I recently found out I got tangled into some sort of scam which I wrote about it this question.

The other mysterious bit of it is that the scammers were able to hold on to my new card details even though the old card details takeover had taken place way before I applied for a new card.

Just to clarify, the cards are in the same bank and have the same number but different expiration dates.

The question is, how the scammers (or retailers in other cases) are able to update card details automatically without me knowing about it?

  • I don't understand your second paragraph - are you saying you were issued a new debit card by your bank, and completesavings.co.uk had gotten hold of the card details before you did?
    – trashpanda
    Aug 17, 2018 at 14:45
  • No, the initial (first card) details takeover took place and after I applied for a new card they were able to update the details.
    – matewilk
    Aug 17, 2018 at 14:47
  • That's the part I'm not understanding - can you clarify what you mean by "the initial card details takeover"?
    – trashpanda
    Aug 17, 2018 at 14:51
  • You should be more clear as to what you mean by "new card". Was it a completely new account, or a new physical card for the same account (e.g. replacing an expired card)? Was it through the same bank? Same network? Aug 17, 2018 at 14:52
  • Sorry about that, I edited the question, is it clear enough now?
    – matewilk
    Aug 17, 2018 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


It sounds like the website you have been subscribed to is using either the Visa Account Updater or Mastercard Automatic Billing Updater service to get details of new cards so that continuity of recurring billings can be maintained. Something that I had no idea existed until now (the schemes have apparently been around since 2006!)

According to this Guardian story about someone who discovered Amazon knew their new card details before they did:

None of us, it seems, were aware of VAU – Visa Account Updater. This allows subscribing merchants to receive automatic updates to cardholder account information, including account numbers and expiry dates. It sounds ominous, but the idea is to save retailers – and customers – the hassle of recurring payments being declined when a registered card has expired.

After noting that Mastercard operate a similar scheme, it notes (emphasis mine):

The reason so few of us know of it is because its existence is buried in the terms and conditions of the card issuer. If you want to opt out, you have to do it via your bank.

Some Links

  • 6
    @trashpanda Me too! And honestly, I would prefer the hassle of updating my own account details over the threat of some random service continuing to get updated card info beyond the point where I chose to discontinue the relationship (or, as in the question, I somehow got signed up for something I was unaware of.) Definitely going to be speaking to my bank about opting out of this.
    – Steve-O
    Aug 17, 2018 at 20:16

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