Recent Litigation is Harsh Reminder to Businesses to Truncate Financial Information on Customer Receipts


Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (“FACTA”), which amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act and went into full effect in December 2006, retailers are permitted to show only the last five digits of the credit or debit card number on a printed receipt and may not show any portion of the card’s expiration date. 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g). Recently, plaintiff’s attorneys have brought a wave of devastating litigation against retailers who provide electronic credit card and debit card receipts to consumers without properly truncating the card number or expiration date on the printed receipt in violation of FACTA.
Retailers who fail to comply with FACTA risk a class action lawsuit and potential damages that could cripple almost any business. In this regard, negligent failure to comply with the statute may result in liability for a customer’s actual damages and attorney fees. 15 U.S.C § 1681o. Retailers risk much harsher penalties, however, for willful failure to comply with the statute. Such conduct may result in liability for actual damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and statutory fines of up to $1,000 per violation. 15 U.S.C. § 1681n.
Although some federal courts recently have ruled that FACTA’s truncation requirements are unconstitutional, until the law is settled in this area, retailers should become familiar with these requirements and ensure that they do not provide full credit or debit card numbers or expiration dates on receipts to customers.