Save. Spend. Splurge.

Would you ever read your credit card number out loud in a public place?

So I was buying a bunch of fridge separators over the phone, ordering from an Australian company, and had to read out my Visa info out loud.

A woman at a parking pay machine nearby was so distressed and shocked, and came up directly to confront me because I read my credit card number out loud with the expiration date and so on.

She said to me:

You should be more careful reading your credit card number out loud in a public place.


I would NEVER do it to you, but wow, you should never EVER do this.

Me: *Shrug* *pointing to phone, and mouthing “can’t talk”*

She walked away shaking her head, probably judging me for being a dumbass in her mind.

She had good intentions but I was still on the phone and not about to get into it with her, to explain why I thought what her concern was, was kind of only for a very low percentage of cases, if that.

I mean I don’t have stats on this, but it just doesn’t seem very likely to be a thing.

She must think I am beyond stupid for doing so, but honestly, I’ve learned over the years that it doesn’t really matter because of these reasons:

  • They need your full name on the card at least to charge the card – I never said my name.
  • They sometimes ask for your billing address – I never said that either – they already had it on file.
  • They’d have to be super prepared for the recital¬†— Someone needs the foresight to be there, ready with a pen and pad, to write down the number as I am reading it out or to have a recorder as I am doing it, or have super amazing memory to know all of those numbers and to not forget a single digit.
  • I check my credit card statements obsessively – If I see a charge that doesn’t make sense or match my budget¬† I can just report it, dispute the transaction / report the card stolen, which essentially it is. If you don’t check your statements, sure, this is an issue, but I do.


Not really. Sure it might be a hassle if it ever happened but it is maybe 0.00001% of the time that this would actually happen, and I wasn’t in such a super public spot with a TON of people.

I was in a quieter street with only her, paying for parking across from me, and I tried to walk into a store to talk on the phone in a quieter section but this annoying owner comes up and starts talking to me while I am on the damn phone (WTF go away), and I had to go back outside to not be annoyed / bothered, as I am on the phone and not listening to you or anyone around me.

It is more likely that you will get your credit card number stolen in a restaurant, abroad, or anywhere you SWIPE your card.

They have fake card readers where you swipe your card (even in parking machines), and it records the information (name and all) without any errors.

Reading out a number (and being prepared to catch it), is less likely than a card swiping machine, hidden in an apron of a waiter/waitress.

My family has all gotten their card numbers stolen abroad numerous times, all from card swiping machines – whereas when I travel, I always bring cash and only use the card when I truly have a purchase I did not plan for like a $200 purse in some little shop, and MUST HAVE IT. I know that the likelihood of my card getting stolen is higher abroad, not here.

My family by the way, have always had their credit card transactions reversed that weren’t theirs (they go through the list and pick out what is yours and what isn’t), and that’s it.

If you get truly stressed about this stuff, I heard there are services with scrambled credit card numbers that then link to your actual credit card number, like a decoy of some sort.

I’ve never used them, but presumably you can use these throwaway credit card numbers to pay for things, but it links to your actual credit card, but if thieves online steal your number from the merchant, they steal the fake number not your real one.

Or, use Paypal.

I have used it a few times, but stopped because it was so incredibly annoying if I used Paypal at Aritzia or Best Buy, only to return something and have them tell me they couldn’t process the refund right away as it was Paypal and it has to be re-routed through their department, and might take up to 3 weeks (and I’d have to follow up on it to make sure). I stopped doing that.

A number I would be FAR MORE CONCERNED about reading out loud in a public spot is my Social Insurance number. That one, I will go in person to the government agency, and not even mail it if I can, because I really don’t want to say it out loud.



  • Lynn LESERRA

    I feel uncomfortable when someone reads
    back my credit card number, security code and expiration date out loud in a public place. I guess they would need my name, but geeze keep quiet and take my number.

  • SarahN

    Interesting perspective, as you’re also a big advocate for screen protectors and are very security conscious in other ways.

    Whereas me, I just let all this be ok.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I am VERY security conscious but my credit card number? No big deal to me, really. I don’t do it often or purposefully but if I cannot have a safe place to answer and talk without anyone around as I am in public, what am I going to do?

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *