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|Monday October 4, 2010|
John Perry Barlow
Who's Watching What You Spend Your Money On?
You want to buy your favorite $150 bottle of single malt Scotch -- but you don't want your wife to find out.
You go to pay the guy who just fixed your fence but find out he doesn't have a bank account. He doesn't want to pay a fee to a check cashing store. And you don't want to give him cash.
You'd like to do more shopping online, but you're worried about giving your credit card number to the smaller companies.
Your kid's off to college -- and you don't trust him with a credit card.
You have family overseas and you often transfer money to them -- but you're losing hundreds of dollars a year in transfer fees.
That's where "private plastic," the world's most discreet debit card, comes in.
According to the website of the company that offers it, this card:
"First off," Mr. V, a representative of the company, told me, "let me make it clear that this won't work for terrorists trying to transfer money overseas or drug smugglers laundering money. We have monitoring systems that keep track of unusual transactions. Last week, for instance, we caught a guy trying to move large amounts of money each week through Panama."
Keep Your Spending Private
You don't receive statements. (You can get your account balance by text message, if you'd like.) Your account info is only available online at a password-protected site.
What about refunds? Doesn't the company keep a record of your transactions to deal with that?
"There is a record of the transaction," admitted Mr. V. "Because if, say, you have a problem with a purchase and you claim you never made that purchase, we need to know it happened. But we don't have access to those records. Only the service company that processes the transactions has them."
The Roots of Private Plastic
Plus, it's just about impossible to get a hotel room or rental car or buy something online without plastic.
"And suppose you have to make payments to a guy who cleans your car every week or to your gardener," said Mr. V. "You can pay him with the card."
Private plastic is also ideal for transferring money nationwide or even worldwide. It's an alternative to Western Union, and for parents who want to control their kids' spending. (Because you load it with cash, they can never go over the limit.)
With private plastic, you load up your card in one of three ways: you take cash to an authorized location, you get a direct deposit from your regular job or work you do on the side, or you get money transferred from a bank account (yours or someone else's).
You can have your full paycheck go to the card. (It works just like when you get a direct deposit to your checking account -- and your boss won't know the difference.) Or you can put just a portion of your check to the plastic account -- maybe if you want to budget some "private" money for hobby or special interest.
The loading is anonymous, too. And your account is protected just as it is with any other credit or debit card. You don't have to sacrifice security for privacy. Your funds are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. In case of identity theft or a lost or stolen card, you just call up the company and report it. MasterCard's zero liability policy helps protect you from unauthorized purchases.
For more information on how you can get your piece of private plastic, go here for the special report we've just put together with all the details.
You'll also find out all about our Liberty Street League premium wealth-building advisory service. Each month, we reveal financial privacy and asset protection strategies like the one you just learned about, as well as strategies for making money in real estate, commodities, precious metals, stocks, bonds, fine art, side businesses, online ventures, and much more. Plus, we talk about saving money through insider discounts, under-the-radar deals, and savvy negotiation.
"Dear Mr. Masterson,
"I've been an ETR subscriber for many years now. I get soooo much from the ETR newsletter and your weekly journal. This week's journal ("Investment Basics") was especially moving for me in more ways than one.
"So many people will benefit from the story you shared here.
Today's Words That Work: Maladroit
Maladroit (mal-uh-DROIT) -- from the French -- means unskillful; awkward; bungling; tactless.
Example (as used by Jennifer B. McDonald in a New York Times review of Diaghilev: A Life by Sjeng Scheijen): "[Diaghilev's] mother died soon after his birth, and he was raised by his father, a military man turned maladroit businessman, and a 'dreamy' stepmother who taught young Serge never to utter the words 'I can't.'"
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