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This question already has an answer here:

Why doesn't every bank account come with a "deposit only" number? I.e. why do I have to give my account number (and thereby give the ability to withdraw money from my account) to someone whenever I want him or her to send me money? It seems like a deposit only number would add a lot of security and confidence, so there's probably a good reason it hasn't been adopted.

marked as duplicate by RonJohn, Dheer, Bob Baerker, JoeTaxpayer Jul 29 '18 at 23:52

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  • Have you ever experienced or known anyone who has ever experienced check fraud involving unlawful withdrawal of money outside the scope of a debit card? – quid Jul 27 '18 at 20:52
  • @quid I've known people who have been victims of fraud. I don't know whether it was related to their debit card or not. You're implying its rare for fraud to occur just because of a failure to keep an account number secret? – Tim kinsella Jul 27 '18 at 20:57
  • I'm implying that you want to change 100+ year old core single account banking in to a two account structure with a deposit sweep account separate from the spending account and absorb all the associated costs but you have no idea what the loss rate is in the current system. I'm implying that this risk is the boogyman. – quid Jul 27 '18 at 21:00
  • Ok, I can extract from that a helpful answer: the cost of changing the old system. thank you. – Tim kinsella Jul 27 '18 at 21:04
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    Tim, there just hasn't been enough of a problem for such a scheme to be implemented. Note that with credit cards, where there's a lot more fraud, there have been one-time use cards developed. (Still, they aren't widely used, since banks fraud departments have gotten very good and the final burden falls on the merchant who sold to the fraudsters.) – RonJohn Jul 28 '18 at 0:08
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There is no need for that if you have a system with proper authorization, and if you don't have a system with proper authorization, it doesn't help you at all.

First part: in Europe, account numbers are public, nobody cares. All you can do is deposit money. If you want to take money out, or transfer it, you need a proper ID, or an online access password. [only in the US can you go in a bank and say you don't have an ID but you know your ('someones') SSN and address and you'll get money].

Second part: without proper ID enforcement, people would just randomly try 'withdrawal' numbers until they find one that works.

Conclusion: keeping your account number 'secret' is a silly solution to protecting your money in the bank.

  • Are you saying in the US we don't have proper ID enforcement? Because I dont think "trying random numbers" is a popular tactic for fraudsters here. But i could be wrong. – Tim kinsella Jul 27 '18 at 22:38
  • If it were you could easily just make the keyspace bigger, or lock someone out after a certain number of incorrect numbers. – Tim kinsella Jul 27 '18 at 22:41
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    the bigger keyspace might be an idea. But as long as I can walk in a bank and say i forgot my id and I can give a name with matching SSN and address, and they give me money, anything is useless. – Aganju Jul 28 '18 at 0:11
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EDIT: undeleted answer.

why do I have to give my account number (and thereby give the ability to withdraw money from my account) to someone whenever I want him or her to send me money?

You don't. Money transfer methods (PayPal, Zelle, etc) which don't require you to give your routing and account numbers to everyone you want money from do exist, and they in effect use asymmetric deposit numbers.

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