When Credit Cards Expire, Businesses Can Get Your New Number Without Your Permission
It’s not new, but it might be new to you. If you use your credit card to pay monthly charges for cable bills, club memberships, or other recurring expenses, canceling your credit card or letting it expire won’t guarantee that those charges will stop. Through programs such as Visa’s Account Updater program, merchants can have your new credit card number transferred directly to them without any involvement from you.
For businesses, this helps with customer retention, as they can continue to bill you, even if your card number changes. And you might even like this service–you don’t have to contact all the companies you have recurring charges with when your credit card number changes. On the other hand, if you have forgotten that certain monthly charges are still going on your credit card bill, or you have trouble getting a merchant to stop automatic billing, canceling your card or allowing it to expire may not guarantee that the charges will stop.
This service has been available to Visa merchants since 2003, but there are no available numbers to know how many merchants are aware of it or take advantage of it. Index Credit Cards spotted it via a Datamation story this week. If and when the programs are more widely used, it will be interesting to see if consumers take them in stride or find them an invasion of privacy.
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