Credit Cards and the risks involved

Credit cards or plastic money as it is termed is growing popular all over the world and people are told by banks and financial institutions how these are very helpful, safe and more easy to use then the conventional form of cash bills.

Cash Bills are bulky to carry everywhere and especially when we travel to places beyond your national boundaries. Carrying a lot of cash can be dangerous as well as being inconvenient. Bankers show the bright side of the whole thing as they earn good merchant fees from international spends and also if one is an unbalanced spendthrift, bankers will soon get a hold of your pocket and budget from the compound interest that is executed on the balances after the so called interest free days. Not only will the financial institutes overpower the pockets but the entire life as well.

I am not against usage of credit cards but one does have to pay a price of security threats higher then that of the conventional money bills that the usage of credit cards come with especially in countries like the UAE as I am not much aware of other countries.

They say credit card purchases are safe and secure and at times these transactions dor reap some good loyalty points to add to your pocket. Most users of credit cards over the internet are now very much aware of looking for the https and the security certificates on the website to ensure safe transactions and that is really a nice habit. Banks and Vendors on the other hand request cvv numbers as an additional security measure for online shopping. Many steps have been taken to ensure the safety and privacy of consumers online but what about conventional over the counter sales?

Are all the cashiers over the counter trustworthy, being human beings. Anyone can be lured into manipulating the information that the consumers hands over to them. The next time you walk into a retail outlet or a supermarket be sure to check the bill that you are returning to the cashier with your signature on it. Check the bill carefully. You will find the entire information of your card printed on the slip. At least this is what goes on here in the UAE. You have the full credit card number, the name and the expiry date. The only thing missing is a simple 3 digit cvv number that anyone who takes your card for a minute can see and memorize in seconds. Next, what can happen? Purchases can be made online using all this information. Payments can be made online without having your consent and its as simple as that.

A vendor might need your signature over a bill generated from a card swipe for claiming the payment but why do they need the credit card details. Since everything is electronically executed why don’t the banks introduce the use of some unique ID printed on the bill instead of the details. A bar-code maybe. With this unique ID the bank can simply trace the electronic swipe and execute the payments as well as ensure their customers’ safety.

I have raised this issue with my banks several times but it does not matter anyways. I do hope the Central Bank in the UAE takes this issue into consideration for protecting consumer safety and privacy.

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