Online Gambling Concerns:
Using Credit Cards on the Internet
After consulting with the Customer Service Supervisor at my own credit card company, I learned the following: the only information that you should provide to any merchant is your credit card number and expiry date. Your address and phone number are additional information required by online merchants so that they can confirm you are indeed the cardholder when processing your transaction.
Before you use your credit card for any transactions on the Internet, especially, any “recurring charges” (i.e. monthly payments for an ongoing service) or before you sign any “Pre-Authorization Forms”, I strongly recommend that you speak to Customer Service at your own credit card company to learn the facts about protecting your credit card from fraudulent use. Furthermore, always consult with your own bank regarding their policy about credit card charges for e-cash purchases. Some online casinos &/or e-cash services claim that credit card companies are responsible for any discrepancies regarding charges appearing as “cash advances” instead of “purchases”.
I spoke with the Supervisor of Customer Service at my own credit card company and was told that any discrepancies in the manner in which charges appear has to do with the setup of the merchant’s account. In other words, if a charge appears as a “cash advance” then the merchant’s account was setup for cash advances and not purchases!
This finger-pointing by merchants to credit card companies and vice versa can be rather frustrating when you have daily interest to pay for cash advances. My advice is that you avoid potential interest charges for cash advances by making a payment on your credit card with the amount of money that you will be gambling (so that you have an existing cash credit on your card). This way, when you gamble for the first time at a casino, you will find out whether or not it was billed as a cash advance or purchase without having to scramble to your bank to re-pay the cash advance.
Many online casinos &/or e-cash services are now requesting the following information when you use your credit card for transactions:
- Photocopies of the front and back of your credit card. The back of your credit card (usually near the space allocated for your signature) has a string of numbers, the last 3 digits of these numbers are called your CVC2 Code. If you use the Internet to check your credit card balances online, this 3 digit code is an important part of your secure login to your account. Giving this information to any merchant can compromise your privacy! With this 3 digit code, anyone can gain access to your balances and transactions, thus learning your spending habits and violating your privacy! Giving any merchant photocopies of the front and back of your credit card can lead to potential forgery of your credit card, if these photocopies get into “the wrong hands”. All merchants promise security, however, in today’s economy, there are some disgruntled employees who may be tempted into criminal activity.
- Your Social Security Number (American) or Social Insurance Number (Canadian).
- A photo ID.
- A copy of a recent bill (for address verification).
- Your signature on an Pre-Authorization Form which states the maximum amount that you may charge on your credit card each week.
If the information on this form (including your signature) gets into the wrong hands, you will be liable to pay the maximum amount that has been charged to your credit card! Never sign any form pre-authorizing any amount! It is rather difficult to dispute a fraudulent charge, if you have given the merchant such pre-authorization!
The reason that many online casinos are asking for so much information is to reduce the amount of disputes regarding credit card transactions. Some people, who have gambled a lot of money, will deny it. The casinos &/or e-cash services are also attempting to reduce the amount of fraudulent use of credit cards, however, there are other ways of trying to ensure security such as mailing pin numbers to customers via the postal system (i.e. CryptoLogic’s E-cash Services and Webdollar’s E-cash Services).
By the way, some casinos will only pay out winnings after you have supplied them with such a list of documents! Always check out the policies of a casino before becoming a real player! (Suggestion: Read the Casino Checklist.). Many online casinos have secure credit card transactions and so, you do not have to become paranoid when using your credit card online… you only need to be informed about the potential dangers!
You can have lots of fun and win big jackpots at online casinos… just choose your casinos wisely!