MasterCard misbehaviour

My MasterCard recently came up for renewal. Here and here are two letters I wrote to MasterCard; they mostly speak for themselves, though there is one point on which the letters are silent which I think needs mentioning.

The first letter is deliberately elliptical about the risks it speaks of differences in. I think this was done to, among other things, shift risks from MasterCard to cardholders. (It probably does reduce certain risks, but does nothing against other risks.) The risk I see here from my point of view is that, in case of fradulent transactions, MasterCard would, effectively, shrug and say, "but you must have just forgotten, because It's Secure"—never mind that they won't let anyone else see enough of the system to verify that it's secure, nor specify what exactly it's supposed to be secure against.

A correspondent reports that this is exactly what happened when the UK switched from stripe to chip-and-PIN: banks insist that their systems are perfect, and fradulent withdrawals are met with, in his words, stonewalling and "you forgot".

If we had a sane legal system, this wouldn't be an issue, because the courts would see the insanity in believing such claims from someone so very far from disinterested. But I have little faith that that's how it would play out.

Before getting the new card, I gave some real thought to simply frying the chip in my card upon receipt, so as to have a fairly unarguable refutation to that claim in case of fradulent transactions. (It's easy to fry those chips; the contacts on the card have very little protection against deliberate overvoltage.) This would be a somewhat dubious thing to do at best, because it would be deliberate damage to what is, formally, MasterCard's property (even though they do ask cardholders to destroy expired cards, rather than return them). Perhaps fortunately, I now don't have to make that call.