The days of disposable debit card numbers are now done for Discover’s customers. The program called “Secure Online Account Numbers” and enabled customers to pick a unique credit card number for doing transactions safely online.
For example, if a customer didn’t feel comfortable putting their real credit card number online, they could simply opt to adopt a new one for a one-time use and thus be free of worry. However, as of Sep. 8, this program is now non-existent, Discover told cardholders via email.
As described by the publications the Consumerist and the Chicago Tribune, the reason for its swift end was this: “added security measures to protect customers from fraudulent use of their cards both online and offline.” So the reason for disposable debit has all but vanished from Discover’s mind, now.
Discover might be washing its hands of the program, but it wasn’t the first to create one. That honor goes out to American Express, way back in 2000. Discover and Citibank, as well as MBNA and several other card issuers, followed suit. MBNA was eventually bought out by Bank of America, but its “ShopSafe” program is still available to cautious customers who are fearful about thieves preying on their credit cards.
Citi’s own version, the Virtual Account Number program, is also in operation, as well.
Customers that decide to use such programs have credible reasons for choosing to do so. Javelin Strategy & Research announced that credit card fraud as well as its close relative identity fraud dropped in 2010. Yet it still remains a viable threat, especially when shopping online.
The amount of annual costs dropped from $56 billion to $36 billion, but consumer costs also shot up some 63 percent, on the same token. Javelin noted that the reasons for such declines probably boiled down to “increased consumer awareness, but also the use of increased security and verification measures by credit card companies.”
Discover said in its mass email: “Please remember, you’re always protected whenever you use your card with $0 Fraud Liability, so use your card with confidence, as you’re *never* liable for unauthorized purchases – online, offline, anytime, anywhere. Again, thank you for your continued loyalty.”