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I have a Mastercard credit card issued by a U.S.-based financial institution. Several billing cycles ago the card information was compromised and several hundred transactions were initiated. The card issuer's fraud detection was able to flag all these fraudulent charges and either cancel payments or issue chargebacks. A new card was issued which I activated. However, the next billing cycle, more fraudulent charges were detected, canceled, and new cards issued. This has occurred for four billing cycles now, and four new cards issued.

The explanation I have received from the card issuer is that credit card networks like Mastercard and Visa have agreements with vendors that allow them to forward subscription charges to new credit cards when the card on file has expired. Presumably this is a benefit to customers who don't want their subscription services interrupted when their credit cards expire. The current method for dealing with these fraudulent subscription charges is to call up the credit card issuer and block these vendors one-by-one. This is time-consuming and frustrating, and a method for handling them all at once is preferred.

My question is:

Did I receive an accurate explanation for how subscription charges are forwarded on the credit card network? If this differs by network, please specify.

Secondly, is there a way to opt-out of this service? Does the card issuer have control over if subscription services are forwarded or does the credit network have exclusive control?

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    Normally, this forwarding only applies for recurring charges that started before the first fraud. Like your Netflix subscription etc., which you would want to continue. This seems strange. You can always close the card and get a different new one...
    – Aganju
    Jun 27, 2022 at 16:56
  • I feel your pain - same situation happened to me (although to a lesser extent), but I "only" had to go thru 2 card re-issue cycles before the fraudulent billing was stopped. Good luck ...
    – brhans
    Jun 28, 2022 at 12:04
  • Why are you Asking that here, instead of Asking your service providers? Jun 29, 2022 at 21:41
  • FYI most banks let you transfer your credit limit from one card to another. I’d just move the limit and close the first card if the bank is too incompetent to stop reoccurring payments.
    – Navin
    Jul 15, 2022 at 5:30

3 Answers 3

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The explanation is accurate, but not applicable to you. Note the "when the card on file has expired" part. You card hasn't expired, it's been canceled due to fraud. So your issuer, who's in fact doing the forwarding and has complete control, should have prevented this from happening. After all, the whole point of changing the card number was to prevent those who have the old card information from using it.

Mastercard/Visa, as the network owners, set the rules. They don't control your personal account.

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    I've had recurring charges carry over across a card replacement. I think it's at their discretion to carry over anything that they think was pre-existing and therefore not fraudulent, for the customer's convenience. They just messed up in this case.
    – hobbs
    Jun 28, 2022 at 15:22
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    The fraud could be happening right there at credit card company? Anecdotal: when i got my first creditcard in the Netherlands, the card 'disappeared' between the issuer and me, and money was withdrawn. When i called they told me to go to the police and that this had happened several times in that month. I got the money back from the issuer.
    – Ivana
    Jun 30, 2022 at 10:11
  • @Ivana yes, this is entirely possible, however I find it unlikely that someone within the credit card company hates the OP specifically so much so that they're tracking their cards. Usually internal fraud results in a one-time leak of random cards (database leak) or continuous leak of newly approved cards (someone in the approval/risk management team stealing data). Fraud re-issuance is usually automatic and doesn't go through any manual intervention, and given that the initial fraud hadn't started when the card was first issued, I don't think it's an inside job.
    – littleadv
    Jun 30, 2022 at 17:21
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This is probably pretty simple.

  1. Contact your card issuer, tell them about the problem, and say cancelling the card didn't work. Tell them that unless they prevent any charges from the previous cards from being forwarded you will change card issuer.
  2. Wait a month. If any charges are forwarded, cancel the card completely.
  3. Apply for a new card from a completely different issuer.
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    While this definitely solves the problem, I wouldn't call "Apply for a new card from a completely different issuer" a simple solution. It requires a new credit application, a new hard pull, a new (and recent) account in the credit report, and provides no guarantees as to what the new credit limit is going to be. Additionally, different cards may have different benefits.
    – littleadv
    Jun 27, 2022 at 18:23
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    It's a solution. It's simple. It isn't ideal for all use cases. So?
    – davidbak
    Jun 28, 2022 at 5:00
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    Small thought, could there by any chance that there was no 'forwarding' going on, and instead there is some data leak on the system of the OP (e.g. spyware) and the charges instead are each time 'new'? Jun 28, 2022 at 7:34
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    Bad services should not be awarded money and the OP clearly gets a bad service. Even if they themselves compromise card after card, the issuer should be able to help.
    – fraxinus
    Jun 28, 2022 at 8:35
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    @WoJ Credit scores definitely “exist” in many other places, but they are rarely that formalised or important. All countries I have lived in (Austria, Switzerland, Sweden) had some way to track debt and credit risk, but I have never felt the need to game this score anywhere close to what seems usual in the US.
    – xLeitix
    Jun 28, 2022 at 12:10
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It actually doesn't matter what you do in regards to getting a new card from a different issuer as major vendors pay these credit card companies to forward new card info for their supposed pre-authorized payments. It's credit card companies dirty little secret. I've had Microsoft still charging whatever credit card they can find for me for a subscriptions service for 365 that never worked and that I tried to cancel numerous time and finally, after a 3 hour phone call that I eventually got through to during which I was assured it was removed and cancelled they are at it again on a completely new credit card and charged me twice within 2 days causing me to wait on hold at the credit card company to put in yet another complaint for unauthorized transaction. Absolutely terrible that these credit card companies let these large vendors like Microsoft do this.

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