Federal Law Prohibits Showing Credit Card Numbers on Receipts
by BobK, Community Administrator
- Created: March 20, 2009, 9:59 am
Last night I went out to eat at a popular DC area restaurant with some friends. Feeling especially generous, I picked up the tab, and paid with my credit card.
On the receipt marked 'Merchant Copy' ... you know, the one you sign and leave on the table for any theif to pick up and steal your identity ... there was my credit card number for the world to see.
Normally, most businesses truncate the credit number on electronically printed receipts so it appears something like this:
So, last night, I took the pen accompanying my receipt, and scribbled out my credit number so hard that it tore the paper.
My friends were aghast. One proclaimed, 'You can’t do that!' Another said, 'Yeah, that’s illegal!' And yet another, said, 'No, it’s illegal for them to print the credit card number on the receipt.'
What’s this? Disagreement among friends? I had to get to the bottom of it.
According to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), federal law requires all businesses to truncate credit card information on electronically printed receipts. The law does not apply to imprinted or handwritten receipts. However, merchants are reminded of their responsibilities to protect customer privacy.
The consequences for non-compliance with this law are enforcement actions from the Federal Trade Commission, which includes civil penalties (fines) or 'injunctive relief' ... which doesn’t sound like a good kind of relief … it basically means that you must refrain from doing something or you will fined or imprisoned.
So there you go. You guys fight over who's going to buy me dinner next time.
For more information on this law and other privacy laws, visit the following web sites:
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