I have a confession: I have check-out-a-phobia.
Even if I am 100% sure that my balance is paid off and/or I have sufficient funds in my bank account, I am always convinced that my credit or debit card will be denied when I’m paying at a store. Always.
My fear stems from two nightmare trips. To Costco. Yes, COSTCO! Yes, Costco BOTH times!
The first time was my fault.
While paying for a huge cart full of wonderful “necessities,” I swiped my debit card, entered my pin, 5978*, and then it happened. The dreaded message flashed on the screen. “Incorrect. Try again.”
I followed the instructions and tried again, pressing 5978, but harder this time. Incorrect.
I entered the numbers very slowly and deliberately…5…9…7…8. Incorrect.
I could feel my face getting hotter and hotter and I’m sure I was as red as a beet.
Even though I KNEW I had entered my correct pin I kept frantically trying to enter it over and over. And over. Incorrect. Incorrect. Incorrect.
As I looked behind me and saw the line stretched to the back of the store (or so it seemed), I wiped my sweat covered brow and admitted defeat. The cashier cancelled my transaction and painstakingly slowwwwwwly re-loaded the items into my cart. I stood by the cart for what seemed like an eternity, waiting for Jim to come with backup funds.
About a minute before he arrived, I realized the problem. I had loaned Jimmy my debit card. And I had borrowed Jim’s card.
I was entering MY pin correctly. But it wasn’t MY card! I should have been entering JIM’S PIN!!! I wanted to hide in a corner for a week but I had to relive the embarrassment all over again when I explained to Jim what happened. I felt like such an idiot. Oy Vey.
The second time wasn’t my fault, but that didn’t make it any less humiliating.
My long time readers may remember when I hosted the community outreach event “Trick or Treat, Give Me Something Good To Eat.” What I never did tell you was that the day of the event, I had a last minute panic that the enormous mound of donations I had in my living room wasn’t enough. I left early for the event to fill up a cart at – you guessed it – Costco.
This time when I swiped my card, the cashier gave me the raised-eyebrow-judgy-Judy look as she said “Your card has been declined.” My jaw dropped and I’m sure my eyes were as big as saucers. Of course, I prolonged the agony by asking her to swipe it again. And again.
Just like the first story, I had to stand there while she cancelled my transaction and slowwwwwwwwwwwwwly re-loaded the items. So there I was, standing by my cart – again – avoiding eye contact with the exceedingly long line of people behind me (because there’s ALWAYS an exceedingly long line at Costco!).
This time instead of calling Jim, I called my bank. And found out my card number had been stolen.
I wanted to shout out to the cashier and everyone else in the store “Hey! It wasn’t my fault! I had money in my account! Really!!!” but instead I was a tad more subtle – I just loudly repeated portions of the conversation with my bank such as “CARD NUMBER COMPROMISED” and “ACCOUNT FROZEN FOR SECURITY REASONS” to make myself feel slightly less embarrassed. Very slightly.
Jim ended up coming to the rescue again with his debit card. And he actually entered HIS pin number…so it worked!
I still get the shakes every time I enter Costco.
Recently, compromised accounts have been in the news a lot, fanning the flames of my check-out-a-phobia! The most recent I’ve heard about is the millions of card numbers stolen when Home Depot had a huge data breach. WTOP just published 5 Ways To Protect Yourself from Data Breaches, and #1 on the list states “Any technology that avoids you having your credit card in your hand in a store is safer.”
That’s where Verizon’s Softcard comes into play! Softcard™ is a mobile wallet! It is an app that lets you pay with a tap of your phone, save with special offers, and store loyalty, membership and rewards cards.
With Softcard, you can add eligible payment cards to pay for purchases and get all the benefits and protections you would with your physical card, or setup a prepaid account and add money to it with your preferred debit card, credit card or U.S. bank account.
Softcard also holds offers and stores loyalty cards, so you can get savings and loyalty points without having to carry around a bunch of cards and coupons.
I must admit I was a bit leery about security at first. Although I’ve never actually lost my phone – there are usually a dozen times a day where I THINK I’ve lost it. I wondered if I did lose it, what would happen to my payment information?? But once I found out Softcard not only has a security pin number, but also a “Remote Wallet Lock,” my worries were eased. One phone call or visit to a website instantly locks the entire mobile wallet.
There is a Referral Program which will give you up to $150 in Amazon gift cards for friends who activate ($10 per friend). Plus your friend will get a $10 gift card too! And here are offers for Softcard users (terms may apply):
- Get $1 back on each purchase of $1 or more up to $50 per month with Serve credit (ends 12/31/14)
- If you sign up for “My Coke Rewards,” your first 3 Coca-Cola drinks are FREE. After the first 3 free drinks, if you buy 10 more, you get another 1 FREE (ends 12/31/14)
- White House Black Market – $20 off $80 (ends 10/31)
- Chico’s – $25 off $100 or more (ends 10/31)
There are over 200,000 locations where Softcard can be used and you can search for locations by zip code. Go check it out! How many locations are near you?
*No, that isn’t my real pin! 🙂