How did Amazon know about a visa card number I never used with it?

Okay, so I haven’t used my own personal amazon account in like 3 years. My girlfriend had prime and I’d just have her order stuff for me and pay her back in cash. I recently tried to log in to my own amazon account after all this time, and I forgot my password, so I had to do a password reset.

It e-mailed me at my registered address, I entered that code, and then it said for security purposes please enter the expiration date for your card ending in XXXX.

I’ve gone through two debit cards since the last time I had used my amazon account 3 years ago. One expired, and then one was cloned/stolen and had to be replaced. So the card I currently have has never been on amazon. The card is barely a year old - I haven’t logged into my amazon account for 3 years.

So I figured amazon was asking me to get the expiration date from a card I no longer have. But just in case, I grabbed my new card from my wallet and checked. And it matched the last 4 digits that amazon asked for. So amazon somehow knows about my 1 year old debit card with a new number even though I haven’t logged into amazon for 3 years.

How do they know this? Do they have some sort of database access with Visa so they can query an old card number and get a new number for me?

Edit: I forgot one purchase I made at the end of 2017. So a year and a half since I last used amazon, not 3 years. However, that’s still older than my newest debit card, and in fact, on the order history it still lists my last purchase being made with my previous (cloned/stolen/discontinued) card. It still doesn’t explain how amazon knows my current card.

Okay, so when I logged into my account, I was able to select the new card as a payment device. So they don’t just know it for security purposes, they apparently have this new card, which I have never entered into their site, as a valid ready-to-go payment method.

A few guesses:

  1. You forgot about another purchase you almost made, where you entered the card, but didn’t complete the purchase. That wouldn’t show up in your list of orders, but Amazon would have the card.
  2. Some 3rd party sites use Amazon as a payment processor. That might end up with your card details in Amazon’s possession?

Maybe you purchased from one of the companies owned by Amazon, like audible.com? Or have a paid subscription?

When cards expire, they are typically reissued with the same card #, all that changes is the expiration date & the CVV # on the back. It’s possible they already have the card # because it’s the same as the old card that expired & not the one that was compromised.

Your browser knows!

If you used that new credit card at any other website,the number is stored within your browser (but not the CCV). So any website you visit with that browser, and purchase something, the browser will offer to fill in your name, address, and credit card number for you.

Please read gazpacho’s reply in comment 5, it is the right answer.

A lot of people think they can sign up for a recurring charge and get out of it by reporting their credit card lost or by using a “one-time use” virtual card number. Merchants can still get to you (“for your convenience” of course).

When my card was recently compromised in Chicago, this service made it really, really easy to transition to my new card. All of my bills were paid on time. I suppose, though, that if the criminal who took my number signed up for recurring payments, that might have been inconvenient…

What the OP is describing does not sound like auto-fill. The number is not showing up autofilled on a blank form asking for details: Amazon’s web page is saying “Hey, you’ve got a card ending with 1234 on file. What’s the expiry on that?” Sounds to me like gazpacho’s answer is the most likely.