Discover Ends Disposable Credit Card Number Program

Discover sent around an email last night informing customers that it would be ending the “Secure Online Account Numbers” service. This feature helped you mitigate the potential for online fraud by letting you generate unique credit card numbers you could use per online retailer or even per transaction. A few Consumerist readers were bummed to see it go.

The email said:

We appreciate your continued loyalty to Discover and are committed to protecting your personal information so you can use your card with confidence and peace of mind. In fact, over the years Discover, as well as the credit card industry, have added security measures to protect customers from fraudulent use of their cards both online and offline.

In light of these increased security measures we will be discontinuing the Secure Online Account Numbers program effective September 8, 2011. We realize that you may have Secure Online Account Numbers stored in online shopping carts, so we have taken the necessary actions to keep those numbers valid and active until the expiration date shown on your Discover card for the account you used to create the Secure Online Account Number.

You will be able to generate new Secure Online Account Numbers until September 8, 2011.

Please remember, you’re always protected whenever you use your card with $0 Fraud Liability, so use your card with confidence, as you’re *never* liable for unauthorized purchases – online, offline, anytime, anywhere. Again, thank you for your continued loyalty.

Tipster Justin wrote, “It’s a shame, as that was one of the more useful features about the card.”

“My wife and I used these extensively and are saddened to see the service suddenly nixed,” wrote reader Charles. “Using a different card number for each online purchase (or at least each retailer) would let me know who I could no longer trust in the event that my info was ever compromised. And it would have given us some ammunition if Discover decided to fight back on claims of fraudulent charges.”

Perhaps it turned out that maintaining the program was more hassle than the security it was supposed to provide. Just swallowing whatever losses came up may ultimately be more cost-effective for the bank, even it if it’s more hassle for you, the customer.

Discover did not respond to a request for comment.

Secure Online Account Numbers [Discover]