Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Swiss Bank Credit Card

A Self Verifying Credit Card
  (+4, -1)
(+4, -1)
  [vote for,

As there is a lot of concern today about privacy, people should have a way to shop truly anonymously. It seems to me (in the movies anyway) that having a Swiss bank account is the way to go when you want to keep your money a secret. Why not a credit card company that does the same?

I think that the privacy problem with shopping with a credit card is that your spending habits are collected and processed and then used "against you" to sell you more stuff. One of the ways stores can get this information is by collecting it when you swipe your credit card.

The idea is to have a some sort of electrical device (could be built into a Palm Pilot) where you enter the amount to be charged to you, and who it is to be paid to and the device then calls up and does whatever those credit card swipers do when they verify a purchase and then displays a verification number (or bar code for easy scanning). The verification number can then be entered into, or scanned by the stores computer which can then be verified as "verified" by the stores own computer connection. An infra-red port can be used to receive the amount and vendor name or code from the store when you are checking out...and then to beam back the "verification" code for the store to process.

The store gets paid with no risk of fraud because they have their own connection for verifying the transaction, and you get out of there with your anonymity intact. To the stores, everyone that uses this method can only be tracked as one big customer.

Can also be used over the Web. Instead of entering your VISA card number for them to "run", you enter your Swiss Bank verification number for them to "run".

The other way for stores to get your spending habits is to buy it from credit cards companies, so whatever code of honor that keeps the Swiss banks silent about all of those bank accounts will also keep them from selling your data.

Stores will still be able to tell that brown shoe polish sells better in the north than the south, or that people who buy paper plates generally also buy frozen peas (or whatever), but that sort of thing does not invade your privacy...does it?

blahginger, Jan 14 2001


       sledgehammer, nut? doesn't cash do the job?
Daniel2, Jan 21 2003

       *thought*, heh
thumbwax, Mar 09 2003

       SSL encryption already helps reduce your security risks, but does not protect your bank account or privacy.   

       Amex offers single use, limited-life credit card numbers which can substantially reduce the risk of fraud in one-off internet transactions. If intercepted, the card data cannot be used to make a clone card. If the merchant aribtrarily changes its terms of use to permit monthly renewals of the service you have purchased, it won't be able to (but you may still face a fight in the courts).   

       What this does not achieve is total privacy. If it's Big Brother you fear, then your shopping can still be traced back to yourself. Anything involving physical delivery will require the merchant to record your mailing address, which can still be sold on or hacked.   

       The next level of paranoia assuagement would require physical remailers, PO boxes and untraceable banker's drafts. AFAIK, total anonymity would likely call for some degree of fraud and/or identity concealment, but that's not something I am personally prepared to go for.
FloridaManatee, Mar 10 2003


       Cash cards or 'smart cards' are all over europe. The sim cards in pay as you go cell phones are the same concept.   

       Recharged wherever you like from bank or atm, and spent as cash. You lose it though and it is same as cash. Thumb ident fixes that though.
subflower, Nov 17 2005


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