We should say: when you have to change your credit or debit card numbers. If the widespread Target card breach didn’t scare you, it should have. Many consumers whose cards were caught up in that net of crime now suddenly have new card numbers to deal with. The card numbers aren’t really the problem: it’s tracking down which accounts you have set up to auto-pay which other accounts that can be a headache.
Whether your cards were caught up in the Target breach or not, take this opportunity to get your auto-payments in writing so you know which cards are signed up where, and which payments to change in case of a card number breach.
Our financial wizard colleagues over at Consumer Reports suggest making a comprehensive list of all auto-debits you have set up, whether they use plastic or electronic funds transfer. If the account does use a card, make a note of the expiration date, and make sure to update the account before your card expires. (If you’re really organized, make a note of this in your calendar.)
Some bills let you set up backup funding sources: consider this in order to avoid interruptions in service or late fees for key bills.
Target breach shows why you must keep track of your automatic payments [Consumer Reports]