Saturday, July 23, 2005

Changing credit card numbers won't help

Over at Schneier on Security, there's been a bit of a discussion in the comments about how to deal with the increasingly reported security incidents involving credit card processors. One commentator suggested a novel approach to protecting his own accounts:

Schneier on Security: Visa and Amex Drop CardSystems:

"Me? I request replacement credit and debit card numbers every six months, and watch my account activity carefully."

Interestingly, Dr. Don at just fielded a question on the practice:

Changing credit card numbers won't help:

"Dear Kim,

Your idea about rotating credit card numbers is inventive but it could actually wind up increasing the odds that you find yourself a victim of identity theft or credit card theft. Getting a new credit card number every quarter would mean that you will have credit cards in your mailbox four times a year vs. once every three to four years, and fraud programs that recognize when your spending patterns don't jibe with past purchases aren't going to be effective, because the account won't have a transaction history for comparison.

It's also likely to hurt your credit rating because your credit history will show a series of accounts closed at your request every three months -- unless the series of account numbers is treated as a single account relationship by the credit card provider. For this to happen it would have to be a practice established by the credit card provider in reporting your history to the credit bureaus. It isn't something that you can do on your own...."


Anonymous said...

I think that getting another credit card number will do no good. In fact it will change nothing so I can see no reason for that!

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting article regarding new laws which impose masking credit card numbers.

Anonymous said...

I have had the same credit card number for many years. I use it to automatically pay several bills, and to make purchases on the internet. They give a little cash for points and promise good protection. So I would like to keep the company but change the number. Someone at the bank tells me that if it makes me feel better change it. But that I would be no better protected.