If you’re not a Bank of America customer, but visit one of their branches to cash a check, you’ll need to be fingerprinted. No, check cashing is not a crime, and the bank is trying to protect itself against fraud, but some people still don’t like the idea of giving up their prints for cash.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives recently introduced a bill that would ban the practice. The Nashua Telegraph took a look at the origins of and potential problems with the practice.
As part of the program, non-account holders who want to cash a check drawn on Bank of America must provide two pieces of identification, along with a thumbprint on the check. If the person refuses, the bank won’t cash the check.
The bank says the practice is a deterrent to would-be fraudsters – proof that the person presenting the check is who he or she claims to be. It’s also a resource for law enforcement to identify a person if the check turns out to be fraudulent, the bank said.
Some people have privacy concerns with this practice due to the storage of thumbprints. Storage? Yes, the banks maintain a digital image of checks, which for non-customers includes the thumbprint. They’re not building a massive database of thumbprints for use in a massive government biometric ID program, but some people find it troubling that the bank has their thumbprint on record.