show me your cards

Travelers leaving or entering the United States have long had to declare aggregated cash and other monetary instruments exceeding $10,000. Now, under a proposed amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act, FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) will also require travelers to declare the value of prepaid cards that they are carrying, known now as “tangible prepaid access devices.”

Expected to be finalized by the end of this year, the cross-border reporting modifications stem from a broader October 2011 definition of payment methods and form factors that replaced the term “stored value” with the term “prepaid access” in an effort to more accurately describe the process of accessing funds held by a payment provider.

Enforceability falls to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection both within the Department of Homeland Security, which is already developing advanced handheld card readers that can ascertain whether a traveler is carrying a credit card, debit card, or prepaid card. This differentiation is important because only prepaid card balances will need to be added to declaration report forms…


  1. Paul
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

    Like Nazi Germany they are making sure you don’t run away with all your money before paying your taxes.

    See in Germany you had to pay a ‘exit’ tax if Jewish. But being more democratic they will do it to everybody.

    Your papers please?

  2. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm |

    Big Brother has arrived. Better make a cache somewhere for your valuable stuff.
    Commander Benghazi will declare an emergency, and Big Sis’ brownshirts will come, for sure, knocking if you’re lucky.

  3. mech
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm |

    It’s also a convenient way of taking money to the familia down south–cheaper than wiring it. Plus any small amounts of drug money could be moved by that means.

    At least that is a nice cover for searching for them.

    I’ve always favored a flat 10% tax on any money exiting the country between non citizens and not for a verifiable purchase of goods.

    I wonder if they are already scanning the mail for the cards?

    And FedEx. And Ups.

  4. apotheosis
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 8:10 pm |

    Can’t get too worried about it, seeing as we’re headed for a time when a card loaded with American money will be almost, but not quite, as valuable as an Archie and Jughead Fan Club card.

    And even less likely to get you into Veronica’s pants.

  5. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

    OT – Haven’t heard from Col. Jerry in a while. He OK?

  6. JoeBandMember®
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

    I’m not gonna go get drunk.

    I’m not gonna go get drunk.

    I’m not gonna go get drunk.

    I’m not gonna go get drunk.

  7. Lucius Severus Pertinax
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm |

    Wrap the card in one of those mirrored computer part baggies and send it FedEx!

    Amazing how cheaply untold millions of taxpayer-supplied money can be defeated!

  8. rickn8or
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm |

    dick, not quite dead white guy, yes I hope he’s okay too.

    But he’s probably sitting shiva over the results of Tuesday’s election. Plus, he’s got the Marine Corp birthday and Veteran’s Day to celebrate.

  9. Paldin
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm |

    I’ve tested aluminum foil for signal blocking.

    It’s not just for hats anymore! Three layers wrapped around a cell phone will block the reception and you can’t read a card wrapped in three layers either.

    The best thing is you don’t have to buy a computer part to get it.

  10. Posted November 12, 2012 at 7:31 am |

    Paul: It wasn’t a tax.

    If it was just a tax, most folks fleeing would have just paid it.

    Taking ANY assets out of Nazi Germany without permission was a death penalty offense. Goering was bragging about the act during the Nuremberg trials.

  11. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:11 am |


    This child is okay. Needed a few days away from the computer, so dove in to some books in my library. Everything from: Ken Follet`s “The Eye of the Needle” to Paul Rahe`s “Soft Despotism, Democracy`s Drift”, etc.

    Then it occurred to me to inventory all the books in my library and fucking burn every God Damn book that had a sentence, I qoute, “Anybody can grow up and be president!” [...fortunately, all my relatives who hammered that phrase into my boyish brane, have already died a natural death thereby spareing them a fucking visit from me!!!....]

    Thanx for noticing buddy. {…I hope you enjoyed eating my share of Headmissey`s cookies on The Porch…. ;^) }

  12. SondraK, Queen of my domain
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:26 am |

    No one got any cookies. I ate almost 2 dozen by myself.
    (If it makes you feel any better, the pumpkin choco chip ones aren’t as good with the white choco chips * ducks Claire’s fury * )

    ( well, they sounded good at the time )

  13. DougM (Well, thaaat sucked!)
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:51 am |

    Does that count the value of the air in your lungs?

    technology will make privacy an even more rare and precious commodity as time goes on.
    It can be used for good, mischief, or evil.
    When it is abused, the ones who abuse it must be punished.
    You know, like when somebody breaks into your house.

  14. DougM (Well, thaaat sucked!)
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 9:00 am |

    ColJ (11)
    Re: “Anybody can grow up and be president!”
    Yeah, a•ny•bo•dyyyy;
    or, in this case, a nobody.

  15. Fat Baxter
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 10:04 am |

    Three layers wrapped around a cell phone will block the reception and you can’t read a card wrapped in three layers either.”

    The luggage scanners will pick up the solid-looking object, and they’ll open up your luggage to see what it is.

    I wonder if DOD will say anything. Everyone in DOD has those new CAC cards with your electronic credentials in an embedded chip. You’re not supposed to let anyone scan them. Security and attribution issues there. I need my CAC card to get into my building after hours; the guards at the base gate scan it to verify I’m who I say I am (similarly, it gets me into the Pentagon — swipe it, enter the PIN, and in you go); I need it to log on to my work station, and it’s mandatory for e-mail.

    And if CAC cards are exempted, I would expect to see a surge in fake CAC card look-a- likes as a means of skirting this system.

  16. Steve Skubinna
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 10:43 am |

    So why is hard cash any different from taking your ATM card overseas? Granted, you can’t withdraw more than – what is the limit now, $600 a day? Given time you could convert your bank account in the US to hard cash in Lower Wazootistan or wherever.

    Yes, “they” can track your withdrawals. Bus so what if you don’t intend coming back?

    Think I’ll invest in canned beans and ammo.

  17. Posted November 12, 2012 at 10:57 am |

    I suppose one could transfer a card’s magnetic info onto a CD, which would be utterly immune from electronic scanning?

    Then, just burn it back to a flash drive, or onto a card, when it’s safe to do so.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  18. TimO
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

    Only a matter of time before we have British-style cat and TV detector vans….

  19. geezerette
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm |

    I wondered to– but was sceered to ask—going to the libary tom. so I have books to read at the camp in the woods for “deer season” was thinking of getting some long ago read books like Lady Chatterly’s lover– and Payton Place–now the Eye of the Needle — so thanks for that— maybe The Oath of Fealty — Cookies ???????? watchotakinbout?????

  20. PeggyU
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 2:31 am |

    Ok, now that we’ve found Col. Jerry and you say Melissa is in the process of moving, has anyone seen a comment from Maria Edi or Sherry lately? Just keeping track of the fold, here. :)