FTC Reminds Businesses Law Requires Them to Truncate Credit Card Data on Receipts

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For Release

The Federal Trade Commission has issued “Slip Showing?,” an alert, to remind businesses that a federal law calls for them to truncate electronically processed credit card receipts to include no more than the last five digits of the card number, and to delete the expiration date.
The law applies only to electronically printed receipts, not to handwritten or imprinted ones, and it applies to the receipts the customer is given, not to the receipts the businesses retain for their own records.

According to the FTC, credit card numbers and expiration dates on sales receipts provide helpful information for scammers trying to commit identity theft. Congress passed the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act to minimize the amount of personal identifying information on credit receipts, because they can be lost or thrown away to be retrieved by would-be identity thieves. The law was phased in so that merchants with newer electronic card-processing machines had to comply with its provisions as early as 2004, and those with older machines by December 2006. All merchants that electronically print credit or debit card receipts must now truncate the information on the copy they give consumers.

The business alert advises that merchants who fail to comply with the law could face FTC law enforcement action, including financial penalties and federally-enforced restrictions or requirements.

Information about the FACT Act can be found at www.ftc.gov/credit.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Contact Information

Claudia Bourne Farrell,
Office of Public Affairs
Katherine Armstrong,
Bureau of Consumer Protection