@southpaw was kind enough to mention me, so, perhaps, the perspective of this former banker may help.
First, like others participating in the conversation, I’m very comfortable supplying payment information to Republic. Republic has never given me a reason to be anything other than confident about that. The rare billing errors that have occurred on my account have been quickly and professionally resolved. These have involved promotional discounts not properly applied to my account. Regular billing hasn’t been an issue for me. Additionally, I’ve never been billed after the fact for any line of service I’ve cancelled. I don’t insist the companies I do business with be perfect, just that mistakes get fixed without hassle.
Second, when researching Privacy.com for Alternative Payment Methods, I came away favorably impressed with their service. I do believe it provides an extra layer of security for those understandably concerned about protecting their financial information.
Lastly, both credit and debit card transactions are regulated under federal law (the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act respectively). Traditionally, credit cards have been thought of as offering more consumer protections but this really isn’t all that true any more. Bottom line consumers bear no responsibility for unauthorized transactions with either credit or debit cards. A recurring transaction becomes unauthorized the moment a consumer notifies the merchant previously authorized to stop. One’s financial institution may ask for evidence that one has properly notified the merchant but once that’s provided is obligated by law to chargeback any continuing transactions. As a practical matter most financial institutions will simply take their customer’s word that the merchant was properly notified. I haven’t read the Bogleheads article you reference (do you have a link), however, I suspect the issue was the merchant wasn’t properly notified. Proper notification typically means in writing but with Republic demonstrating that you canceled service online would be adequate. More information in this Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publication: Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards.
As an aside, we all read and quite reasonably are concerned by widely reported electronic breaches of consumer’s payment information. That said, I often reminded my customers that most credit and debit card fraud still occurs the old-fashioned way. For example, when dining out many of us provide our server a credit or debit card for payment without thinking twice about it. The server usually goes out back somewhere to run the card then returns asking for a signature. If that individual is unscrupulous, they easily can make note of the information needed to make fraudulent transactions on one’s card. It is for these reasons, substantial consumer protections have been enacted into law for both credit and debit card transactions.
Additionally, all card issuers and Visa/MasterCard in particular will rarely side with a merchant in a billing dispute with a consumer. It is in the card issuer’s interest that consumer’s feel confident using credit and debit cards. It’s how they make their money. Among the areas I worked in when still in banking was anti-fraud. All banks monitor customer accounts for potentially fraudulent transactions. They’ll say they’re doing so as a service to protect their customer and this is partially true. The real reason, however, is banks know that ultimately they and not the consumer will end up eating undetected fraudulent transactions.