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I screen shot page 3 of 6. Fool hardy to require these three details on a paper application? Reasonable to complain to Canadian gov't for jeopardizing credit card details?

Mail can be "scanned and intercepted", "steamed open" before arrival at Passport Program.

Once hardcopy application arrives, anyone at Passport Program can misuse credit card data.

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  • This is off-topic here. However, there is nothing special about paper. Everytime you use your card, this info is transmitted and stored.
    – schroeder
    Apr 1 at 11:14

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This is pretty common, actually; most paper bills (as in, utility or subscription bills, not banknotes) allow people to pay by post via filling in forms like this. It's generally considered safe to do, via a combination of factors:

  • The mail is sealed in an envelope, often with additional protection to make it hard to read from outside the envelope. You probably shouldn't do this with a postcard.
  • I don't know about Canadian law, but at least in the USA it is actually a fairly serious felony to open mail without the recipient's permission. "It's illegal" is obviously not necessarily going to stop anybody who would use or sell stolen credit card info in the first place, but it does mean that people are much less likely to go through lots of mail just in case it contains something valuable.
  • Fundamentally, you probably do stuff like this a lot; carbon-paper card "scanners" are uncommon now but their digital equivalents are all over the place, plus you presumably physically hand your card to people (waiters, shopkeepers, hotel receptionists, etc.) or tell it to people over the phone (travel agents, ordering stuff by phone, paying bills by phone, etc.). Even if you don't personally do those things, it's built into the threat model for credit cards that people do such things (including writing down the card details on mailed forms).
  • Relatedly (to the previous), the risk to you isn't that great. Transactions that you didn't authorize can be canceled with no cost to you, so long as you catch them in a reasonable time, and the payment processor/bank will have a bunch of fraud detection stuff to try and tell when your card might be getting misused. If you never check your card statements then you're at some increased risk, but so long as you at least check for any unexpectedly large transactions (e.g. I get a notification sent to my phone for any big transaction, and check the statement if the total is higher than normal), you'll probably catch any significant fraud in time to do get the card issuer to cover it for you.