How new 'Show us your cards' rule would work at the border
US Customs would require you to declare prepaid cards' value
By Martin Merzer
The U.S. Treasury
and U.S. Customs officers are still fine-tuning their new financial reporting
system for U.S. and foreign travelers arriving at U.S. airports, seaport and
Border Patrol stations, but here are the outlines of how it might work:
prepare to enter the U.S., you will be asked, as in the past, to declare on the
familiar blue-and-white Customs Declaration Form whether you are carrying more
than $10,000 in "currency or monetary instruments" into the country. But now,
as you make that calculation, you will have to include the value of any gift
cards or other prepaid payment cards in your possession.
financial declaration arouses suspicions -- or if anything else about you arouses
suspicions -- you may be asked to step aside for additional questioning.
of that additional inspection, you may be asked to present all of your credit,
debit and gift/prepaid payment cards to the inspector. That inspector then will
run those cards through a special scanner that can determine if the card is
prepaid and may be able to determine the value originally placed on that prepaid
card or still accessible with that prepaid card.
officials say they have no interest in your credit cards or debit cards, and
that you will not be asked to provide PIN codes or other access codes related
to any of your cards.
If you are found to be
bringing more than $10,000 in cash, checks, money orders, travelers checks and
-- when the new regulations take effect -- gift or other prepaid cards, you may
have some explaining to do.
Earlier story: Proposed Treasury rules take hard line against prepaid card fraud
Published: November 13, 2012