Most of us have gotten out of the habit of meticulously saving our credit card receipts for an end-of-month reconciliation. In fact, most of the time those tiny transaction receipts, stapled so carefully to the back of a cashier receipt, are ignored.
Why do we even need these little transaction reports anymore? Times have changed since credit cards became the primary method of payment. Is there anything of value on these receipts that consumers need to know about?
The Signature is On Its Way Out
The signature requirement on the bottom of a receipt is an antiquated requirement, which soon will no longer be required. Until then, you still need to sign your receipt to confirm the transaction. The receipt represents a financial contract between yourself and the business.
These days there are many other electronic checks and balances in place during a credit card transaction confirming you have the funds and that the card has not been reported stolen. Even if the cashier in front of you neglects to double check your signature versus the one on the back of the card, the signature remains a requirement of the transaction. Until the U.S. moves towards pin-based or tap-based sales, as other countries have around the world, the signature is an important piece of a financial contract.
Credit Card Numbers Are Pretty Safe
Thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, which updated the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 2006, our credit card numbers are more secure than ever before. It used to be crucial to hold on to your credit card slips at the end of every transaction because fraudsters could quickly scan it for information, and then rip you off.
But today the slip is legally only allowed to show the last four digits, the rest are usually represented by “X”. While these four digits could technically still be part of a bigger scheme to rip off your card details, it’s much more difficult to do so.
The Transaction Details Can Save You Money
After paying off your credit card on a monthly basis, the second most important step to credit card ownership is reviewing your bill. You should also hold on to your credit card receipts. Take the time every month to compare each transaction line on your bill to the associated receipt. You’ll be surprised to discover just how many errors there are between the bill and the payment.
The Non-Credit Card Numbers Are Important
Have you ever reviewed your credit card bill at the end of the month and questioned a transaction? Although most businesses are easy to identify, others are merely denoted as an address or a business number. This is when the other numbers on the credit card slip come in handy. Beyond confirming you were charged correctly, the credit card slip will have other numbers near the top or bottom, indicating the name and location of the business.
There’s a Store Copy for Every Receipt
There is absolutely no difference between the store copy and the customer copy of the credit card receipt, beyond the words printed at the top indicating whose copy it is. If you find yourself with a merchant copy, don’t panic, it’s just as valid as your usual version.
The Receipt for Returns is Unhelpful
Unfortunately, the credit card receipt is rarely accepted during returns. As you’ll notice, one of the most significant differences between the itemized copy and the credit card copy is the fact that no product or service information appears on the credit card transaction.
The tiny receipt simply proves that you paid the amount owed to the business, and when. The itemized receipt will break down piece by piece exactly what you purchased; giving the company what it needs to validate the return.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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