find it fantastic that credit cards are so vulnerable to theft. There are a few simple things that one could do at negligible cost to credit card companies.
It would save a lot of grief and save the card companies (and thus - us) boku bucks.
Like this ...
You contract for a "Global" account number with maximum standard privileges and credit line.
(Just like you have now but without a plastic card)
When you're around town you use an "Around the Town Card" ... It has a different number but it bills to the master "Global" account. It has a much smaller line of credit (whatever you feel comfortable with). So now if your ATC card is lost or stolen you butt isn't hanging out in the wind for $10,000 but rather for only, say, $500. Get it? Your "G" number stays at home in a safe place. When someone gets your card number (the ATC) they are limited to less than $500 dollars worth of stuff. The cities in which the ATC card is valid are listed by you in the card company's database. You change them as you see fit.
You can go to the options menu (online or by phone) and change the ATC card to a "T" card (Travel) and jack up its line of credit before you go somewhere and specify where the card could be validly used.
You also get an Internet Number (IN). You won't need a separate piece of plastic here. Just another number which also bills to the master G account. You set the line of credit line for the IN for making purchases on the Web (less than the G account). If your card number is "lifted" as mine was you are only "in the wind" for, say, $100.
You can reset the credit line for the ATC card and the IN whenever you wish by secure connection over the internet or by telephone through menu options just as you access account info now..
For instance, you could go to the menu and raise the IN credit line to $2000 ... buy your computer online from Dell ... then go back to the telephone menu and lower it back to $100 after the Dell transaction cleared. (In my case, I'd lower it to $2 ... hah!). Each time you reset the credit line, that's how much you can put on the card without resetting it again. So if you put $1000 on the IN, you can order up to that limit ... then your next transaction is rejected for "insufficient funds" ... then if you want more, you must go back and reset for another amount and whatever was charged to it is transferred to the G account and the new credit line you specify is set up.
Each time your card is rejected for insufficient funds it generates a line on your statement so you can see if someone else is trying to use your card.
There is another possibility here that may work out. If you wave protection on your card and assume complete responsibility for fraudulent claims, you could get a much lower interest rate. You must simply watch very carefully your balance and credit lines.
Why don't I see this? Are we running out of card number permutations? Let's see ... 10^16 = 9999,9999,9999,9999 + 1permutations. That's 10,000 trillion. If a company has 10,000,000 cards out that makes it 1 billion to one that a "guessed" number is invalid. That's what all those numbers are for. So what if it triples? No problema!
Could it be that we don't possess the computer power yet to process the same number of transactions per day but on threee times as many account numbers? ... Naaahhhhhhh.
You only need this ...
One actual plastic credit card (the ATC/T) with an Internet Number.
And the IN bills to the G number on the credit card company's computers. You only see the G number on your statement and no one can bill the G number directly ... only by using the ATC/T or IN number. They never put your ATC or IN number on your statement either so that if anyone gets it from your trash, they only have the G number which is useless for purchases.
Another thing they need is an escrow dump ...
Internet commerce has a bad flaw. If you go to a store ... you pay as you take possession. On the Net, you pay ... then wait and hope your contract is fulfilled to your satisfaction. No matter how sophisticated the computerization becomes, it is still flawed by way of human nature. If the other guy has your money ... why bend over backwards to please? It doesn't work that way ... does it?
If you could pay into escrow ... then wait for the merchandise ... sign for it with a "net enabled" computerized pen ... then the money is released to the merchant ... then this is much closer to the tried & true brick & mortar model. The escrow dump does a "pizza callback" to verify your order ... then confirms with the merchant and the thing is shipped.
Delivery (intact) or no sale! C.O.D.
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