Wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie?

OK, I admit it. In some matters, I wear a wide yellow stripe down my back.

I’m not a luddite. I pay my bills online. I go inside a bank maybe twice a year because I get my money from a hole in its exterior wall. When my computer at home has an issue, I feel as though I’ve been cut off from a large chunk of the planet.

However I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to exposing my credit card number on an online payment gizmothingy. Such as SDMBs.

It looks so…lame.

Anyone got nice, big, robust reassurances for me?

Thousands of us have done it and not had a problem. You won’t have to worry about it here.

I have a household card and an internet card. The internet card has a low credit to minimize losses. It’s also easy to see if there’s been any unauthorized activity on it.

I was planning to do that. Haven’t got it yet. But I guess if Teeming Thousands have paid and not suffered…

One of us … one of us … one of us …

For some time now I’ve been trying to implement a system whereby everybody pays me instead of the SD.

All you (and everyone else) need to do is email me with your bank details and authorise a variable direct debit from your account to mine. I’ll take care of the onerous administrative details from there on in. Naturally I will forward your payment to the SD, having added on my agency fee. There is no need for you to know how much this fee is. It will probably be as much as I can get away with without you noticing.

If my new agency fails because embezzlement cripples its finances and renders it totally unviable, I promise not to empty your bank account and flee to:

El Palacio Guevara,
2374, Avenida Guevara,

I look forward to administering your membership requirements at an early opportunity. And please don’t worry.

Good idea! Out of curiosity, what’s the number on that card?

Don’t use your card, ever. Do what I did and take your pieces of eight directly to the Chicago Reader offices. It’s the only safe way.

Pieces of eight, eh. Hm.

(rustle, rustle, clink, rustle, rustle, clinketty clink)

Hmmm. Nope. Only got doubloons. Will they do? If so, I’ll fire up the Lear and be right over.

Discover card has a service that will allow you to get a for-single-use number that will be billed back to your card. I am willing to bet this is not unique to Discover cards.

You go to their site, get a number, use it for your purchase and it is billed to your regular account, but can never be used again. I have not used this method of payment yet, but wish I had on at least two occasions. I will probably do so in the future.

Meh, I just used one I found whilst rummaging through my next-door neighbours mail.

BTW, Chez have you been able to forward my payment to my long-lost cousin’s Nigerian widow?

I have paid, and suffer not. Rather, I rejoice in the light and the goodness and the endless fascinating threads.

Actually, I haven’t had anything dodgy go on with online shopping or subscriptions.

You can buy small denomination credit cards at most drugstores and supermarkets now. On or near the gift card rack. Some are fixed value and some can be reloaded. Fees vary, so read the package.

I use those when I travel, because I often stay in dubious accommodations, and your luggage gets rifled while the staff know you are swimming. So I refill via net banking as I travel and I can limit my losses.

One thing to know, though is that you must call in to have them enter a street address before you can use it online, since online forms need something to verify against. But it needn’t be your own address if you are leery about giving that out. Just use your office address or something else you won’t forget.

If people thought subscribing to the SDMB put them at risk, we wouldn’t have a lot of activity here; no one would subscribe or resubscribe.

There have been thousands of these transactions since we went to the subscription plan a few years back. We have yet to hear of any breaches in security in all that time and all those transactions.

We also sell books and coffee mugs and etc at the Straight Dope Store; those transactions are likewise secure.

Here’s a quote from the Straight Dope Message Board Rules concerning this situation:

"If you subscribe to the SDMB using a credit card, your card number and related information is retained in a secure database at our office. Access to this database is restricted to authorized Reader personnel. SDMB moderators and administrators do not have access to the database. "

Hope this helps.

You can also pay using PayPal, in which case your credit card number (or bank info, etc) is never shared with the SDMB or the Reader.

I should say, as far as I know your CC info isn’t shared using PayPal. I’m not aware that PayPal passes on that information usually, but I can’t speak to any unique situation the SDMB may have set up.

PayPal now offers a single-use card number also, for use in purchases where the seller takes cards but not PayPal.

OK, 'tis done. I held my breath and dove. If I see flight tickets to Rio on my next bill, I’ll not be cheery. But I’ll still be Quiddity. Who, it seems, can do things like search and stuff now. This could be fun. Thanks to everyone who replied after my Guest pass ran out, BTW.

One of us… one of us… one of us…