Laws and regulations regarding credit card truncation

First, credit card truncation means that electronically printed credit card receipts will print only part of the card number, usually the last four numbers. This is to prevent lost receipts from being used for fraudulent transactions.

There is no Michigan law requiring credit card truncation. However, Visa has new requirements regarding credit card truncation that retailers need to understand.

Effective July 1, 2003, Visa requires that all new equipment for producing electronically printed credit card receipts must provide customers with receipts with truncated numbers and no expiration date.

The deadline for existing machines—the date by which Visa requires all machines, new or old, to support truncation—is July 1, 2006. The extra three years gives retailers with older equipment time to make the necessary changes.
Truncation basics:

  • All rules about credit card truncation apply only to electronically printed receipts, not manual imprinters.
  • Truncation rules apply to receipts electronically printed in any format, whether a small cash register receipt or a full-page invoice that also serves as a credit card receipt.
  • Truncation is required only on the customer’s copy of the receipt. When retailers’ copies have truncated numbers, problems can arise with chargebacks or when a batch needs to be recreated. Because of this, two separate receipts (one truncated, one not) are necessary.
  • All new terminals provided by MRA as part of its bankcard services are capable of credit card truncation. (This is true of almost all terminals purchased through our program for the past three years).
  • For truncation to work, three things need to be in place:
    • The machine must be capable of truncation
    • The software must be programmed for truncation
    • The option to truncate must be turned on

For most retailers who do not yet offer truncated receipts, the change to truncation will mean reprogramming the software. MRA customers who use our bankcard services are not charged for reprogramming.

For some retailers, it’s simply a matter of turning on the truncation option. A few retailers will need to replace old machines that cannot support truncation.

Although the deadline for all machines to support truncation is still three years away, retailers would be wise to understand the issue and include truncation support in any business plans.