The Charge Of The Plastic Brigade
January 24, 2007 4:37 PM   Subscribe

50 Fun Facts About Credit Cards. Historical tidbits and interesting explanations of the technology behind that plastic in your pocket.
posted by amyms (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
#51: They're out to bleed you of every penny you earn, and they're smart enough to do it if you're not careful.
posted by Kwine at 4:40 PM on January 24, 2007


Under the merchant agreements of MC, Visa, Discover Card and AMEX, you do not need to present a driver’s license in order to complete a credit card transaction.

Wow I get asked for this a lot. Didn't know I could decline if I wanted to
posted by saraswati at 4:51 PM on January 24, 2007


Interesting. And occasionally scary:

Today, the extremely exclusive card for American Express is their black Centurion card with a $2,500 annual fee! (and requirement to spend $250,000 a year)

posted by languagehat at 5:17 PM on January 24, 2007


I'm doing good by #23 (currently have $14,000 @ 0% from Discover & BofA working at 5.05% at HSBC), but am now worried about #22 I guess.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:40 PM on January 24, 2007


34 is neat, but I wonder whether it's true:
Credit card numbers conform to the Luhn algorithm, which is just a simple checksum test on the number. What you do is start from the right and double each second digit (1111 becomes 2121), then add them all together, and you should end with a number evenly divisible by ten. If it doesn’t, it’s not a valid credit card number.
posted by Listener at 5:48 PM on January 24, 2007


Based upon my knowledge of the industry (working within returns / fraud prevention) the author is mostly correct in the jist of each "fact." However I wouldn't treat this as an authoritative source. There just aren't that many absolutes in such a large industry with such a large number of companies doing business in countless states and juristictions each with their own sets of rules or laws.
posted by pwb503 at 5:53 PM on January 24, 2007


Either 34 is not true, or my parent's credit card is not valid. I get 97.
posted by daninnj at 5:56 PM on January 24, 2007


Interesting that stores cannot enforce a minimum purchase. I usually respect the owner's wishes, but I also hate to pay ATM fees (and I am currently without a local bank). Not a problem most places, but next time I'm in a place (stupid drycleaner) that doesn't have a posted limit (I even asked them to show me the sign), I can stick to my guns (politely).
posted by Eideteker at 6:24 PM on January 24, 2007


Nice link. I still prefer cash to credit/debit cards expecially because of it relative untraceability , people don't even _imagine_ how much data can be collected or desumed from bank movements, which of course include CCs.

Another good effect of cash is that you can't bring more then X in wallet without feeling at danger..which reduces everyday compulsive consumption habits.

The argument that cash is primarily used by criminals is tenuous at best, as it is probably a lot easier to hide value in a bank account (or in some fiscal paradise) than stacks of cash,
posted by elpapacito at 6:26 PM on January 24, 2007


Interesting fact I learned while working in a hotel: if you get charged as a no-show, you are not required to pay the charge. Dispute the charge with your credit card company, make up any kind of excuse you want. They'll call the hotel and tell them to refund the charge. If the hotel refuses, the credit card company simply asks, "Did our customer actually stay at your hotel?" The answer, of course, is no. And despite what hotels will tell you about their cancellation policy, they cannot charge you for a room you didn't use.

If all else fails, the credit card company will refund your money to you and then refuse to pay the individual hotel. Credit card companies have better lawyers than hotels. The hotels will give up.
posted by ColdChef at 7:02 PM on January 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Either 34 is not true, or my parent's credit card is not valid. I get 97.

Mine got a 78, until I looked up the algorithm in the link. They left out a step - if you have, say, a nine that doubles, then you add those digits together before adding to the total. So 9 becomes 18, 1+8 = 9, add 9 to the number. 6 becomes 12, 1+2 = 3, add 3 to the number. And such.
posted by kafziel at 7:31 PM on January 24, 2007


"Each American household receives approximately 6 offers a month. The typical response rate is .33% (one third of one percent). You can opt out of these mailings via OptOutPrescreen."

It actually works. I haven't seen one single credit card offer in about 3 years now.
posted by drstein at 7:53 PM on January 24, 2007


Or, 1-800-5OPTOUT*

*Only works in the USA. Also, I get that wrong pretty much every time I put that on the internet. Please check with Google, or something.

Visa actually stands Visa International Service Association.

Oh my god, VISA is a recursive acronym? I never GNU*.

*Yes, technically VISA and Visa would be two different things. Shut up.

Under the merchant agreements of MC, Visa, Discover Card and AMEX, you do not need to present a driver’s license in order to complete a credit card transaction.

Thanks to Quizno's, this actually saved me from a very embarrassing trip to the rental car place...
posted by dirigibleman at 9:22 PM on January 24, 2007


Interesting post, thanks amyms.
posted by nickyskye at 9:47 PM on January 24, 2007


Thanks to Quizno's. This actually saved me. From a very embarrassing trip. To the rental car place.

Quizno's. Rental car place. Quizno's. Embarrassing trip.

Quizno's saved me.

What the fuck, man?
posted by hutta at 10:12 PM on January 24, 2007


Interesting that stores cannot enforce a minimum purchase. I usually respect the owner's wishes, but I also hate to pay ATM fees (and I am currently without a local bank). Not a problem most places, but next time I'm in a place (stupid drycleaner) that doesn't have a posted limit (I even asked them to show me the sign), I can stick to my guns (politely).

Credit card fees are horrendous. This kind of thing can make an otherwise profitable transaction into a major loss for a merchant. Just suck it up and take out a few hundred when you visit the ATM like the rest of us.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:49 PM on January 24, 2007


Wow I get asked for this a lot. Didn't know I could decline if I wanted to

saraswati, as far as I know (worked at GE Money for a month), if you don't have your card with you, and call up the customer-care service, then the rep has to make sure that you are the person that you say you are, and in that instance your identity needs to be verified by the store associate.

As far as I know.
posted by hadjiboy at 11:11 PM on January 24, 2007


What the fuck, man?

I lost my driver's license, and thanks to Quizno's (at the time) policy of requiring a driver's license to buy food with a credit card, I noticed it about a week before I needed it to rent a car for an important trip.

And now you know. I hope you're happy.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:23 PM on January 24, 2007


The only sad thing about opting out of junk credit card pre-screens is that junk mail is the only mail I get.

My poor mailbox is going to be so lonely.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:34 PM on January 24, 2007


Fact #52
Visa is not likely to enforce their merchant agreements unless a lot of people complain. So, when your card, issued outside the United States, is refused by American merchants, you're SOL.
posted by Goofyy at 3:52 AM on January 25, 2007


Many of the merchant agreement rules are more “this is how it works—in theory.” When I found out that companies couldn’t charge more for credit card purchases, I got excited. Then I watched and waiting, hoping for local places to change their policies, and any of the places that would charge more a few years ago, still haven’t changed.

I think if Visa were to try to enforce these policies, places would either stop taking cards, or raise their prices to the credit card price.

Considering how high the rates are though, I'm kind of curious to whether McDonalds and other fast food restaurants get a break.

I’ll send you a card grapefruitmoon.
posted by drezdn at 9:07 AM on January 25, 2007


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