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Update by user Nov 28, 2011

Since it\'s a been few years, I\'ll offer up an update on my continued experience with Shopsafe. If I give the number to a well established online business and know that I won\'t be using the virtual card again, I immediately close the number to and if it\'s been closed for a lenghty amount of time, an attempted rebill by that business will fail without generating a fraud alert. As such, I continue to use Shopsafe for those type of transactions (e.g. Apple iTunes) but attempt to use the Citibank program or a pre-paid credit card for transactions with businesses that are new, not well known, or of unknown or somewhat questionable reputation.

I still believe that the Shopsafe is broken because a transaction that is either over the customer designated limit of that virtual number or the virtual number is still open but expired, B of A will not automatically decline it as they should. Instead, it gets flagged and the customer is called to see if the charge is legit and assuming it\'s not, the result will be a closure of your real number and the the pain that entails.

However to be fair, B of A is among 2 or 3 banks that offer virtual numbers and I believe more banks don\'t offer it because it\'s too consumer friendly and the many businesses that offer on-going memberships or subscriptions with automatic re-bills loathe the virtual numbers for obvious reasons. This is probably why Paypal closed their virtual number program and Discover tried to close theirs as well but restarted it after customers complained. So I\'m not as \'pissed\' as I was before because the alternatives are very slim and I learned how to use Shopsafe with it\'s inherent deficiencies.

Original review posted by user Aug 17, 2008

Formerly an MBNA program, the Bank of America Shopsafe feature allows you to generate virtual credit card numbers that can be used to safely hide your real number along with setting a credit limit and expiration date for the virtual number. It worked great under MBNA but leave it to Bank of America to screw up a good thing.

Recently one of the virtual numbers that I used (and was expired) was stolen and thieves attempted to use it. The charges were denied of course, but B of A fraud dept calls up and asks if the charges were legit. I say no they weren't, and fraud department says they have to close my current credit card and issue a new one. What?!

So even though my real number was not compromised and the Shopsafe did it's function, my credit is turned off until a new card can be sent.

What kind of idiots do they have working at that place??

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markbyrn
#873352

Anyone, your temporary number will be treated no different than the real number except when you cancel the number. For example, I like to use temporary numbers to prevent automatic renewals and if the temporary number is cancelled, future charge won't go through and they'll be no problem.

Unfortunately from experience, if the number is not cancelled and the number is stolen and gets used, the charge won't likely go through (either for going above the credit limit you assigned or expiration date) but it will be treated as a fraud incident and your real card will get reissued. This is I know from experience and why I complained about it.

So if you do use Shopsafe, make sure you cancel the temporary number() after use; very easy to do using the web app.

Anonymous
#873330

Would appreciate replies from anyone who RECENTLY used B of A ShopSafe, and had a temporary number stolen/unauthorized charge etc happen.

--- Did they cancel & reissue your REAL card number when the temporary number got stolen/misused/etc?

(my whole reason for using ShopSafe is to decrease the chances of my REAL card from getting cancelled and reissued)

--- Are you sure it was the temporary number and not the REAL card number that got stolen/etc ?

--- If they did cancel & reissue the REAL card number, then do you think it would help to promptly CLOSE the temporary number after using it? Would that cause B of A not to mess with the REAL card?

Thank you.

Anonymous
to Anyone Homosassa, Florida, United States #1209205

Had this happen, real card was not canceled. I am sure it was the temporary number and not the real card number. I closed the temporary number.

Anonymous
#794040

The Bank of America Shopsafe virtual credit card is a great feature. I have been using it for about 10 years with no problems for both on-line and phone purchases.

On several occasions, the virtual card number either expired or ran out of funds so the card was immediately rejected at the merchant's point of sale as it was supposed to. There were no calls from the bank as one reviewer said. To complete the sale, I had to reissue a new number with a new expiration date, amount, and card authorization number. Also, expired virtual number cards presented no return problems.

After returning items after the virtual card number expired, my real account that was linked to it was credited as if I used it instead of Shopsafe. I would recommend Shopsafe to anyone fearful of online credit card fraud.

However, I have not tried it with a real bricks and Mortar merchant, but, due to the Target ***, I am considering a test buy.

Anonymous
#738119

It looks like they've fixed part of this now. I tried to make a $40 purchase using a $30 VCC, and the transaction was declined.

Anonymous
#582017

I have not run into issues with the safety of shop safe, my biggest problem is that you can not easily find a link when logged into BoA's site to generate a number. I need to click several links to get to "learn about" shop safe and from there I can launch the web app to generate a number. The apparently do not want you to use it.

Anonymous
to Brian Sammamish, Washington, United States #595861

Yes the access to ShopSafe is sort of hidden.

And after you get the ShopSafe Window displayed the layout of the window is terrible--you have have to scroll back and forth to see things in the list of active shop safe numbers because the window can't be resized. (At least this is what I see in Internet Explorer 8 and 9).

Anonymous
#577471

I, too, have experienced the stupidity of having my card replaced when it was ONLY the ShopSafe number that was compromised.

ALSO : when your real credit card number is compromised they cancel all your current in-use Shop Safe numbers thereby defeating it's purpose. SIGH!

Still I use it a dozen times a month, not only for online but for call-ins.

Anonymous
to JoeF Portland, Oregon, United States #789348

A year plus later they did it again! Cancelled my REAL credit card and subsequently decline legitimate ShopSafe numbers that I'm still using!

SIGH!

I've decided to get around this by paying $35 for a second AlaskaAirlines bofa card that will never leave my safe! :-)

Anonymous
#560968

Something I recently learned about ShopSafe: Any merchant, legit or otherwise, can use your ShopSafe virtual number to obtain balance and payment information about your actual credit card account. Try it for yourself.

Generate a ShopSafe number and give it a $1 and 1 month limit. Call the number on the back of your real BOA card and when their automated system asks for your 16 digit card number, use the ShopSafe number you just generated.

What you hear back may surprise you. This is NOT GOOD!!!.

Anonymous
#547812

Everytime your shopsafe number is compromised, BofA will cancel your credit card and issue a new one. This transactions will apeear on your credit report as "CC lost or stolen" and will impact your credit score. as far as the credit bureau are concerned, the customer is an *** who keep ;osing his/her cards.

Anonymous
#468993

The problem is, as a consumer you are already protected from the fraudulent charges. BofA is protecting itself by canceling your whole card instead of just canceling the affected ShopSafe number. The "firewalling" that ShopSafe provides is useless to the customer if it still causes the rest of the account to be canceled.

Anonymous
#461618

Many of the folks posting comments don't understand what ShopSafe is. It is an alias virtual number.

Only Bank of America knows what *real* credit card number the ShopSafe account number links to. No merchant or anyone else can get access to this information. That was the whole point of creating a virtual account number. I was surprised to see a post by a Bank of America employee supporting the idea that the true card number should be cancelled and reissued.

THERE IS NO RISK to Bank of America or anyone else. MBNA invented the ShopSafe program to eliminate the risk to the bank. Bank of America simply doesn't understand the technology and what it's purpose is, and treats the ShopSafe numbers like real credit card numbers. They are not.

The ShopSafe number can only be used by the merchant who first posts a charge to the card, and only up to the credit limit set by the owner at the time the card is created. Too bad no one at Bank of America understands this.

Anonymous
Grandfield, Oklahoma, United States #446144

Shop Safe should be called Shop Safe with Pending Huge PITA (Pain in the a**). My credit card is constantly 'disabled' because on online merchant is using a CLOSED shop safe number to make fraudulent charges.

This is extremely annoying. I called BAC, and talked to two different reps. They don't even seem to know they own ShopSafe now; and could not put in in touch with anyone. They sent me to MBNA.

Really? The MBNA ShopSafe site just sends me to BAC.

Anonymous
#415514

A Shopsafe number is supposedly only good at the merchant who made the first charge. If the number is stolen, it would only work at that merchant. That feature by itself is pretty good at preventing fraudulent charges.

As for the issue in this article, canceling a card from a fraudulent Shopsafe charge, seems like total overkill to me.

Anonymous
#401823

What you have experienced with BoA Shop semi-Safe is an example of the endemic ineptitude that BoA's back line repeats in many areas. I came over from a Charles Schwab credit card to BoA and it was FUBAR from Day 1.

From chat reps who seemingly can't read the message in front of them to obscure and non-documented processes that we are supposed to know through ESP, they are the worst of the worst.

Only saving grace has been their telephone customer service, which has been uniformly polite and helpful. Suggestion: Take the entire back line out, line them up next to a wall, shoot them, and give their salaries to the phone group...you'll have more happy customers.

Anonymous
#399826

When I get a new card as a result of expiration of a card, I've never gotten a new card number. The only time I get a new card number is when I request one as a result of attempted fraud by someone that's gotten my card.

jerodeheaver
#381612

While the changing of your card number is an unfortunate inconvenience, the cards and accounts are still ultimately the property of Bank of America Corp. and we do reserve the right to close your card in the event that we feel the account is going to be defrauded.

Please bear in mind that these are funds that you are borrowing from the bank and we also reserve the right to close your account in the event of misuse.

Again, we apoligize for all inconvenience... For any further information, please feel free to consult your Cardholder's Agreement.

Anonymous
to jerodeheaver #1085958

Pardon me, but in the case of a debit card these are *not* funds borrowed from the back — it's MY MONEY — money which we consumers have entrusted to BoA and with your bank can and does use as financial collateral! Oh, and by the way BoA is also applies hefty service charges to every consumer's account for the privilege of using our money.

Anonymous
#380152

Kenny is right, Shopsafe did exactly what it was intended to do, it prevented any unwarranted charges to the owner's credit card.

As for the rest of Markbyrn's complaint, he is complaining about having to deal with a new card number. Well, guess what: look at any credit card you own, on it you will find an expiration date. Whenever the card expires, you will be issued a new card with a new number and have to redo all your previous identification with other vendors anyway. It happens every 3 years or so, so it is no big deal.

Besides, it is an extra layer of security, because it is obvious that someone stole or misused the original virtual number, and could therefore potentially use the same illegal means to discover the real card number. Thus the bank is acting with the greatest security methods in mind; I would be upset if the bank did NOT follow such procedures.

The point is, the cardholder did not suffer any loss, which far outweighs any other inconvenience that might occur.

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