Private Investigator

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 2            January 15, 2009

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Numbers have been altered.

Numbers have been altered.

Q: I have noticed when signing my credit card receipt that the merchant copy has my credit card number and expiration date on it, while my customer receipt has all but the last four digits crossed out. What I want to know is on which of the receipts should the number be printed on, the customerís or the merchantís copy? Should this number be displayed on any of the receipts at all? Is it possible that anyone can use my credit card to shop with if these numbers displayed on the receipts get into the wrong hands? Can anything be done to address these concerns?
/s/ Via email

A: Our Private Investigator has been investigating this for over a week and has even managed to get a hold of receipts that do indeed display credit card numbers. We have altered the sample displayed in order to protect both the customer and the merchant.

    Notwithstanding, we have found out that the banking institution we have spoken to has confirmed that the credit card number is printed on merchant receipts because it is a requirement of the international card company. According to the banking institution we spoke to, merchants should be very careful in the way the credit card receipts are being stored and used.

    The credit card number is confidential information and should not be accessible to anyone other than you, the customer. The number serves as a security feature to your credit card and if it falls into the wrong hands, that person can use your credit card to shop online or over the phone. In fact, our Private Investigator learned that several people on the island have experienced this act of credit card fraud. Should you find yourself in this position, there is a procedure you can follow to recover your money. First you must go into the banking company to initiate a dispute process to settle the transaction. The banking institution will require an affidavit stating that you are entering a dispute process based on an unauthorized transaction. It will be the responsibility of the card company to prove to the banking institution that the transaction is legitimate.

    According to the Central Bank of Belize banking institutions should adhere to international standards and one of those is to print the credit card number on the merchant receipt. It is the responsibility of the banking institution and the merchant to keep all receipts confidential. As a customer you can also cross out your credit card number on the receipt when you sign it.
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