The Anonymous Purchase

The Anonymous Purchase is a new type of financial payment method that is available from your bank, credit union, or other financial service provider.   When performing an Anonymous Purchase there is absolutely no exchange of personal identity information between the consumer and the merchant.   Identity theft is prevented because there is no information exchange; purchase transactions are brokered on behalf of the consumer and merchant by their respective financial service providers.  

An introduction to the Anonymous Purchase
What is the Anonymous Purchase and why you should care.

Protect yourself from fraud and identity theft

According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 17.6 million persons, or 7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or older, were victims of one or more incidents of identity theft in 2014.   The majority of identity theft victims (86%) experienced the fraudulent use of existing account information, such as credit card, debit card, or bank account information.

Stop using credit cards and debit cards

There is no such thing as a safe purchase with your credit card or debit card, as these cards have been designed specifically to share your identity with people looking to quickly take your money.   Once someone has the account information from your credit card, the information can be presented to a processing center in order to assert a claim for payment from your account.   If this claim can be traced back to a good or service which you received, it's a valid claim against your account.   However, fraud occurs when this same information is presented to a processing center without your consent.  

There are many ways that your account information can be obtained from a credit card:

In each case, once your account information is out of your hands, it's out of your control.   Credit card companies are working to identitfy fraudulent transactions; however, if they are able to trap a fraudulent transaction, you've already been victimized and must suffer additional inconvenience until your credit cards have been replaced.   While credit card companies are working to quickly detect account theft after your identity is stolen, the only way to completely prevent identity theft is to stop using credit cards entirely.

Smart cards aren't really smart

Smart cards are credit cards with embedded computer chips that make it more difficult to systematically obtain account information from the credit card.   Two way two factor cryptographic standards help to ensure that account information is only shared with the card issuing authority.   While smartcards offer improvements over conventional credit cards, they have yet to overcome some serious limitations:

Bank checks offer no security

Prior to the introduction of credit cards, consumers used bank checks (also referred to as bank notes or bank drafts) to authorize payments to merchants.   These paper documents are expensive for banks to process and provide easy access to people who wish access to a person's account information in order to attempt fraud.  

When you write a bank check, each check clearly identifies your bank and your account.   Your merchant needs to know who you are, so they can take your money.  

Protect your identity using the Anonymous Purchase

When you use an Anonymous Purchase, you communicate only with your bank (or other financial institution).   When a merchant wants to sell you something, have them talk to your bank.   If you decide that you want to purchase something, you talk to your bank.  

Banks in your area are offering the Anonymous Purchase because they are concerned about your privacy.   Without the expensive operational costs associated with fighting credit card fraud, your bank can focus on providing best of breed financial services.   If your bank isn't interested in your privacy or doesn't offer the Anonymous Purchase payment method, find another bank.  

It's that simple.   It's secure, it's fast, and it's safe.   It's safe because the purchase is brokered by your bank and the customer is in complete control of the actual purchase.   It's the opposite of a credit card transaction, where you hand over your identity to a complete stranger, allowing someone else to approach your bank and take your money.  

Talk to your bank.   Ask them if they care about your personal information and if they support the Anonymous Purchase payment method.