July 24 2007 by Ellen Roseman
Big stores “truncate” credit card numbers, so only the last digits are showing. The rest are blanked out, just as they are on the receipts you get from bank machines. But some merchants are still printing the entire Visa card number on receipts. This is not only an invasion of privacy, but it contravenes a new Visa Canada policy supposed to take effect on April 1, 2007.
Gordon from Picton, Ont. has been pursuing answers from CIBC (his Visa card issuer) and the Canadian head office of Visa International. He’s found very few people even know about the new truncation policy and sound defensive when asked. He’s furious that many stores he deals with still print all 16 numbers on their Visa receipts and the expiry date.
I’m printing his letters below and Visa Canada’s response. I’d like to know what you have discovered with your own Visa card tranasactions.
I did a column recently and got many responses. Many people were surprised to see how frequently their full card number and expiry date were on their receipts. They wanted to stop it. Only with a real consumer push will we see a speeded-up adoption of new point of sale terminals.
What about the merchant’s copy? Can it contain the full credit card number? Yes, says Visa, because the merchant may need it for refunds or dispute resolution. However, the federal privacy law requires businesses to safeguard all the information they collect. This means they can’t throw the receipts into the dumpster without shredding them or leave them exposed to theft by employees.