There’s one thing you can do right away to decrease the chance of having your credit card number stolen. It’s so simple that we never think about it. Websites have learned how to get us to let our guard down because this practice is better for them. But don’t do what websites want; do what protects you.
Don’t let websites keep multiple credit cards of yours on file.
If you think about it from the perspective of a hacker, companies are currently trying to rewrite software to allow for refunds, cancellations, and any number of other changes happening every day. When speed is of the essence, there are probably going to be some holes left in the system that weren’t there before. Why leave your information on file for the taking?
Understandably, you have to keep a card on file for a recurring payment like with a newspaper or magazine. You might want to keep a card on file with Amazon.com or whichever online shopping website you use the most, simply for convenience.
When it comes to online travel companies, you should only have one or at the most two cards on file. One for your business expenses and one for personal charges. That’s it!
So imagine my surprise when I looked at the My Delta homepage and saw that I had four payment methods on file with them. FOUR!!!!
One of them was my Delta Platinum AMEX that I canceled years ago.
I went in and removed all of the cards from my account. Yes, you can remove all of your cards, You’ll need to type in your card information each time you pay for a ticket, but that’s not a high price to pay.
If I had four cards on file with Delta, what about an airline I hardly ever use, like United?
Only two cards and I’m pleased that I picked good ones for airline tickets, the Sapphire Reserve and the Barclays Arrival+. There’s still no reason for me to have those cards stored on my account. If I’m booking a ticket, I’ll have a credit card with me.
Honestly, go through your online accounts and see how many have your credit card information stored. Not to mention it, how about your web browser? Apple and Google both love to collect payment information. When I looked at Facebook, they had my card numbers from when I donated to friend’s fundraisers, which they kept on file for “future use.”
If you have the time, and most of us do have some extra free time right now, go through your accounts and start deleting credit card information.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary