Proposal for a centralized credit card data access service

Having received a new American Express card, I just finished updating the billing details at the thirteen online services which periodically charge that card.

And it took much longer than I would have imagined!

Of the thirteen services, I experienced thirteen different workflows for updating my billing details. At some, I simply had to update my card’s expiration date year. At others, I additionally had to update the security number. And at yet others, I had to completely delete the old card, and add a new one. And incredibly, a few sites presented forms which disabled pasting into the credit card number field—forcing me to carefully type 15 numbers—aaarg! Finally, at site’s like AT&T Wireless, it took forever to even find where to update my billing information.

There’s got to be a better way, which got me thinking…

I wish a service existed where I could store my credit card details, and then provide oAuth access to the various online services I use which need to charge my card. In the same way that I give services like Instagram oAuth access to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, I’d give services like Amazon AWS and Dreamhost oAuth access to this centralized credit card data service.

Such a service, if it existed, would provide several benefits:

  • When I need to update the expiration date and security code of my credit card, I’d only have to do it once, in one place.

  • If I decided to switch from using an AMEX card to using a VISA card, I could update the card in use at all my subscribed services from one place, with a single action.

  • In terms of enhanced security, the service would be implemented such that my authorized online services could charge my card, without actually getting access to the card details. (No idea how that’d work, but I’m confident it would be possible.)

  • Such a service would make it easier for me to actually remember all the different services that are presently authorized to charge my card. I’d review that list from time to time, and revoke access to those services I no longer use.

I’d be surprised if such a thing doesn’t exist, but I suppose it doesn’t since none of my online services like Amazon AWS and Dreamhost provide for any other payment method than entering my credit card details in their own systems (or the systems of their payment processors).

Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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