Swiping your Credit Card Information

posted on:
February 5, 2008

Sarah Sell


Grand Rapids – You work hard to protect your credit card information, but did you know your receipts might carry the risk of your credit card being swiped?

According to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, businesses are required to “remove” or “truncate” the credit card number on the customer’s receipt. Retailers had until July of 2006 to make the switch, but some merchants with older machines still haven’t complied.

We received complaints about a couple of local businesses that were displaying entire credit card numbers and expiration dates on credit slips.

At most businesses, especially restaurants, the merchants copy was not truncated. We found out businesses are allowed to print the credit card number on their copy for record keeping purposes.

But at one restaurant, Beijing Kitchen in Eastown, the number showed up on both slips – a violation of state and federal laws. We told employees about the problem and they agreed to fix it, which is usually simple, often a matter of a phone call to reset the machine.

When we returned to the restaurant the next week, the problem had been fixed.

The Michigan Retailers Association in Lansing says the laws were put in place to protect customers from identity theft and abuses of their credit cards. If merchants don’t comply, they could be sued. The current laws allow up to $1,000 per violation at the federal level and $250 per incident at the state level. According the MRA one East Lansing merchant is being sued for $2,500 by a customer for two purchases of less than $3.50.

If you run across a receipt with your credit card number on it, the best thing to do is make the merchant aware of the situation. If the merchant doesn’t fix the problem, a customer could file a civil claim.


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