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Why You Should Never Let Merchants Double Swipe Your Credit Card

Has your credit card been double swiped recently?

Have you ever suspected the cashier at a retail merchant store doing a “double swipe” on your credit card, before returning it to you?

“Double swiping” refers to the swiping of a credit card twice to capture additional and sensitive card details. As explained by Visa, “this second swipe effectively exposes a payment card’s magnetic stripe full track data to compromise.“

What Information Is Being Compromised? 

Sensitive card details such as the CVC/CVV numbers could be compromised when a merchant double swipe a card. In fact, all necessary card data required to produce a counterfeit card can be obtained through this additional swipe.

This compromise of security is the reason why credit card companies and banks are making it an effort to educate and remind users about the danger that this action posed.

Read Also: How Do Banks And Credit Card Companies Make Money From Us?

Why Do Merchants Continue Doing This?

It isn’t fair to presume that merchants doing this double swipe are trying to produce a counterfeit card. They are not.

Some merchants do have valid reasons (or reasons they think are valid) for doing a double swipe. For example, they might have been told by their Point of Sales (POV) vendor to do the swipe twice for accounting purposes or to collect cardholders’ personal data for marketing related activities.

While there could be business reasons for merchants to do the “double swipe”, this act, unfortunately, comes at the expense of us, the everyday card users, who are at risk of having our card details stolen, or used inappropriately.

Can Vendors Still Capture Information Without Using The Double Swipe?

Given the advancement of payment technology, it is reasonable to expect that merchants who have a valid business reason to record down non-sensitive information should be able to do so without manually doing a double swipe.

The answer to that question is yes, it is possible.

Merchants can always integrate their POS machine so that it helps capture the non-sensitive information they need with just a single swipe. This enables businesses to get the information they need, without compromising the security of the card.

If merchants are looking to obtain personal information for marketing reasons, they should obtain consent from the customers through an opt-in form, rather than to do it discreetly (and illegally) through the double swiping of credit cards that could compromise sensitive card details.

What Happens If You Suspect That A Merchant Has Double-Swiped Your Card Details? 

There is no point in creating a scene on the spot. What you should do instead is to report the merchant to the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS). You can email them at [email protected]

Please include the following details in your email.

(a) Date and time of your transaction;

(b) Name of the merchant outlet; and

(c) Address of the merchant outlet.

It may not seem like much, but being proactive in looking out for these things would help reduce the opportunity for fraudsters looking to steal credit card through these processes.

Read Also: How Credit Card Companies Are Cheating You