Sep 7th, 2017

Data breaches have unfortunately become too common in today’s day and age. Using websites like HaveIBeenPwned.com can help you stay on top of which accounts of yours have been exposed, but financial fraud isn’t always so easy to track. That’s especially true when our debit card is tied directly to our bank accounts with very little control of what can be charged to it and what can’t.

That’s where apps like Pay by Privacy.com are aiming to shake things up. Instead of entering your bank’s debit card number onto a myriad of websites, you can generate a merchant-tied or one-time user burner card instead of handing out your financial info. Here’s a peek at my setup so far with cards I’ve generated for Netflix, Cricket, and Google Play.

Not sure why you should use a service like Pay by Privacy.com is offering? Here’s a handful of good reasons why you should consider it.

1. Stop leaving your debit card info on third-party websites.

A few years ago I bought a domain from GoDaddy and stupidly left my PayPal information attached to that account. I forgot about it until just a few months ago when I woke up to an email from PayPal saying I had charged $371 worth of new servers from GoDaddy. Thankfully I was able to talk to PayPal’s fraud resolution department and get the charges removed, but I think things would have been worse if I had left my debit card info on the account that got hacked.

Privacy.com prevents that from happening by generating a virtual debit card that’s tied to your own bank account. That way third party sites like GoDaddy only have access to the monthly limit you set on the card when you create it.

2. Stop those “free trials” you sign up for from charging you.

If you’ve ever signed up for a free trial of any service on the web, chances are you had to hand over your credit card info when you signed up. That’s great for the vendor since plenty of people can forget to cancel those trials and they’ll end up paying for months they didn’t even use the service.

If you’re one of those people who has accidentally let a free trial overstay its welcome in your financial budget, then Privacy.com can help you stop that from happening.

The app lets you create burner virtual debit cards that are a one time use. You can enter the credit card info into your free trial to start it and immediately cancel if you don’t like it. Like the subscription enough to keep it? Just change your payment info to a merchant-based card and set a monthly limit and you’re gold.

3. Stop a merchant from overcharging you with monthly limits.

A few months ago I moved across the country and had to end the cable service I had been paying for several years with no issues. I called the company and canceled the service and was told to drop off the modem I paid to rent for years with their service center in my town. Great, no problems.

Fast forward two months and I see a charge for the cable company in the old state where I used to live appear on my bank account. I call them and ask what the charge is for and they tell me unreturned equipment. Of course, I have no way to prove I returned the equipment to them, so I had to initiate a dispute with my bank in order to get my $110 back. It was a long drawn out process that could have been avoided if I had been using Privacy.com at the time.

4. Stop items from appearing on your funding source statement.

Buying things discreetly online is nearly impossible if you share an account with someone who also has access to the monthly statements. You can’t even buy a birthday gift for them without them knowing how much the item cost. Privacy.com allows you to filter generic statements to your funding source, preventing them showing up as bought from the original merchant.

That can come in handy if you want to get a secret birthday gift for your wife, or just hide the fact that you’ve got a PornHub Premium subscription. Hey, we’re not judging.

I’ve switched all of my online subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Google Play Music, and even my Cricket service to go through Privacy.com and I’ve had no problems with these services being able to use the virtual debit cards that are generated by Privacy.com.

The Android app works great and best of all, there’s even a Chrome Extension to generate new card info. With as often as retailers are breached these days, it’s become necessary for consumers to have a way to protect themselves and Pay by Privacy.com fits that bill pretty well. If you want to give it a shot, you can sign up with my referral link and earn $5 towards your first payment using the service. It’s 100% free.

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