The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 August 2007

Surrender the plastic

If you're not keen on giving out your credit-card numbers, you can probably relate to this:

I received a free iTunes download from Ticketmaster this morning. To retrieve said download, an Apple account had to be created.

And, of course, Apple wants to know how they're going to collect from you — even if they're giving you a freebie.

I used to advise people to get a card with a very low limit just for such occasions; yes, I know that you're not going to have to eat any illegal transactions, but there's a certain satisfaction in sticking it to identity thieves. At the time, I had a MasterCard with a whopping $100 limit, which I used for all manner of low-level Net transactions. Unfortunately, I was diligent in making payments, and now that card has a $12,500 limit, and I'd just as soon AverageOnlineMerchant dot com didn't have any record of it.

So I'm thinking maybe an American Express gift card, say $25 worth. (I get one of these every few months for spending some ungodly sum on my Amex.) It acts pretty much like any other American Express card, and once you get tired of it, it's easy to burn off somewhere.

The alternative — you get freebies without having to sign up for anything — is too remote a possibility to consider.

Posted at 6:23 AM to Common Cents

Most cards let you generate a temp/throwaway number....

Posted by: Val at 6:52 AM on 3 August 2007

I suspect that the reason they ask for the card is to scare people away -- to limit their losses.

I mean, it IS a loss-leader, right?


Posted by: Mark Alger at 10:17 AM on 3 August 2007

Back to the specifics for iTunes: You don't have to give Apple a credit card number at all. You can just buy iTunes Gift Cards at a retail location (even supermarkets tend to have them in check-out lines) and continually load up your account with them, as I regularly do. A bit of a roundabout approach, but it keeps your credit card out of the loop.

Posted by: CT at 3:07 PM on 3 August 2007

Just give them McGehee's card. That's what I do.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 3:00 AM on 5 August 2007