Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) has published a new guide on consumer payment methods. Entitled “Paper or Plastic: What's the Best Way to Pay?”, the guide explains the advantages and disadvantages of paying by debit card (check card), credit card, check, gift card, check, and other forms of payment, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs32-paperplastic.htm . The publication is the latest addition to a series of over 50 consumer privacy fact sheets available at the PRC Web site, www.privacyrights.org  .
PRC Director Beth Givens explained “Many of us decide quickly about a method of payment and spend too little time thinking about the potential costs or consumer protections of each method. Our new guide will help consumers make an educated decision.” Givens noted that the new publication covers not only the potential risks to individuals arising from each payment mechanism, but the various protections available from consumer laws on how to report a loss and your potential financial liability for a lost or stolen card.
The PRC advises that most consumers should not use or carry a debit or check card. The guide explains the eight major shortcomings of these cards and suggests alternatives for consumers to consider. Paul Stephens, PRC’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, elaborated, “Scammers have become quite sophisticated in gaining access to your card information. Most people don’t realize that lost, stolen, or compromised debit cards can provide an open door for fraudsters to empty your bank account. Consumers may be denied access to the money in their account while a fraudulent transaction is being investigated.”
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is a nonprofit consumer information and advocacy organization based in San Diego, CA. For PRC contact information, see: www.privacyrights.org/about_us.htm#contact  .