Chris Moerdyk

The great credit card con

2013-09-09 08:03

Chris Moerdyk 

I have a dream. A dream in which the head honcho of Visa or MasterCard sits down with me and over a long whisky and explains very slowly in words I can understand, just how credit cards work.

Right now, I am seriously confused, except for knowing without a shadow of a doubt that the credit card companies must make an absolute fortune for actually doing very little except to keep their massive computer banks oiled and greased.

I am sure I am not alone in having my credit card hacked by some arse who has somehow managed to break my security and goes on a spending spree.

It's happened to me a couple of times and on each occasion the credit card company has issued me with a new card and eventually refunded me my money.

What I would like to ask that head honcho is that in spite of credit card companies being able to track down people who fraudulently use other people's cards to buy stuff, they never bother. They just refund the money and move on. Which is why I think they are all making massive profits.

Now, maybe that part is simple to understand. It's just a question of the effort taken to recover reasonably small amounts is more expensive than just refunding those amounts.

The big questioning I have to ask is this.

When I go into a shop or restaurant I have to enter my secret pin number for the transaction to go though.

But, every now and then I get to a place where they just swipe the card and the payment goes through without my entering any pin. Why?

Surely the whole idea of having a pin number in a chip-embedded card is that it should be impossible to make a transaction without putting in a pin?

Or, is the whole pin business just a farce? Something designed to make us feel that we are safe? And why do big brand stores and restaurants have me put in my pin while some tiny little place doesn’t have to bother?

Also, when I buy something online from anywhere in the world, before the transaction goes through I am told by the supplier's online payment system that my bank needs to authorise the purchase by sending me an SMS with a one -time password which I then enter before the purchase goes through.

So how on earth does some bloke who does not have my pin number or my cellphone, manage to buy stuff online with my card number?

Surely it should be possible for me to instruct my credit card people that under no circumstances should any transaction go through without my pin or an SMS one-time password? I mean, how hard can that be?

So, if there are any credit card head honchos reading this, I will supply the whisky if you will supply some very simple answers.

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

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