First Give Me Your ZIP–Later, Scan your Finger

Hiawatha Bray writes in the Boston Globe about a new trend: businesses are asking for ZIP codes when customers pull out their credit cards.

“A thief usually won’t know the ZIP code assocated with the card he’s using. So requiring the ZIP code is a simple way to reduce fraudulent purchases. Gasoline retailers say they ask for ZIP codes in areas where credit fraud is a problem. It’s a geographical thing, said Betsy Eaton, spokeswoman for ExxonMobil.

While Amex is the company spearheading this drive to query customer zips, Mastercard specifically forbids merchants from requiring the codes, except at unattended devices like gas pumps, or for orders placed by phone or the Internet. Next up: biometric scanners, where you place your hand on a fingerprint scanner that corresponds with your credit card. Oh boy.