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Truncation- What the law says about displaying credit card numbers.

June 9th, 2008

You may be asking “What is truncation?” Truncation is the ability of a credit card terminal to remove all but the last 4 or 5 digits of a credit card number and the expiration date from the sales receipt. If the cardholders receipt displays the entire card number or the expiration date is printed on the receipt, then the receipt has not been truncated…and you (the merchant could face the consequences).

Current Visa and MasterCard regulations state that only the customers copy of the receipt need be truncated. Meaning that if you are using a terminal or software that only truncated the customers receipt, that is still ok. The current federal account truncation law requires that no more than the last four digits of the card number be printed on the customer copy of the receipt and the card expiration date must be blocked.

Each individual state has also implemented penalties and fines, some as severe as $10,000 per transaction and including felony charges. The majority of merchants are most likely already compliant with their current equipment and will not need to upgrade. However, there are some terminal types that will not have complaint truncation applications.

It is the merchant’s responsibility to ensure that they are in compliance with the laws of the states in which they process. You must contact your merchant services provider (credit card processor) to determine if you have a compliant machine and to download the needed software for your equipment – this should be a FREE download, at no cost to you. If they say it is not…you need to call us.

Understanding the credit card truncation laws can be confusing, so this article was meant to give you a brief overview. Please DOWNLOAD CHART for a list of state laws and bills as it relates to truncation. also provided is a list of state websites where more information can be found. Please contact your states legislative branch for clarification, as we are only able to “pass on” their information.

Entry Filed under: Advice,Rules and Regulations

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