Don’t let supermarket cashiers swipe your debit card twice



For the past six years, we have been warned time and again that we should not let supermarket cashiers swipe debit cards as they often swipe them twice and it is improper to swipe the cards a second time. Cashiers, however, continue to swipe customers' cards and have no other option because their employers force them to do so.

If a customer asks a cashier not to swipe his debit card, the cashier will simply cancel the transaction and the customer will have to pay in cash. Most customers let cashiers swipe their debit cards again, although they are aware of the dangers of doing so.

The Electronic Saudi Payment Network (Mada) has recently re-issued a warning to customers asking them not to let supermarket cashiers swipe their debit cards for a second time. Mada has stressed that the second swipe is not a part of the purchase transaction and that supermarket cashiers do so for marketing or accounting purposes in order to harvest customer data.

Their systems, however, can be hacked and customer data could be stolen without their knowledge. What have government agencies done to stop this? I am talking about the Consumer Protection Association, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and the Ministry of Commerce and Investment. Heavy fines should be imposed on supermarkets that engage in this practice. Moreover, the general public should be encouraged to report violations to the concerned authorities.

The majority of the general public who use debit cards is not aware of the dangers posed to their personal data. They can be duped out of money as a result of their poor understanding of how to use debit cards. Banks should educate customers about this and launch intensive campaigns to raise awareness, since private customers are after all like businesses and have accounts with banks.