When the news reported that Target and Neiman Marcus were hacked earlier this year, I knew I had to come up with an alternative for spending money. Every time we present our credit card we increase the risk of our information being compromised. It’s not a nice way to live.
What’s the Alternative?
No matter what you do, there is always the chance of your credit card information being stolen. Whether you use it in a department store, online or at your local restaurant, your credit/debit card information is exposed.
An aside: I remember back in the day people used to get concerned when the waitress took the credit card to “the back” to process the dining bill. The concern was the waitress could take vital information and compromise the credit card. Ha. The local restaurant is probably the safest place to use a credit card. It’s the big guys that are the problem. Why hack a small local restaurant or mom and pop store when the pay dirt is in large stores like Targets, Neiman Marcus and Home Depot.
Now that I’ve mentioned Home Depot, that brings me to the reason for this post. While I sympathized with Target and Neiman Marcus customers, I sympathized from afar. I don’t shop in those stores so I was safe…this time. It was only a few short months later when I received emails from Home Depot notifying me that my credit card information may have been compromised.
My change in habits may not prevent my cards from being compromised, but it might minimize the chances. My first habit change is to go back to the old-fashioned way of buying things, use cash. Instead of whipping out my debit card to purchase the local newspaper (yes, I’ve done that), it’s time to get back in the habit of using cash. After all, in this neck of the woods gas is cheaper if you use cash and I’ve been known to be rather frugal.
Using cash is great for in-person purchases, but what about online purchases? In this day and age with so many purchases being made online, I had to find a way to protect my card information. Enter Abine Masked Credit Cards.
My first introduction to Abine was via a Forbes article. After reading the article I did a little more snooping around and eventually decided to give it a try for 30 days.
Now that I’ve registered with Abine, anytime I enter my credit card information for an online order I have the option to mask the credit card. Abine’s integration is seamless and easy. If I decide to mask the card, Abine creates a masked card on the fly equipped with billing address, credit card number, CVS number and expiration date. I can even use a fictitious name for the billing address.
The only hiccup to the seamless process is if your order is less than $10. Being new to Abine, I wanted to test them out on something small. My first order using Abine was only $9.99. For orders less than $10, I had to go to the Abine site to create a masked card in the amount of $10 (they do not create cards for less than that).
After I created the card, I went back to the site and made the online purchase using the newly created card. Once the transaction was completed, I went back to my Abine account and clicked the “Refund Card Balance” link. Abine promptly refunded my $.01.
I checked my bank balance to see that the penny was credited to my account. After making the purchase, I logged onto my online banking account to see how quickly and accurately the transactions were processed. It really couldn’t get much easier.
Although I make 99.9% of my online purchases through a PC, Abine does have an app for mobile devices that allows you to sync your information between devices.
Other Abine Services
Abine offers other services such as masking your web browsing, email and cell phone. I haven’t spent much time using the other services, as my main reason for signing up was to protect my credit cards.
I’m hooked on Abine’s masked credit card service so I decided to sign up for an annual subscription. The current annual fee is $39 for one year, $59 for two years and $79 for three years. A small price to pay for online credit card protection.