done my rant… ripping up the rest of my receipts.)

1 comment

  1. This is just some conjecture based on what I know of the credit card system, but the reason might be because they can’t actually charge your card when they swipe it. They don’t know if you’re going to want to add a tip on the card, and, if so, in what amount. When they swipe the card I’m pretty sure they just run an authorization against it, and then have to go back and reprocess the charge for the final amount.

    Because of the outrageous equipment leasing fees credit card processors charge, many mom-and-pop shops opt for the simplest little swipe terminal available, and don’t or aren’t able to implement some sort of secure, integrated charging and accounting system with some level of logic built into it. If their system doesn’t have a mechanism for storing and reprocessing charges someone has to manually re-enter the card information, which would be why they print it all out on the receipt.

    Not that it’s any less annoying…

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