The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACTA, was passed to help protect U.S. consumers from credit card identity theft.
FACTA is a federal law that dictates retailers follow certain guidelines to protect consumers from credit card identity theft. If a thief is able to piece together a complete card number from a receipt, you could be a fraud victim.
When you visit a retailer, the receipt you receive for your purchase should show no more than the last five digits of your debit or credit card number. No other sensitive card information should show on the receipt. The card’s expiration date should not appear on the receipt either.
Retailers might violate FACTA in two different ways:
By including any part of the expiration date on the customer’s receipt; or
By including any card numbers other than the last give digits of the card number on the customer’s receipt.
Preventing Credit Card Identity Theft
FACTA was introduced in 2003 as an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Lawmakers believed it was in consumers’ best interest to make sure the card numbers on a receipt appear truncated, which means fewer digits than actually exist and make a card identifiable can appear.
Merchants that fail to comply with FACTA can face penalties and law enforcement action by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The customer who receives the noncompliant receipt may also be able to file a FACTA lawsuit.
A customer who shows a retailer has “willfully” committed FACTA violations can file a lawsuit if anything other than the last five digits of a credit card number appear on the receipt. Businesses could be forced to pay from $100 to $1,000 per infraction or the full monetary loss occurred by their FACTA violation.
FACTA makes the requirements clear on how merchants can protect consumers from credit card identity theft: “no person that accepts credit cards or debit cards for the transaction of business shall print more than the last 5 digits of the card number or the expiration date upon any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of the sale or transaction.”
If you receive a receipt that has the first and last four digits of the credit or debit card number showing (or the first two digits and last three, or any other combination of digits even if only five appear), that receipt is likely in violation of FACTA. Only the last five digits are allowed to appear.
Keep in mind that FACTA applies to all electronically generated customer receipts. When you go to a restaurant, the mall, a convenience store, or any place that provides a receipt printed with an electronic cash register, FACTA rules apply.
If you go to a small mom-and-pop shop where the receipt is written by hand or the receipt is generated by an older machine that physically imprints the card, FACTA rules do not apply.
Always look closely at your receipts to help protect your identity. Credit card identity theft can be a consumer’s worst nightmare.