How safe and secure is my credit card information? | finder.com

How credit card security works

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We hand over a lot of personal information to obtain credit cards. But is our information — and money — safe?

It’s understandable to be worried. From time to time, large companies lose customer data in major hacks:

  • In a well-publicized hack, Target lost card data from 40 million customers. A class-action lawsuit claimed that Target hadn’t implemented sufficient security measures to prevent the hack.
  • Malware infected Chipotle’s cash registers, allowing thieves to steal data from credit card magstripes.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group, which runs properties like Holiday Inn, had its own run-in with hacking. A data breach affected almost 1,200 of the company’s hotels, and many customers reported unauthorized charges on their credit cards.

Credit card fraud is a growing problem — it caused an estimated $24.71 billion in losses in 2016 alone. By 2020, it’s expected to cost $31.67 billion worldwide.

If you’re concerned about your credit card information, you’re not alone. Here’s what you should know about credit card security — and keeping your information safe.

Should I be worried about credit card fraud?

To get a credit card, you must first submit personal and financial information to a card provider. Your name, phone number, email address and residential address are a given. But you also have to divulge sensitive details about your employment information, total annual income and Social Security number.

We hand over this information without a second thought. But is it safe once we part with it?

Credit card securityDo credit card companies keep my information safe?

First, the good news: As of yet, there hasn’t been a significant data breach in a major credit card company.

According to a report by the US Government Accountability Office, large financial institutions adopt security measures that are “generally more sophisticated and harder to compromise.” Banks and credit card companies know it’s important for them to safeguard customers’ information and money. To that end, they’re constantly updating their security systems to guard against hacks.

However, it’s not impossible for a big financial player to be breached. Financial services giant JP Morgan was hacked in 2014, exposing the sensitive data of 76 million customers. Fortunately, it didn’t appear that passwords, birthdates or Social Security numbers were stolen. But hackers took countless phone numbers, addresses, names and email addresses — information that could be sold on black markets.

Even if your credit card company closely guards your data, there’s the chance that a merchant could lose your credit card information. Your own computer hardware could be hacked, and thieves could steal your credit card information at ATMs.

So it’s not just your bank’s job to keep your information safe. It’s a good idea for you to be vigilant as well.

How to guard against fraud

Credit card fraud doesn’t happen often, but it can be incredibly inconvenient when it strikes. According to payment systems provider ACI Worldwide, 46% of Americans have been victims of credit card fraud. Though financial institutions rarely lose customer data, it’s not out of the question for it to happen.

To protect yourself, implement these safeguards:

  • Be selective about who you give information to. Think twice before applying for services from little-known financial institutions. The big players may be more expensive, but they’re better prepared to safeguard your data. According to accounting firm Moss Adams, small banks are easier targets for hackers because they often have fewer resources.
  • Monitor your credit card transactions. Credit card providers have robust fraud departments, but you’re your own best defense. Regularly check your card’s transactions and alert your provider if you see anything fishy. It’s easy to get a replacement credit card, and you’ll rarely be on the hook for fraudulent transactions.
  • Be wary of unknown callers and phishing emails. Your financial institution will never call you asking for sensitive information. Also be suspicious of unexpected emails that seem to be from your bank or card provider. They may be sent from thieves attempting to steal your information.
  • Check your credit reports. Monitoring your credit reports can help you spot identity theft. You can get your report for free every year from AnnualCreditReport.com, which is authorized by the US government.
  • Initiate a “security freeze” with the major credit bureaus. If you set a security freeze, a credit bureau can’t release your credit report without your permission. This can stop identity thieves from opening new financial accounts in your name.

Your credit card spending isn’t private

Credit cards are incredibly convenient. The tradeoff for using them, however, is losing your financial anonymity.

This doesn’t mean everyone will know what you spend money on. But your card providers will: They’re regularly slicing and dicing your card use. They can see where you’ve used your card, and they’re constantly evaluating your creditworthiness based on your spending habits.

For example, if you’ve used your card at a casino or at bail-bond shops, your provider may consider you more likely to be in financial trouble. It could mark you as a riskier borrower who might default on payments. To protect its downside, your provider can possibly take preemptive measures, like lowering your credit limit.

Fortunately, your card company isn’t allowed to share your personal information with nonaffiliated third parties. But that doesn’t mean third parties don’t have ways of monitoring your spending. Google, for instance, claims it’s privy to 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the United States through its third-party partnerships.

The implication is clear: If you use credit cards, always assume someone’s monitoring your spending.

Credit card skimmers

Thieves steal credit card information in numerous ways, but one of the prominent is by using credit card skimmers.

Skimmers are small, nearly undetectable devices that criminals fit onto credit card machines to read and record your credit card data. For example, a skimmer can be placed over the card slot on an ATM and steal information from a card’s magstripe.

Credit card skimmers have proliferated in recent years, largely because skimmers have gotten more sophisticated. In the past, the bulkiness of a skimmer would give it away. Now they’re small and sleek, and it’s hard to tell when they’re installed.

Credit card skimmers guide

How a skimmer works

First, a thief installs a skimmer onto a credit card machine — like a store point-of-sale system or ATM. Typically, fraudsters will plant skimmers where they’re less likely to be caught doing so — outdoor ATMs and gas pumps are prime targets. They may also install hidden cameras or fake keypads to steal customers’ PINs.

After some time, the thieves will return to collect the skimmer. They’ll sell the information they’ve stolen, or even use it themselves.

Is it safe to use your credit card at an ATM?

Whenever you use an ATM, consider the possibility that a skimmer is installed. ATMs inside of a bank are less likely to have been tampered with. But if you’re using an ATM in an outdoor or little-trafficked area, the machine could be compromised.

If you must use an ATM that’s not monitored by cameras or bank personnel, make it a point to check your credit card transaction history for suspicious activity.

How to protect yourself from credit card skimmers

It’s difficult to detect all skimmers you could come across, and they’re only getting more sophisticated. However, you can minimize the risk of losing your credit card data to these devices.

  • Use ATMs attached to banks. These machines are more likely to be monitored, and they’re serviced more often than off-brand ATMs.
  • Regularly monitor your credit card transactions. You don’t have to wait for your statement before reviewing your transactions. Just sign in to your online account to see what’s charged to your credit card. If you’re vigilant about monitoring your card, you can catch fraud quickly.
  • Avoid ATMs that appear to have been tampered with. Especially with off-brand ATMs, don’t use a machine that looks suspicious, rundown or out of place. If buttons are hard to press or graphics are misaligned on the screen, take your card elsewhere.
  • Inspect hardware on ATMs. Don’t be afraid to pull at the card slot or test the machine’s keys before your transaction. A skimmer may be glued to a machine, and it could come off if you pull it.

How does a magstripe credit card work?

How is your data uploaded onto a tiny plastic card? The answer is your magnetic stripe. Your card’s magstripe contains a bunch of magnetic particles that are magnetized to store data.

When you swipe your card at a terminal, your transaction is sent to an acquiring bank or an acquirer. This is the organization that pays the merchant.

In turn, the acquirer gets paid by sending the transaction through a card network like Visa or Mastercard to an issuing bank — the institution that distributes credit cards to consumers. The issuing bank charges a commission on the transaction and then sends the remaining funds to the acquirer.

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about any of the behind-the-scenes processes. Just swipe your card and you’re done!

Security measures offered by your credit card

We’ve talked considerably about how credit card information can be stolen. Still, a credit card builds in defenses against fraud, and the financial industry is always developing better tools to combat fraudsters.

Security measures guide

Fraud monitoring

One of the reasons that card companies monitor your spending is to catch fraud.

Fraud costs banks money. To avoid losses, financial institutions develop technologies that automatically detect inconsistencies in customer spending. Uncovering these anomalies is how card companies catch fraud.

There’s more good news: You most likely won’t be liable if your credit card is used fraudulently. Many banks and card providers — especially large ones like Chase, Bank of America, Visa and Mastercard — offer “zero liability” protection for fraud. That means if your card is lost or stolen, you won’t have to pay anything. Even if you owe money for a fraudulent transaction, federal law mandates that you can only be charged a maximum of $50.

Overall, a credit card is an excellent way to pay because it offers great consumer protections against fraud.

Why your credit card has a chip?

Recently, your card provider may have sent you a new card with a shiny chip inside. If so, you’ve received a chip card — also known as an EMV card (EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa).

A chip card is relatively secure because it encrypts account information differently each time it’s used. In contrast, data is static on a magstripe card, which means it’s easier for criminals to extract. Skimmers are highly effective at collecting data from magstripes, but they’re less adept at foiling chip cards.

Chip cards have been widely adopted around the world, but only now is the United States following suit. The US is mostly adopting chip-and-signature cards, with which you sign your name to verify your identity.

Meanwhile, many other countries are using chip-and-PIN cards, which require you to enter a personal identification number. Chip-and-PIN cards are considered to be more secure, since there’s no signature to forge.

Maybe someday we’ll upgrade to chip-and-PIN cards too. Until then, we at least have a significant upgrade from magstripe cards.

Credit cards and online purchases

E-commerce is growing fast, but consumers still have security concerns about making purchases online. In fact, nearly two-thirds of consumers say online retailers aren’t doing enough to protect credit card and personal information.

The truth of the matter is that a credit card is one of the safest ways to make purchases online. As long as you’re using a trusted website and the online retailer encrypts your data, it’s safe to enter credit card information on the web.

Here are a few precautions you can take to use your credit card safely online:

  • Make sure you’re on the right website. It sounds elementary, but you can lose information by submitting credit card details in the wrong place. Take a quick glance at your browser’s URL bar to confirm the web address is correct.
  • Only input credit card information if the website URL starts with “https.” This means the data you send will be encrypted. If the website URL starts with “http,” cancel your transaction.
  • Use antivirus software on your computer and regularly scan your system. Your credit card data could be stolen by malware like keyloggers and screen recorders. Keep viruses and spyware off of your computer with a reputable antivirus provider like Kaspersky or Norton.
  • Don’t place orders on public Wi-Fi. Because public Wi-Fi is unsecured, it’s a prime target for hackers. Only input credit card information online when you’re on your secured home network.

Compare credit cards

Updated April 19th, 2019
Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual Fee
2x points on travel and dining. 1x points on all other purchases
18.24% to 25.24% variable
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent, then unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
17.24% to 25.99% variable
$0
Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on your purchases
15.24% to 26.24% variable
$0
Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
17.24% to 25.99% variable
$0
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
N/A
14.24% variable
$0
Enjoy a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months, then a low ongoing APR of 14.24% variable.
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 1x points on all other purchases
19.24% to 26.24% variable
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on all other purchases
15.24% to 26.24% variable
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 3% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on all other purchases
15.24% to 26.24% variable
$95
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
5% on up to $2,000 each activated quarter on two categories combined (1% after), 2% on one everyday category and 1% on all other purchases
16.24% to 25.74% variable
$0
When you spend $500 on your card within the first 90 days, you’ll receive a $150 cash back bonus.
2x points on gas, groceries and airlines, whichever you spend the most on each month, 2x points on cell phone services and charities and 1x points on all other purchases
16.24% to 26.24% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($49 thereafter)
Earn 25,000 enrollment FlexPoints worth $375 in travel after spending $2,000 in the first 4 months.
2x miles at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United and 1x miles on all other purchases
18.24% to 25.24% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 20,000 miles after spending $8,000 in the first 6 months.
5x points on flights booked directly or flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
None (Charge Card)
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & Fees
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
2x miles at US restaurants and on purchases made directly with Delta and 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
5% back at US office supply stores and on US wireless telephone services on up to $50,000 annually (then 1%). 3% on a chosen category on up to $50,000 annually, then 1% after and on everything else
14.49%, 19.49% or 21.49% variable
$0
Save on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months. After that your APR will be 14.49%, 19.49% or 21.49% variable.
2x points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 annually, then 1x points
15.49%, 18.49% or 21.49% variable
$0
Earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 with no category restrictions.
4x points on two categories on up to $150,000 in combined purchases annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
16.49%, 20.49% or 24.49% variable
$295
Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of card membership.
1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back
None (Charge Card)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($250 thereafter)
Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.
2x points on purchases through Amex Travel and 1x points on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 5,000 Membership Rewards® points after your first purchase on the card within the first year of card membership.
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 4x points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and on US wireless telephone and shipping services; 2x points on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$125
Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
5x points on flights and prepaid hotels through Amex Travel, 1.5x points if you spend $5,000 on a single eligible purchase on up to 1 million additional points per year and 1x points on all other purchases
None (Charge Card)
$595
Earn 50,000 points after spending $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 2x miles on every purchase made directly with Delta and earn 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99%, 21.99% or 26.99% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months. Plus earn $50 after you make your first Delta purchase in the same timeframe.
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99%, 21.99% or 26.99% variable
$195
Earn 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) plus 35,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99%, 21.99% or 26.99% variable
$450
Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.
12x points at Hilton hotels, 6x points on select business and travel purchases and 3x points on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
1% cash back to your choice of nonprofits, K-12 schools, colleges and religious organizations
16.24% to 22.24% variable
$0
1% cash back to the nonprofits, K-12 schools, colleges and religious organizations of your choice.
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
17.24% variable
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
17.24% variable
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare or cash back
17.24% variable
$995
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.
2x miles on all purchases
18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
Earn 3x points on travel — or 4x points if you’re a PenFed Honors Advantage member — and 1.5x points on all other purchases
12.99% to 17.99% variable
$0
Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.
2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases
11.99% to 17.99% variable
$0
2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with your card.
Earn 5x points on gas at the pump and 3x points on groceries. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.
11.99% to 17.99% variable
$0
Earn 5x points on gas at the pump and 3x points on groceries. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.
3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases
15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
N/A
14.24%, 20.24% or 25.24% variable
$0
An 15 months 0% intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
15.24% to 26.24% variable
$0
Build your credit with no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score.
See terms
See terms
The First Access Card is a true Visa® credit card that does not require perfect credit for approval.
9.24% to 17.99% variable
$0
Low APR on all purchases including cash advances.
11.99% to 17.99% variable
$0
Earn a $100 bonus after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.
1% cash back on all purchases or in categories based on Credit One Bank’s discretion
20.24% to 26.24% variable
$0 to $99
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases.
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV.
20.24% to 26.24% variable
$0 to $99
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV.
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases and double cash back rewards at the NASCAR.com Superstore
20.24% to 26.24% variable
$0 to $99
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases and double cash back rewards at the NASCAR.com Superstore.
See terms
$0 to $99
The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card is specifically designed for those with less than perfect credit.
9.99% fixed
$48
This secured card can help you rebuild your credit with an initial deposit of $200 to $1,000.
19.64% variable
$35
A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.
N/A
14.74% variable
$39
No minimum credit score and no credit history required.
N/A
10.74% variable
$49
Build or rebuild your credit with this secured card.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated April 19th, 2019
Name Product Filter values Purchase APR Annual Fee Recommended Minimum Credit Score
19.64% variable
$35
300
A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.
26.74% variable
$0
300
No credit history or minimum credit score required for approval.
10.74% variable
$49
300
Build or rebuild your credit with this secured card.
9.99% fixed
$48
300
This secured card can help you rebuild your credit with an initial deposit of $200 to $1,000.
20.74% variable
$29
300
Build your credit with all three major credit bureaus.
9.99% fixed
$49
300
Low fixed interest rates with no penalty rate.
9.99% fixed
$49
Fast, easy application process with no processing or application fees.
13.99% fixed
$39
300
Designed for those with little or poor credit, the Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Classic Secured Credit Card has no minimum credit score requirements and no processing or application fees to worry about.
13.99% fixed
$39
300
Open a personal savings deposit account to secure a credit line from $200 to $5,000.
14.74% variable
$39
580
No minimum credit score and no credit history required.
17.99% fixed
$39
300
Borrow up to $10,000 and get your credit score back on track.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated April 19th, 2019
Name Product Filter values Purchase APR Annual Fee
24.9% variable
$0
A no-annual-fee credit card and discounts when you shop at Target.
See issuer's website
See terms
Build your credit history with low monthly payments.
See issuer's website
See terms
Get access to purchase items in the Fingerhut store with no overlimit fees.
$299
Get a $500 credit limit to make purchases on the Horizon Outlet website.
$299
Build your credit history with an unsecured line of credit.
See terms
Shop the items you need at myuniqueoutlet.com with up to a $1,000 credit.
5.75% to 23.99% variable
$0
Buy now, pay later — low monthly payments make shopping easier

Compare up to 4 providers

Are credit cards still more secure than carrying cash?

With concern about fraud when using a credit card, is cash a better option? There are pros and cons to each — but for safeguarding your money, credit cards has the edge.

Both cards and cash can be stolen, but you’re unlikely to recover cash once it’s gone. On the other hand, you can quickly replace a stolen card. It’s also unlikely that you’ll lose money from a stolen credit card, because you probably won’t have to pay for fraudulent transactions.

For safeguarding your information, cash is the hands-down winner. To get a credit card, you have to submit personal information like your Social Security number and contact details. If your card data is stolen, your information could be sold. Meanwhile, cash transactions can’t be traced to you.

Overall, credit cards are better at safeguarding your money. Just remember that you’ll give up some privacy to use them.

General tips for using your credit card securely

  • Carefully examine your monthly card statement. If you don’t recognize any charges, notify your card provider. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself against fraud.
  • Sign your card. Merchants are supposed to match your signature to what you sign on your receipt. Merchants don’t always do this, of course, but signing your card can give you important protections from your card provider, such as zero-liability guarantees.
  • Be careful with your receipts. Never leave a receipt behind at an ATM or a store counter, and shred them before tossing.
  • Carefully examine your monthly card statement. If you don’t recognize a charge, notify your card provider.
  • Only give your credit card number over the phone if you’re the one calling. You may need to input your card number if you’re calling customer support, but your bank will never call asking for your card information.
  • Know which phone number to call if you have problems with your card. If your card is lost or stolen, have a phone number on hand to cancel the card immediately. The sooner you cancel, the less time a thief has to use your card.

How the government protects consumer privacy

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the primary government agency that protects consumers against fraud and privacy abuses. It sues companies that infringe on consumer privacy or fail to safeguard customer data. For example:

  • In 2015, LifeLock agreed to pay $100 million to settle a complaint by the FTC. The FTC found that LifeLock wasn’t adequately protecting users’ personal information.
  • In 2014, the FTC charged three companies with deceptively offering free credit scores to consumers and later billing for recurring credit monitoring programs. The companies agreed to refund consumers to the tune of $22 million.

A few federal laws also protect consumers in the financial sector:

  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Financial institutions must state how they share consumer information, and they must take adequate measures to protect customers’ personal data.
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act. This act brs reporting agencies from giving consumer information to those who don’t have valid need. Consumers are also given the power to opt out of prescreened credit card offers.
  • The CAN-SPAM Act. CAN-SPAM rules how companies can collect and use email addresses and phone numbers.

Unlike the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which tackles abusive practices in the credit card industry, there isn’t one overarching piece of legislation governing consumer privacy. However, national privacy legislation is introduced from time to time, and many states have enacted their own privacy laws.

Common questions about credit card security

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