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Old 07-21-2010
jeffweico's Avatar
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Default Credit Card Verification: What Can They Tell About You?

I've seen a number of posts asking what, exactly, can eBay/PayPal/Amazon know about you from a credit card. There is definitely some misinformation out there! I process credit cards and gleaned this information from my merchant account provider.

When you give an online entity your credit card number, all they can actually verify through automation is:

1) The credit card number and expiration date is valid.
2) There is enough available credit to cover the amount of the charge.
3) The billing address ZIP code matches what is on file.
4) The NUMBERS in the billing address match what is on file.

So what is verified looks like this (verified items in red)

Tom Jones
1234 Main Street #455
Anytown, CA 90210
CC# 4100 1234 5678 9101
EXP: 04/14
Phone: 213-555-1212

They have NO WAY to verify anything else, including YOUR NAME through the merchant processing network. If they want to get this information, they must obtain it from the bank that issued the credit card. There are 2 ways they can do this:

1) They can get the bank information from their merchant account provider.
2) They can get it directly from the customer.

They would then have to call the bank that issued the card and ask to do a verification. Typically this is only done for very expensive items (like a big screen TV) or if they suspect a charge is fraudulent. This is TIME CONSUMING and costs a business money. And each issuing bank has their own rules and regulations as to what information they will give out.

The one merchant I know of that does this (I don't know what the amount that triggers it is) is NewEgg. They have a field to input the name of the issuing bank and their phone number (usually located on the card). But most merchants don't. And once the transaction is completed, it is rare for an issuing bank to give out any data on their customers. The one exception to this would be for law enforcement.

So, while it is technically POSSIBLE for eBay/PayPal/Amazon to verify all of your information, in reality they just don't as it would be too costly.

I hope this helps to answer the question.

Last edited by jeffweico; 07-21-2010 at 05:41 PM.
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