How to survive credit card hacks
Readers had lots of great ideas
I heard from many of you over the weekend, re my latest post on getting hacked at the gas pump.
Many wanted more info: how exactly does one have their credit card info stolen at the pump, anyway?
I said mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay are way safer. How does one go about that, exactly?
And after you get hacked, you have to go home and deal with Autopay hell, by letting all the companies you do business with know your new numbers. How can we prevent that?
So let’s dive in!
How do you get hacked at the pump? No-gooders stick contraptions into the section of the pump where you insert your card for payment and are able to steal your numbers this way. It’s a known problem, as outlined by Visa, more for older cards without the chip. But the new ones can get hacked too. My new Chase Sapphire card was state of the art, and only two months old.
How to live in a hacked credit card world?
Former banker and all-around smart guy Allen Kirschenbaum recommends having a dedicated card for autopay that never leaves the house. Use the home bound card for Amazon, HBO, Netflix, i.e., all the companies that draw on it every month for payment. And then have another card for the outside world: restaurants, gas stations and the like. “If the second card indeed gets hacked, you don't have to replace the credit card numbers at all the auto pay vendors that you use the first card with,” he notes. Additionally, he suggests using a dedicated gas station credit card, like for a Chevron or Shell for the dreaded pumps. Where I live, gas costs $4.75 a gallon at the main brands, or as low as $4.10 to $4.15 if you agree to pay cash at Arco. I’ve been a long believer in using the credit card for everything, in order to get the loyalty perks, but when you’re looking at a savings of $7 or so for a fill-up, I’m paying cash. And at gas stations, where hacking is the worst, this is clearly the safest form of payment.
How to use mobile pay?
If you’re new to mobile pay, (like Apple, Google or Samsung’s mobile wallets) signing up is easy. For Apple, open the Wallet app, click the + sign to add a credit card, hold the phone over your card to let the iPhone photograph your card numbers, input the special code on the back of the card and await a text code to type in to confirm. From there, whenever you shop, you hold the phone over the credit card reader and bypass any sharing of cards, signatures and the like. Way safer, IMHO. Setting up Samsung and Google Pay is similar.
Another question: do you get your perks with mobile pay?
I heard from a reader who loves mobile pay, but says Chase doesn’t give him all his rewards if he declines to swipe. Funny, for me, I’m generating thousands of airline miles every year minus swipes, and I’m 90% Apple Pay. He says to read the fine print. I would see that he was right. Well, I checked around online, and the Points Guy website, which focuses exclusively on perks, says mobile pay will indeed get you all your points, most of the time, But there are some exceptions that fall within the cracks. Read your statement for more clarification.
Jim Noyd points out that the gas pumps credit card hacks epidemic equals the obvious: time to go electric! Good point, but the first leg of this road trip is 1,200 miles. Would an electric car be able to withstand such a trip? Well, a quick check of the charging map points to charging stations in all the right places: Barstow and Needles, California, Kingman and Flagstaff, Arizona, Gallup and Santa Fe. The only downside: hanging out for the charge would clearly take a lot longer than a gas fill-up. But I’m up for the challenge!
Week two of the fall road trip starts today, and we’re now in Taos, which historically has been my favorite section of New Mexico, thanks to the skies. And it sure doesn’t disappoint! Look at what I had to work with for my first two nights in town.
ICYMI: Ten favorite photo tips with Phil & Shappy
Have you gotten a chance to see the latest #Photowalks episode yet? I’m telling you, Shappy and Phil are a trip! Please check it out and let me know what you think!
Thanks as always for the feedback. Love it! Keep it coming!