How to avoid this simple debit-card scam in Thailand

Using debit-cards to pay for services in Thailand is becoming more and more common. 5 years ago it would be hard to find a restaurant with a bankterminal to pay for your food.

Not anymore.

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Hotels, restaurants, bars and many other establishments have started to have bankterminals more and more the last years. You don’t need to walk around with a big stack of cash to get by anymore.

For example. I never pay my hotels in cash anymore. If the hotel is not pre-paid, I will pay it with my debit-card.

I’ve even seen a street food restaurant with a bankterminals in Bangkok now.

The times are changing I guess, and Thailand is becoming more and more like Japan and South-Korea than its neighboring countries. (Bangkok at least)


So, what scam am I talking about? 

Sometimes you have to give away your debit-card to a hotel employee or a waiter. She will then bring your card behind the desk to the bankterminal to withdraw money from it.

It’s easy for an dishonest employee to take a picture of your card with his / her phone. She can then use it later to buy stuff online.

All you need to buy stuff online is three different numbers from your card:

  1. The card-number
  2. The expire date
  3. The three digit CVC-code.

No need for pin-code.


This is how I deal with it

I have two cards that go to the same bank account.

The first card is normal, the second card I have censored the CVC-code and the expiry date.

Having only the card-number is useless. You can not buy anything with the card with only that number, but you can still use the magnet strip / chip to buy stuff in shops.

This method is genius because I don’t have to go around worry about where I have my debit-card. I can just ‘throw it around’ without any concern to different employees and waiters.

Getting a duplicate card is easy and mostly free in all banks. Just call them up and tell them that you want a second card to your bank account.

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