Or should I say “click-happy”?
I was reading this article on NYT with great interest. I was starting to wonder whether my method of going through my credit card statements overzealous (which means I’m way more paranoid than I think I am), or am I just practising good consumer behaviour?
Everytime I get my credit card statements, I do my own matching process. I keep all credit card related receipts until the writings are faded. I track which purchases have been posted in the statement period and make sure the figures are accurate.
The thing about Internet transactions is that the receipts are virtual, unless you decide to print them out of course. Lucky for my, the credit card I use for online purchases is also virtual in nature. No plastic, no magnetic strip, no chip. It’s just a set of numbers, a CVV code, and expiry date. Effectively making it only usable for online purchases.
Before I stray further, let’s get back to the linked NYT article. Here’s the interesting excerpt from the article that made me read through it’s entirety:
The other day, as I was trying to avoid making eye contact with $168.09 (jeans and a T-shirt) and $40.24 (how can a tank of gas cost that much?), I happened to notice a mysterious $10 charge.
It was for WLI*RESERVATIONREWARDS.CO.
It didnâ€™t ring a bell. Was Reservation Rewards a surcharge for a hotel room? A magazine subscription? Or a digital audio download?
I never thought that it’s possible to actually get charged for an online service without keying in your contact details, credit card number and other important information.
What suprised me was how easy it was for the author (actually it was her husband who initiated it) to get charged for that particular transaction:
I could picture my husband buying tickets online. I could imagine one of those annoying direct-marketing offers popping up. I could even picture him clicking on it. But I couldnâ€™t see him entering a credit card to subscribe.
It turned out he didnâ€™t have to. Tempted by a $10 cash-back award offer (“Good for your next Fandango purchase!”), he had typed in his e-mail address.
Unfortunately, he skipped over the fine print: “By entering my e-mail address as my electronic signature and clicking yes, I authorize Fandango to securely transfer my name, address and credit or debit card information to Reservation Rewards for billing and benefit processing.”