What is an Anonymous Debit Card?
An anonymous debit card allows a person to have access to her funds without having a card that displays her name. These cards are often purchased from banks in South American countries. They generally have the same appearance as other debit cards distributed by the issuers. Individuals interested in these financial instruments usually are not required to be account holders. Instead, all transactions are facilitated by a third party who is supposed to maintain the cardholder's anonymity.
Debit cards are generally linked to bank accounts held by the cardholders. Some of these cards display the names of the cardholder on the front. This arrangement makes it rather easy to link individuals to their transactions. The purpose of an anonymous debit card is it allows a person to make transactions anonymously.
These cards may not display a name or they can be issued under an alias or in a business' name. In any event, there should not be any links between the card and the cardholder. This arrangement generally works because all transactions, including obtaining the card, are handled by a third party. There are international services that can help an interested individual obtain an anonymous debit card.
In some instances, arrangements for an anonymous debit card are made through law firms. This is supposed to help increase the anonymity of the cardholder's transactions because the account activity is subject to attorney-client confidentiality rules. Whether the arrangements are made by an attorney or another third party, there are generally fees charged for obtaining the card and additional fees each time funds are added for accessibility.
According to the marketing for these cards, there are several ways they can be beneficial. To begin with, they usually resemble the other cards a bank issues to its account holders. A person can choose to have popular credit card logos such as MasterCard and Visa displayed on the card, so it will be widely accepted. When a person uses it, however, her name is not captured in any database linking her to the transaction.
Many of these cards have higher limits than regular debit cards tend to have. This includes both when making debit purchases and when withdrawing funds from an ATM. To obtain such a card, a substantial first deposit is often required and there may be minimum balance restrictions. The third party through which the card is obtained will generally provide a means for the cardholder to view her account information as she would do with Internet banking on a normal account.
Those interested in these types of cards should be aware. In some instances, cards may not truly be anonymous. Although the user's name may not be visible on the front of the card, it may be included in and readable from the magnetic strip on the back of the card.
@Reminiscence- I agree that public figures who want to protect their identities should have the option of using anonymous debit cards, but I don't believe that's the target demographic for bank card issuers. I think these anonymous prepaid debit cards are meant more for couriers and other people who handle sensitive transactions.
I can see where a well-known politician or other public figure might send someone else on an errand in order to avoid a mob scene or a scandal. I can just see the headline if the president were seen coming out of a women's lingerie shop, for example. If one of his aides had an anonymous debit card, however, there would be no embarrassing paper trail.
I have never encountered an anonymous debit card in all my years as a restaurant cashier. I can't say that I've looked at every single debit or credit card I've been presented for payment, but they've all required signatures. I didn't even know there was such a thing as an anonymous prepaid debit card until I read this article.
I can see where something like that would be useful for some people, though. Since my restaurant is located inside a prestigious hotel, I do encounter a fair share of celebrities. I'm always surprised to see a famous person's name imprinted on a Mastercard debit card just like everybody else's. I would think for personal privacy purposes they should have an option to have that name removed.
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