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back to article Why embossed credit cards are here to stay

Embossed numbers on credit cards are here to stay, and probably for a very long time, say the big three credit card issuers. The raised numbering on credit cards may seem anachronistic given that EMV chips are increasingly being adopted around the world, while magnetic strip cards have been with us for decades. The long likely …

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Here for a while yet

I'm an instructor at a gliding club in New Zealand. We do about 50 credit card transactions a month for trial flights worth on average around £100 each. In the last five years we've gotten internet (and electricity!) in our clubhouse, but at this transaction level online authorization machine rental plus transaction fees would cost us far more than the fees for our old zip-zap machine. We get a considerable reduction in fees by phoning in each transaction to get an authorisation number, so it is pretty much as safe for the card issuer as an electronic transaction would be.

The situation may well be different for organisations with a lower average transaction value.

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Anonymous Coward

Never use credit cards.

I realize I'm supposed to be in perpetual debt to my bank but I'm not doing it, therefore I don't use credit cards.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never use credit cards.

I use it only as a convenience. I pay off the total balance every month, so never pay any interest charge. The annual fee is also waived due to the overall volume.

Yes I could use a Debit Card, but why use my money when I can use somebody else money for a month with no charge (and not risk my own money to a fraudulant transaction)?

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Re: Never use credit cards.

Exactly right!

In the UK simply using a credit card gives you the protection of the consumer credit act and a big bank that wants to keep its reputation and business.

Reversing a fraudulent credit card transaction is easy, and you won't be out of pocket during the process.

With debit card transactions it takes a while to get the money back, and you may end up overdrawn or worse before discovering the fraud.

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Re: Never use credit cards.

When they say "Credit cards", I think that they mean "Plastic payment cards" however the money is taken from you (credit / debit, etc.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never use credit cards.

Isn't "I only use it for convenience" the same as "I use one"?

Convenience is half the con, why are private companies being allowed to issue currency?

Why in the last 10 years have more people not woken up to the fact that a bear trap with honey pie in it is still going to break your leg?

-going for the honey pie because they stuck it 2 foot closer than your fridge isn't an excuse.

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JDX
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Re: Never use credit cards.

I've got a spare tin-foil hat you can have if you like? It will stop anyone reading you mind to know which floorboard you hid the cash underneath.

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Anonymous Coward

@BristolBachelor

Nope, the Consumer Credit Acts are very clear on that one.... Credit Cards, not Debit Cards.

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Re: @BristolBachelor

by 'they' I think he meant the people talking about embossed numbers, not those talking about credit card protection....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never use credit cards.

I got into trouble with CCs many moons back, got out of it and made do without a CC for 10 years. Then my company wanted me to travel and claim back so I had to get one. This time around I learned my lesson and everything that goes on the card is cleared off within the month. When I am in the country the card stays locked in the wallsafe, out of the reach of temptation and anything I buy is with debit cards or cash.

Easy enough to laugh at the people on the TV ads at running up bills and debts, no laughing matter when you find you've been so utterly stupid as to become another statistic. I learned the hard way when times were good and I was able to get work to clear it on my own with one loan from a bank. Now I preach to my kids endlessly to never borrow money from anyone for anything other than a car or a house!

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Pint

Re: Never use credit cards.

I was the same way for a long time. Wouldn't touch a credit card. Then I realized that as long as I pay it off every month then my credit rating goes up and my interest rates go down so I keep more money on other purchases. Plus I get 1% cash back as reward points. Just make sure that you get a card that doesn't have a fee (90% of them do). I'm getting "free" money in points, it is convenient, and I'm covered several ways from misuse.

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Go

Re: Never use credit cards.

Section 75 protection is also quite valuable, which is why Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert recommends that any purchases > £100 are made at least partially on a credit card.

That way if anything goes wrong with the sale or subsequently with the product, you are in a better position as the card issuer is jointly liable with the merchant.

See link for more info

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/section75-protect-your-purchases

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Anonymous Coward

Get wise

I never use ANY of my 4 credit cards for actual "credit". Each one gives me a different combination of points, rewards, or other benefits for different transactions, and so I just them in place of cash wherever possible. I make a few hundred a year this way - and NEVER pay a single penny in fees or interest! And rarely visit cash machines too ;-)

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Re: Never use credit cards.

I've never used any credit card for actual credit, and I doubt I ever will. It's just a handy way to pay for stuff over the Internet with the knowledge that I'll have a few months to rever the transaction if something goes wrong. I'm always astonished when I hear that people get in debt through credit cards, by using them to live above their means. That's so unbelievably stupid.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @stucs201

Clearly he didn't if you read the preceding posts :P

They are talking about protection under the Consumer Credit Act, which only applies if you actually pay via credit systems. It's very clear. Actually in black and white.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never use credit cards.

<blockquote>Reversing a fraudulent credit card transaction is easy, and you won't be out of pocket during the process.<blockquote>

Uh huh. Don't think I'll bother chancing it, ta.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never use credit cards.

Avoid 'chancing it' if you like, it won't make you any less misguided though.

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Re: Never use credit cards.

"why are private companies being allowed to issue currency?"

Guess you don't use stamps, then. Or collect coupons, or use cheques. They're all currency by any reasonable definition of the term - people still use stamps as a reserve currency and for payment. Coupons are self-explanatory.

Cheques are particularly interesting. They're essentially the same as a promissory note and have the same origin as paper money, in credit notes issued by a bank, being a promise to pay the bearer on demand, except issued by a private individual rather than a private corporation.

And of course you must not use any currency valued greater than £1 at any time, as all the paper money in the UK is issued by private companies. The Bank of England is not a government institution and never has been. The banks that issue notes in Scotland and Northern Ireland are also not government institutions and never have been. The government may create fiat money out of thin air these days but all it's actually doing is legislatively requiring the private company of the Bank of England to issue to issue currency that didn't previously exist.

And all contemporary currency, even the shrapnel tinkling away in your pocket, ultimately began as currency issued by a private company.

So. Why are you spending currency issued by a private company if you're so against it?

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Coat

Re: Never use credit cards.

"never borrow money from anyone for anything other than a car or a house!"

Why borrow for a car? It's a depreciating asset. A house of course, is as safe as, well, you know...

(disclaimer: not counting the property bubble. Buy after it's burst, not before)

Yep, the one with the bus ticket in the pocket.

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Click clack card readers

Click card readers remind me of my student days. The local curry house used one of these, which meant I could always get a curry washed down with a few beers, even when over my overdraft limit.

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Happy

Re: Click clack card readers

Heh, my local supermarket processed debit cards electronically but whatever method they used didn't actually check your bank account. Oh and they did cashback.

Was about 5 years after I graduated before my bank let me have a proper debit card again...

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Joke

So what's the next article going to be? 'Why pens are here to stay.'. Or perhaps a bit more contentious 'Do we really need pencils?'. You could of course go for the popular vote and try 'Chalk and slate - their glory days are over'.

:D

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It doesn't fix the basic problem..

Even with a mechanical pay slip you still have the problem of stolen credit cards - if you want to leave prevent fraud you should combine that with a picture of the actual card owner or you might as well not bother. As a result of the lack of online feedback, merchants with mechanical payslips will prove a route to still draw funds from a card that has already been blocked.

The second problem with mechanical payslips is over-limit spending - an online transaction does an account check, a mechanical one doesn't. I actually have no idea how this gets handled - does the merchant get reimbursed anyway?

The current credit card concept is *horribly* broken..

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Re: It doesn't fix the basic problem..

"if you want to leave prevent fraud you should combine that with a picture of the actual card owner or you might as well not bother."

The credit card I got 10 years ago had my photo on it. The technology is there, but the UK banks don't seem to want to bother.

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Meh

Re: It doesn't fix the basic problem..

I had one of those once.

In all the times I used it, only one merchant ever looked at the picture[1]. He studied the miniscule picture for a minute through glasses like milk-bottle bottoms and eventually declared that it might be me, but then again it might be just about anybody.

Maybe that's why they never took off?

[1] Well, only one for validation purposes. Loads of 'em caught sight and went "Ooo, it's got a picture on it. Who is it?".....

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Re: It doesn't fix the basic problem..

They make more money selling credit-card insurance than they do through fraud.

Recently. in America I noticed a few people had written "ask for id" on the signature strip. Staff never blinked so I assume they're used to it. I thought it was a pragmatic approach to the problem.

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Re: It doesn't fix the basic problem..

Photos are no good, when you consider how little time a merchant has your card for. It's in their hands for less than 5 seconds for a Chip+PIN transaction, and it's not in their hands at all when the PIN terminal is presented to the customer directly.

In early trials of Photo ID cards in the USA, where merchants were informed of the trial and told to check photos on the cards, the control group participants had nearly every transaction accepted despite using a card that had a picture of a gorilla in the box marked "CARDHOLDER PHOTO".

Signatures aren't so hot either. I have a friend who, when he got a new card years ago, decided to sign every docket "not me" (not the sig on the card), to see how long he could go before someone challenged him (he himself works in a business that is pretty much 100% card payments, and so he keeps an eye on these things). When he was eventually challenged for the first time by a sales assistant, she turned out to be a trainee, who'd just started her job. This was four months later.

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Meh

Re: It doesn't fix the basic problem..

The basic problem is that banks can always claw back fraud losses from their customers and/or their merchants.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It doesn't fix the basic problem..

And when I worked in retail and we queried the banks as to whether it was valid to do this as opposed to a signature we were told it wasn't and to retain the card.

Rather rained on quite a few peoples parade that one! Signature on the strip has to match signature on the card, and the signature held by the bank, otherwise the shop gets a bollocking if there's an issue.

Quite a few stores in the US ask for ID with any major card purchase which seems far more sensible.

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Signatures/ It doesn't fix the basic problem..

Banks haven't checked signatures in decades. It must be thirty years ago that a kid came into our shop with the cheque from his father to buy a new motorcycle (so reasonably serious money). We didn''t ask for a card: what point. Instead we insisted on waiting for it to clear, which it did . Two months later teh aggrieved father came to see us. The kid had stolen the cheque (messy divorce going on). The signature the kid had put on the card bore not the slightest resemblance to the father's but the bank had cleared it anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Signatures/ It doesn't fix the basic problem..

@JimC - Banks check signatures in the event that there is a query on the transaction, and also randomly, I believe. I designed a system for storing bitmaps signatures for a large UK bank, which had far higher access requirements than just checking for queried transactions.

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Happy

Re: It doesn't fix the basic problem..

In cases where fraudulent use is not the direct result of negligence by the card holder, he/she is normally indemnified against any losses.

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Re: It doesn't fix the basic problem..

> but the UK banks don't seem to want to bother.

They calculated It would cost more to implement, than what they actualy loose through fraud.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Signatures/ It doesn't fix the basic problem..

I had been signing cheques as sole signatory on an account for 25 years before the bank bounced a cheque and said they did not have a record of my signature. Seems they only check if the amount was over £10,000

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Boffin

Re: Signatures/ It doesn't fix the basic problem..

The_Noble_Rot - Apparently, this is precisely why con-men who cash fraudulent cheques prefer to write a larger number of cheques for smaller amounts, as they slip under the radar.

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Coat

More evidence that gorillas have excellent camoflage

"a card that had a picture of a gorilla in the box"

file with that ball-throwing video.

The military should stop researching those invisibility huts and just put gorilla suits on its tanks.

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Headmaster

A lack of proof reading?

“The genius of our system is global interoperability,” said David Masters, MasterCard's Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, who points out that merchants in developing nations may lack reliable access – or sometimes any access - to online transaction processing facilities.

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Re: A lack of proof reading?

Then you'll be wanting this link here then from the bottom of the article: Send corrections

But otherwise yes; it has got a bit worse lately. I blame the 24 hour licensing laws myself :)

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Facepalm

Re: A lack of proof reading?

Fair, I've never actually noticed that link before

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Stop

Re: "Send Corrections"

There's no point.

You see, what that link doesn't tell you is the destination for said corrections. Which can reasonably be assumed from observed evidence to be a black hole.

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Not everywhere

For example, the plastic cards issued in Spain don't have embossed numbers, and haven't for a long time. Payments have been electronic only since before the chip.

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Joke

Re: Not everywhere

Maybe that's why the countries debt is so out of control then....

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Re: Not everywhere

Well played, sir. I missed that or I'd have replied myself.

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Re: Not everywhere

Even the credit cards? A lot of bankcards over here don't have embossed numbers (Mexico) but most of the credit cards do have the embossed numbers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not everywhere

"For example, the plastic cards issued in Spain don't have embossed numbers, and haven't for a long time. Payments have been electronic only since before the chip."

Well, my Spanish card has embossed numbers, despite being Spanish. But all transactions do seem to be electronic - if the terminal is broken (frequent) or the shop has lost it (also frequent) so that they can't do a C&P transaction, either the till's stripe-reader gets the card number (not so frequent - sripe readers are often broken) or the card number gets typed into the till; whichever way the till gets the number, it asks for an authorisation - if it gets it, the till prints a slip for me to sign plus a copy for me to keep. Of course places that don't know me want to see photo-id if they can't do a C&P transaction, which is eminently sensible. If the telephone or internet link from the till to the bank is down - can't have an online transaction then - I'm not sure what would happen if it was somewhere I wasn't known (the two times it's happened have been in places I'm known, and in both it's been make a note of it and have me pay next time I'm in).

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Anonymous Coward

Cynical? Me?

“The genius of our system is global interoperability,”

People in every country of the world can rip you off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cynical? Me?

I'm getting a bit fed up with the "Cynical me?" comments: Cynicism is only a virtue if it's not a paranoid "everyone is out to get me/everyone lies/trust no-one/take nothing at face value" type of cynicism. Which is what seems to be the case here, more often than not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cynical? Me?

I never claimed it as a virtue but I would add that it's almost invariably the 'legacy' and 'global interoperability' features are the details sold on or used in other countries that don't have the more modern security of things like Chip and Pin for transactions or in online transactions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm getting a bit fed up

Cynicism such as you describe wouldn't be so widespread if it wasn't a valid worldview. 40+ years of life experience has taught me that the vast majority of human beings are either greedy self-serving scum or brainwashed herd-following morons, or both; that's why I'm as cynical as I am.

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Facepalm

Please, use a different colour!

I see no reason to remove the embossed numbers, but could they at least use a contrasting colour on them, not silver or gold that means you have to tilt the card backwards and forwards to read the number???

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