I had subscribed to NY Times during an introductory offer with a Virtual Shopsafe credit card. I didn't increase the limit on my credit card and after the first month, my subscription became delinquent.

Despite this NY Times continued to deliver the newspaper for a couple of months before finally cancelling the subscription and sending me an overdue notice. The notice threatened passing of the charges to collections.

I saw a similar article here and decided that it wasn't worth getting my credit score dented over a small amount and promptly called them over the phone, created another Shopsafe card and paid the overdues, I also confirmed with the customer service to make sure that the subscription stayed cancelled and the matter not being forwarded to collections.

Given all this I'm still curious to know if I could have gotten away without my score being hit as I was using a virtual card. Is that the case?

If not, would the situation have been better if I'd have gotten a prepaid visa card to start the membership?

  • As you were overdue, it's possible this has already become a black mark on your credit report. Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 16:08
  • I'm curious to know how this would be linked to my Credit history, I didn't provide my SSN or asked for credit. I'll monitor the free report that I get from Discover and Cap One for a while to see if my score dips. Isn't overdue like late payment, surely you wouldn't be penalized for late payments, there could be fines and surcharges.
    – nikhil
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 16:55
  • It's possible this works differently in the U.S. In Canada, late payments most definitely show up on your credit report. In fact, this makes up the majority of your credit report. You see how many payments were 30 days late, 60 days, 90 days, for all credit cards and for all reporting bills. Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 17:23
  • If they delivered the newspaper to you, they know your address. How many other people with credit files in the same name are living at the same address? Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 1:44
  • Well, it's an apartment complex and they leave the paper in the lobby. I could provide a fake names and use a prepaid card to not be tracked next time around. All I'm trying to figure out is what are the possible ways my credit can be dented.
    – nikhil
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 20:45

3 Answers 3


NYT has no authority to report on the credit card account. The introductory offer you accepted likely had a specified duration, like a 1 year commitment from you. It doesn't matter that you used a virtual card, or a credit card, or check or any other form of payment. NYT can, if it wants, send your NYT account to collections and/or report your delinquency to a reporting agency. But this reporting would be your NYT account, not the credit card.

  • Oh, I didn't know how collections worked here. I thought that would put a bad debt on my credit history and adversely impact my credit score.
    – nikhil
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 15:08
  • @nikhil it could but it wouldn't be related to the credit card or the virtual number. Your NYT account could be reported negatively if you owe them money and don't pay it.
    – quid
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 16:33
  • I'm curious as to how they would tie that to my credit history? I never gave them my SSN or anything that they could link with...
    – nikhil
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 16:53
  • I'm just saying they could, not that it's feasible.
    – quid
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 17:47

Using a virtual credit card doesn't stop them from reporting it. Virtual credit cards are about avoiding fraud, not about avoiding responsibility for money you owe.


These are unrelated.

If I subscribe to the paper and pay a month by check, they will just keep billing and delivering the paper.

The virtual card would work for a service that will cancel when the billing attempt fails. i.e. A service that won't just keep active without being paid in advance.

  • To be fair, NY times clearly say that you will be billed in advance of delivery starting. It's like they forcibly provided me a service after the first billing failure and then expected me to pay for that. I did pay up because the small amount wasn't worth it to me to goto collections/court.
    – nikhil
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 16:58
  • They kept sending you something you signed up to receive despite not having yet received payment for it. They probably thought they were doing you a favor.
    – stannius
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 22:47

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