What is FACTA?

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) prohibits businesses and governmental entities from issuing receipts bearing more than the last five digits of a customer’s credit card number.  It also prohibits a merchant from printing the card’s expiration date on the receipt.

What are some examples of violations relating to expiration dates?

Example 1:  Exp: 02/19

Example 2:  Exp: 0219

Example 3:  02/19

Example 4:  Exp Date: 0219

What are some examples of violations relating to credit card numbers?

Example 1:   22** *** *** 1111

Example 2:  **** **** **44 4444

Example 3: **** **** **77 ****

Example 4: **** 55** **** ****    

Why is this illegal?

Congress created FACTA in response to widespread identity theft, as a way to combat identity theft.  Because many receipts end up in a trash can, on sidewalks, and left in vehicles, merchants should only publish a minimum amount of information on receipts.  FACTA is an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a body of law generally designed to protect consumers.

What is a merchant required to do?

Merchants must redact all but the last five digits of a credit or debit card number.  When accepting a credit card for payment of goods or services, most merchants will print a receipt containing the last four digits of a customer’s credit card number.  FACTA actually allows more than this.  The business may print the last five digits of a credit card number.

Does the law apply to receipts issued to debt card users?

Yes.  The law applies equally regardless of whether the consumer uses a credit card or debit card.

What can I do if this happens?

Take a picture of your receipt or keep a copy.  FACTA provides that consumers may recover between $100 and $1,000 without proving actual damages.  In addition to these “statutory damages” consumers may recover attorney fees and potentially punitive damages.  Because the cases are well suited for class action status, one person may bring suit on behalf of a large number of unknown persons.  In this situation the class representative may be awarded an incentive payment, which sometimes ranges from $1,000 to $10,000.

I received a receipt from a government agency.  Is the agency exempt from this law?

No.  FACTA applies to “any individual, partnership, corporation, trust, estate, cooperative, association, government or governmental subdivision or agency, or other entity.  See 15 U.S.C. 1681a(b).  The law may not apply to Native American tribes under some situations.

If you have questions about a potential FACTA violation please don’t hesitate to call our office at (314) 725-4400 or send us a text message at (314) 974-3266.