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Should I Provide My Credit Card to Sites that Are Free?

Most of us know that there ain’t no Santa Claus, especially on the internet. However, there are numerous 100% free sites on the internet. All you have to do to access these sites is  provide your credit card information so that they may charge you at some point for your 100% free services. Any insights you might have about free services would be appreciated.

Personally, I don’t consider that free at all. My credit card information is valuable to me and I won’t give it out for something that purports to be free.

When in doubt, always assume anything that says free but requires a credit card is a scam.

Nonetheless, there are some semi-legitimate scenarios where giving your credit card information is the right thing to do.

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Free trial periods

Sometimes, you may receive an offer for a free trial period. I’d expect this to be the most common scenario that matches what you’re talking about. The service isn’t free forever, they’re just providing you with a free trial.

For example, I just signed up with a service a couple of months ago where the 30-day trial period had a full feature set of their specific service.

Giving credit card information in this kind of circumstance seems like a great way to evaluate the service. If I’m required to give a credit card, the company assumes that I will continue to use their service past the free trial period and they can charge me.

If you’re required to give a credit card it’s also a good sign that what you’re signing up for perhaps isn’t free forever.

If you think the offer might be legit, read all of the information on the screen carefully. Make sure you understand what it’s telling you before you provide any information.

And of course, remember to explicitly cancel the service after the free trial period is over unless you really to want to continue and pay.


Credit Card I have seen where sites use credit cards as a form of identity validation and verification.

Having a credit card associated with an account means that any new accounts with the same credit card number can be disallowed because it’s the same person. That prevents people from creating multiple accounts to do things like game a system, gain unfair access, or apply unfair weight in whatever that system is doing.

Age validation

I’ve also seen scenarios where sites use credit cards to validate age. I don’t know what the age requirements are for getting a credit card, but in some cases, you present a valid credit card to prove that you are of a certain age and the site may put a temporary hold of $1 on the account.

Nonetheless, whenever you stumble into a free service that requests a credit card, be very, very careful. At a minimum, make sure you know what you’re doing and read the fine print. I’m almost certain that any legitimate site that takes this kind of approach is probably not offering you their service for free forever, but is instead offering you a 100% free trial.


Posted: August 31, 2013 in: Security
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71 comments on “Should I Provide My Credit Card to Sites that Are Free?”

  1. If I get a 30 day free trial, that’s what I want. If I want a permanent license, **I’ll** be the one who decides. The last thing I want is being charged automatically unless I find the purchase opt-out (buried several layers deep in the boilerplate). Also, there are far too many scams that demand your credit card number and, when you think you’re making a single free query, sign you up for a permanent monthly fee.

  2. There was a free offer on pills, that needed your credit cards. After receiving the free bottle
    they continued to charge his credit card for $89.00 a month for six months. Had a hard time
    receiving a refund.

    • I had the same problem but after some time my bank thankfully did get it all back for me. Now I buy all my vitamins in shops or with PayPal.

    • Same thing happened to me, when I noticed it I immediately called my bank and disputed it. The bank told me to call the company which I did and I told the company I don’t expect them to do the right thing and that the bank is looking into the fraudulent charges they immediately refunded my money which was in fact 89.95 for testosterone pills

    • Lucky! After notifiying my bank of the same charges I was told like you to contact the company. Like you, told the compqny I didn’t expect them to do the right thing but please cancel my subscription. 3 days later I recieved 2 more charges. Called the company again to be informed, “Sorry the package had already been sent. ” My former bank charged me 8 $33.00 nsf fee’s. A simple survey for a $1,000.00 Wal-mart gift card ended up costing me a bank and $1,000.00. I still have the unopened bottles as a reminder of a hard lesson learned.

      • You should have told them about the fraudulant charges they would have given you a full refund. Stuff they make you pay for that you never purchased is considered fraud in most cases so you would been able to get maybe more money than you think if they didn’t listen.

  3. Credit cards don’t verify age, contact information, your address, or anything about you. A credit card is just a link to an account. That’s it, if they gave out anymore info, that’d be illegal. Banks aren’t allowed to give that info to third parties.

  4. I have recently been propositioned by several ladies at different sites to meet them . They look stunning, and too good to be true. They asked me to submit to verification using credit card. They promise all relevant details about themselves when I do it. When I submit for verification I. Get
    An error notice usually. Saying try another card. This has happened several times with different ladies one tried to contact me over a fortnight period asking me everyday if I had fixed the problem..I was sure she was legit but now am not so certain she was great to flirt with, but we could not meet till I fulfilled her conditions. Shé has my phone number but does not want to use it now. . I was concerned there was a general problem with my cards not being acceptable, but since they were Visa cards I i was curious to know if there were some device on them preventing them from opening. These sites supposedly verified my age but as banks explained cards don’t carry this information. so they all must be scams, but does everyone get card error readings on these sites. ?They will access a lot of numbers. I betterget to cancelling these cards

    • The error is likely bogus – you simply gave them your credit card number, and by making it look like an error you’re encouraged to give them even more credit card numbers. DON’T DO IT. “Too good to be true” is, absolutely, the best rule to remember.

      • leo i have a problem related to this same story but i filled my credit card number in online streaming movies website….it can make any problem to me or my credit card or not?

    • I would notify my bank(s) about this, cancel all of my credit cards and apply for new ones in a case like that.

  5. I submitted my prepaid visa debt card from bank of america… Last week to cover shipping & handling.. 6.95 $
    After I entered, came back Do Not accept prepaid cards… So I let it go,oh well.. 2 days later some Jamaican sounding lady is asking me What Happened ? I told her,she said yes they will… Asked me to give all info again to verify.. I did..& she said I will get a confirmation e- mail to confirm & to order.. Never got it & when I tried the cell # she called me from ..
    Said “I’m Sorry The # your calling is Not in Service” !! Tell me Should I be worried ? Mentioned product should be here by the 3-13 at the latest.. Wait a few more days ? Then if no show, can I ,should I expect a scamm ? Any ideas or input be helpful.. Please & Thanks..Mike

  6. I’m 78 years old and would like to join a singles group for the over 75yrs old but they always ask if I have a account what does that mean as I am new to this Fbarbara

    • It’s not clear what that means without looking at the sign-in page, but it sounds like it means an account with that website. If that’s the case, they would have a button or text link to sign up for the group on that page.

  7. i have problem………………i go to the website of online streaming movies………….its said it was free but you need to regiser new account and also it ask credit card number but its said that it only for regestering it will not charged money it said … i filled up my details and of credit number and cvv2 also….after ….its said error or problem in authenication …..and said try another card………….i try alot …..but always this problem …………….so my question that i have given my credit card number to that side ….now its can create any problem to me or my credut card????

    • There’s really no way to be sure, but it’s definitely sounds like a scam. If I were in that position, I’d cancel and replace the credit cards I used on that site.

    • Yes. Yes it could. You should monitor VERY CAREFULLY your credit card statements, and/or get in touch with your credit card company.

    • It could still be a scam. There’s no sure way of knowing with only that information. For example, was the site https? If not, it was very possibly not legit. It it was https, then it’s still not sure that it was legit.

    • Of course there are many different sites, and they will all be operated by different people. But you can only assume it’s because they want to charge you at some time. Be sure to read the terms on what you are signing up for. It’s typical for people to not read the agreements they are making, and then later be surprised to find what they agreed to. Being safe online is our own responsibility.

  8. I’d say for some of the reasons given in the article. I’d be extra careful about a free dating site which asks for your credit card number and read the licensing information very carefully to see if the small print defines free as one free month which automatically charge you starting the second month. And seriously, would you give your credit card to a company whose reputation you don’t know? I wouldn’t.

  9. yeah some sexy lady proposes you watch her free cam. then they want you to make an account. still no problem there, but then they want my credit card and assure me its so they can change me later if I choose to keep the service. thats where I draw the line, whats stopping their fly by night website from charging my card sky high. “try to pull a fast one on me? I don’t think so.”

  10. which ones are legit? is flirt? Pay pal is. Ebay is? Match probably is safe. eharmony is …. but it’s like sacrificing too much personal info for some cash answers? <D

  11. One critical tip: if your credit or debit card is charged for a purchase you did not make you have consumer protection. Contact your cc \ debit card bank issuer and ask for dispute resolution. They take the info. create a case, typically refund your account, and research it. You will receive a letter with the official resolution. You do not have to suffer anything, let the bank take care of it.

    • I’ve had that happen 3 or 4 times. It never took the bank more than 3 days to resolve it in my favor. And that’s the bank with the worst reputation in the US.

  12. i was streaming through some online vedios and they have given me a site where i can watch the vedios but i was the told to give my card number . will there be any problem with it like me giving them just my card number?

    • Ads for services like that are very often (probably closer to always) scams. I would never give my credit card number to any website unless I absolutely knew and trusted the company behind that website.

  13. How does one delete their credit card number on a site like that? My friend tried to get me start dating after my break up with my ex, and he had my credit card information and they charged me. Do i have to cancel my credit card or how does it work?

    • If someone has your credit card number, there’s no way to get them to delete it other than asking them and hoping that they’ll do the right thing. Unfortunately, people who run shady sites are unlikely to honor your request. I’d contact my credit card company and ask them what to do about. Getting a new credit card might be your only sure solution.

      • Very often a site like that will have a way for you to delete a card from your online account. First step is to log in and see if you can do that. More than likely the site will delete the card if you ask. Keep in mind that any support staff working for any reputable website does not actually have access to your card. Good software hides credit card numbers from everyone, including and especially the staff. They will be able to disable it though. Your biggest problem is going to be if your friend “owns” the account he set up for you. In that case you may have to get him to disable the card as the staff working for this website will require you to prove that you are the owner of the account.

        • I trust that for legitimate sites. I distrust dating sites. They trick you into thinking its free by promising free signup and then when you want to use the account you have to pay.

          • Hello Mr. Leo,

            What is up with anti virus programs? Are they legit? I paid for a year of, Total Av. I tried scanning and noticed that Real Time Protection was on disconnected and without it, I cannot scan or get rid of bad stuff and viruses without it. Why or how it turned itself off I don’t know but I do know that I have tried everything. I have called, I have written emails and nada! I went to the settings and tried sliding it back on but it does not move no matter what I do. Every day, a few times a day I try to slide it back. Who knows how long it’s been off before I noticed it. I am afraid of getting a virus, malware or any other pain in the pocket viruses these mean, miserable sociopaths people put out there infecting people with the viruses would be the same people who would give a deadly disease to others if he could just because they it. those are the kind of minds of these sub humans. Like I said the only ones I can think of who profit are the companies that make the anti virus program and you see how well they protect by my experience. What do they get out of it.? I follow the money. I would imagine the antivirus people. The technicians that fix and take the viruses out
            I cringe every time I think about that they are ignoring me, their customer after they get paid. No response. Now I know when the years is up they will automatically charge my card for another year which was the agreement but not now! How can I get out of this, it is not protecting me. Should I delete the Total Av? How can I stop them from charging my card for another year? Who do I contact online because of incompetant bullshit like this that they do to us without a face the cowards.? I am so upset because this is as close to stealing as you can get. When you pay for a service and you do not get what you paid for to me that is stealing. When You use someone’s money for anything without their permission is stealing. When You sell and it does not come through, it’s a form of stealing when you leave people to their own conclusions with no over due answers from the vendor.

          • If that was the only problem with dating sites it would not be so bad. But you also have to worry about the sociopaths and rapist that join. They don’t even know if one of their customers is wanted I don’t think. What is wrong with the ancient, normal way of dating, yes normal. You meet by chance or are introduced by someone you already know, or you run into each other. Or even someone you have known for years and all of a sudden, something happens. Meeting a person with the thought of maybe she/he will be the one before even meeting is kinda weird and desperate. And then end up being judged by your looks and appearances in most cases, it’s not they do not have things in common, that’s how they match, but most human will look at the looks first and if they do not find them lets say, “cute” the deal is off. Sounds shallow but trust me I am not making this up, I have a friend who owns one and no ever gets married and especially not as often as they try to make us believe on their ads. Well, I hope you will forgive this long long message…Goodnite..p.s….Remember sociopaths are not only men, threre is an increasing number of female sociopaths

    • I know of no way to delete your card other than asking that the site do so, and then hoping that they follow through. If you spot suspicious activity, contact your credit card company.

  14. I will say this, in UK there 8s legislation going through or gone through, that requires porn sites and adult dating sites to have age verification checks in the form of credit cards. And of course such site owners know thus and will exploit you.

  15. Leo-good day to you
    I am a person from a faroff land also categorized “third word country”. I am an old ,retired man and spend about 6 hours evryday watching youtube movies and informative videos. At times when i want to watch a free classic on you tube I am asked to register giving my card details. I am very skeptic about giving card details because I hear and read a lot about the credit/debit card scams.I seek your advice. Should I give my debit card details or not. how safe it is.
    Please inform me by email and not in this forum.
    best regards

  16. often the dating site gives you free membership but after 2 days will charge you a monthly fee for ability to view can girls. getting out of this commitment is almost impossible, without cancelling your card via the bank. the sites also often create fictitious partners for entertainment purposes who can never ever meet you as they are not real. never join such sites. always read all of t+c no matter what the girl promises. the only reason they are on line is to get your cc number. Even if you dont use a card, never go online and cam them naked. good chance of being blackmailed. Its usually a gang in phillipines or moroco.

  17. A good (bad) example of a site to avoid is {url removed}
    They conned me out of US$19 a month for 14 months. Refunded me for only 5 months. Big SCAM artists, do NOT enter any bank/card info!

  18. I don’t have a credit card . Sites sometimes require it for age verification. I’m 34… is there a way i can use my drivers license or state id?

    • The short answer is no. The longer answer is that there’s no standard for this and it’s up to each site to decide how to do that. You might contact the site you’re attempting to login to and see if they offer any alternatives.

  19. What you say makes sense but yes, if they ask for your credit card number, more often than not it could be a scam. Been looking for a series to watch but everywhere I go they keep asking you to sign up but then you get redirected to:

    They always, ALWAYS ask you your credit card number, beware!

  20. what do I do if I happened to enter my card on one of the “free sites” and now ive lost $40. is it just gone? is there anything I CAN do?


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