Stores Can't Force You To Show ID With Your Credit Card

Here’s an interesting fact in this Red Tape Chronicles post about how to protect your private data bits from retailers who don’t know any better: by the terms of their merchant agreement with credit card issuers, stores are not allowed to force you to present ID in addition to your credit card.

Check page 29 of the Visa merchant agreement (PDF).

Bob Sullivan doesn’t like to hand over his personal information except when necessary. Considering the identity theft problem and how retailer’s wireless networks are often wide-open for incursion, we can understand why. If a store cites its policy, you can threaten to complain to the provider. Violating the agreement could get them excommunicated from the network, and not able to accept credit cards.

Data collection: Just say ‘I know my rights’ [Red Tape Chronicles]


Edit Your Comment

  1. sleze69 says:

    I have “Ask for License” written next to my signature on ALL of my credit cards. I get annoyed when they DON’T ask for ID.

    Having a checkout clerk look at your drivers license is a GOOD thing. Having them write down all your information is a bit different.

  2. HRHKingFriday says:

    I hate causing a fuss with retail people, so I always give them fake zips/addresses/phone numbers.

  3. qwickone says:

    @sleze69: I have to agree with you, I PREFER that they ask for ID with every transaction, but I dont think it’s acceptable to write down my info.

  4. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Try telling this to the bastards at the Post Office.

  5. homerjay says:

    The Apple Store is notorious for this, but its not like they’re photocopying it. They just use it to verify the info on the card is the same. I don’t see a problem with it.

  6. alfista says:

    My signature is always smeared (too much use?) so they always ask for ID, which I don’t really mind. Seems safer…

  7. keith4298 says:

    If the store (ahem…Apple) checks ID for every sale does that mean that this doesn’t apply?

  8. Mariallena says:

    Excuse me, but what does showing your id have to do with transferring data over an unsecured wireless network?

    It looks like Bob has way too much time in his hands and is aching for a fight with a big corporation.

  9. Ben Popken says:

    This is also from page 29 in the handbook:

    “Some customers write “See ID” or “Ask for ID” in the signature panel, thinking that this is a deterrent against fraud or forgery; that is, if their signature is not on the card, a fraudster will not be able to forget it. In reality, criminals don’t take the time to practice signatures: they use cards as quickly as possible after a theft and prior to the accounts being blocked. They are actually counting on you not to look at the back of the card and compare signatures–they may even have access to counterfeit identification with a signature in their own handwriting.”

    Also, if you want to see how effective writing “SEE ID” is, see this prank over at Zug. By the end, he was signing his receipts “Shamu” and putting a picture of a whale on it. Nobody blinked. This method will not save you.

  10. nickripley says:

    If you use Visa, please call their international service line if you are having trouble with a merchant. 1-800-VISA-911. I don’t work for Visa, but I use my card a lot and like merchants to follow their rules and not ask for my ID. (That’s why I am using my card and not writing a check!)

  11. punkrawka says:

    I can’t believe the above comments are OK with this. Why should someone have to be carrying ID to make a non-age-controlled purchase?

  12. keith4298 says:

    @Ben Popken: On a bet, I once starting signing checks with the names of Presidents. They were accepted and cashed from Washington through Grover Cleveland (when I ran out of checks). So much for ANYONE (including banks) caring about signatures.

  13. amoeba says:

    I hope someone in Utahrd will listen. I ge asked for my ID all the time, even if it is not credit and I pay with my debit card or check card they still ask for it :@ BTW Ben, no-one can forge my signature. I am an Artist, my signature is complicated to copy.

  14. Buran says:

    @qwickone: I don’t like it when they do that either. It’s none of their business, unless they need it to ship me something.

    I also switched to a license without my SSN on it, even when it was still possible to get one with your SSN on it. MO used to default to using your SSN unless you asked them not to when you were at the DMV. I didn’t want it there in case my wallet was lost or stolen.

    I later did lose my wallet (and got it back; nothing was taken let alone moved, but I have the peace of mind of knowing that the security guy who located me couldn’t “accidentally” memorize my SSN while looking at my driver’s license to find me in the employee phone listing so that he could call me and tell me he found my wallet).

  15. Buran says:

    @amoeba: They don’t need to forge your signature to use the card, because of the aforementioned “I don’t care” clerks/retailers.

  16. MeOhMy says:

    @Ben Popken: The handbook says: “criminals don’t take the time to practice signatures.” I’m hearing “Nobody at the point of sales is really checking that closely and even if they are they are not experts in handwriting analysis.”

    As with otheers, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for them to check ID, although I would not want them to record any information. I haven’t seen anyone do this, though.

  17. Me - now with more humidity says:

    If they persist in asking, I just show them my BofA debit card with my photo.

  18. Buran says:

    @punkrawka: Because some of us have been the victim of fraud due to merchants who failed to ensure that the buyer is the person the card was issued to, that’s why. Waste hours demanding refunds, pursuing chargebacks, and otherwise getting pissed off will open your eyes. Hope it never happens to you. I’d rather spend 15 seconds showing my ID (which doesn’t have any personal info on it that is easily memorized; if you want, you can try to memorize the address but my SSN isn’t there) than spend 15 days dealing with criminals (and yes, I consider merchants who charged to my card because they couldn’t be bothered to check “criminals” — fraud is fraud) who resist having to put my money BACK even though they were able to steal it instantly.

    This is not like showing a receipt where not showing it doesn’t cause anybody any harm. Failing to check IDs DOES cause real, verifiable harm.

    If you don’t want to have to show ID, try cash.

  19. Buran says:

    @Troy F.: They don’t. I have used someone else’s card, WITH permission, WHILE he was with me; he was injured, couldn’t stand up for long periods of time, and needed to sit down and rest while I checked out his groceries for him. He handed me his check card, and when I protested that I’m not a guy, can’t imitate his signature, and am obviously not an “Andy”, he said “Oh, they won’t check anyway”.

    I’m left-handed, so I picked up the pen in my right hand, made a random scribble on the signature line, and the checker never even looked! I would have greatly preferred that he interrogate me, then have me get my friend’s ID from him while in sight of the checker, then bring the ID and card over to the checker, and get a manual override allowing the charge to be made.

    Nope. Didn’t happen.

  20. GothamGal says:

    At EB Games, the devil, they insist upon ID even though my picture is on my card. I was infuriated because it is clearly me and I’m in there all the time and he refused to process it unless I used a PIN.

  21. Rando says:

    Of course they can’t force@Ben Popken: Signatures mean nothing. Signatures are only for effect so a card holder ‘feels secure’. Rarely will companies use the signature to verfiy anything because there are many other methods.

  22. sleze69 says:

    @punkrawka: Because I never go anywhere with my credit cards without my license. They are ALWAYS both in my wallet. The only way one would be without the other is if someone was using my credit card who ISN’T me.

    @Ben: I remember that Zug article. It was hysterical. That said, it just goes to show that people aren’t using the security features ENOUGH. If it was mandatory across the board on credit card purchases, it would add a deterant to thieves.

  23. levenhopper says:

    I don’t have a problem with showing ID. Like people have said…if they were to write down the info, then it’d be different.

  24. MeOhMy says:

    @punkrawka: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In most stores you can still pay with cash and never have anyone ask for id.

  25. Mike_ says:

    Also against the rules:

    Minimum purchase requirements. If there is no minimum for cash purchases, there must be no minimum for credit card purchases.

    Surcharges. Merchants can offer a discount for paying cash, but they can’t add a special fee for credit card customers. (Unless otherwise allowed by law, as is sometimes the case when paying property taxes by credit card.)

    Merchants sometimes use these to offset the cost of (or even profit from) credit card transactions. They can’t do that. If you see it, call them on it.

  26. DeeJayQueue says:

    I commented on the original article, but it bears repeating:

    It may be illegal or against merchant agreements to ask for additional info for credit card sales, it’s perfectly legit to ask for it during cash, check or debit sales, and if they put the query in the first part of the sale the method of payment is unknown.

    In fact, for checks it’s required for the address to be printed on the check, and if the phone number isn’t there it has to be written on. Certegy will ask for it if there’s a flag on the account, and if it doesn’t match, it declines the check.

    That said, it IS annoying, and I usually give fake info whenever I can (since I don’t write checks at stores). Radio Shack has been the biggest offender of this, denying people the sale because they won’t give their phone number.

    It might also be of some use to know that it doesn’t matter one little bit what you sign in the box. Once you’re at the point in the transaction where you’re signing, it’s already done. The card has been approved for the charge and in most cases the cashier can’t go back. Cashiers aren’t allowed to decline a sale based on the signature not matching, since companies don’t want to be put into a position where they’re either falsely accusing someone of credit card fraud, or confronting a criminal in the act. That’s between Visa and the police. Both the retailer and the cardholder are covered against losses due to fraud, so what difference does it make?

  27. RagingBoehner says:

    @Buran: I have to disagree with you here, Buran. If you don’t want to show ID, don’t buy Alcohol, tobacco, or firearms. I don’t like it when stores ask for id because they often enter address info into their systems for direct mail. At least when they ask you for that info you can decline.

    Moreover, you’re free to write “SEE ID” on your card but you can’t expect merchants to follow it. I never asked for anyone’s ID when I was a waiter (for CC purchases) even if it said that on the card. It’s not my job to protect that card, and I’m not a “criminal” because I didn’t follow a law that you made up that says I need to check your ID. I have 6 other tables whose food is getting cold.

  28. vanilla-fro says:

    @punkrawka: what is the big deal about showing id to show that it is in fact your card. Unless the clerk has a photographic memory, your personal info is safe.

    also know that if he does have one….just seeing your credit card is enough. I know sometimes people really are out to get you, but not as often as you would like to think.

  29. RagingBoehner says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Ahh fake info. My standard is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20001. No one has ever questioned it.

  30. Death says:

    Four words:
    batteries at Radio Shack

  31. nweaver says:

    Note there is also a contridiction in the rules. If the merchants accept a fraudulent charge, they eat it, and they are supposed to take due care. Checking a photo ID, especially on a $1000+ purchase, is just common sense for the merchant.

  32. randombob says:

    So then, we should applaud Visa for possibly subverting fraud deterring techniques? Look, I know that not everyone checks ID properly or sigs and everything else, but SOME DO. To me, this is just stirring the pot to stir it.

    I feel it’d be better if Visa wrote it so you HAVE to check ID. Think about it: If they can’t turn down a transaction because you won’t show ID, then there’s NO WAY to prevent fraud. Because, um, signatures are easier to copy/bypass than an ID.

    How’s this: “Oh man, I’m sorry my sig doesn’t look the same, but you see my hand’s in a cast because I broke it yesterday skydiving, so yeah. Oh and by the way, I refuse to show you my ID because Visa frowns on that and you can’t turn down the transaction because of that. So, uh, do I pull around back to pick up my 70″ TV and home entertainment center?”

    If you want to spend w/o ID, do like another poster said; bring cash. I prefer that things tied to MY credit and MY finances be ID-centric, thanks.

  33. ExVee says:

    I bought a DS Lite in October at Toys R Us. After the cashier ran my bank card, he asked for a driver’s license, which I happily showed him. I then took the moment to thank him for asking for it, because I honestly was happy that a bordering-on-big-ticket purchase was being verified, even if only to the barest degree. I follow the same practice anytime I’m making an expensive purchase and they ask for ID.

    I must admit there’s a part of me that is amused by the prospect that I’m not obligated to comply with the request in order to be able to complete the purchase, but on the whole I have no issue with presenting my driver’s license when asked. The only time I’m bugged about being asked is when my bank apparently sends a random signal back to the store for whatever reason to have my ID checked. That only happens when I’m *not* making suspicious groups of purchases. Maybe $5-$7 worth of little grocery items.

    But in a case where it could be taken as suspicious activity, I’m really glad places train their employees to try to make sure it’s me.

    @GothamGal: I can understand your position. But when I bought my Wii, it was from the Wal-Mart I was still working for at the time, and I was checked out by one of the Electronics girls I knew pretty well (and had been talking with that day for about ten minutes prior to noticing the Wii). She still asked for ID, just because it was the rule. If she hadn’t, she could have just as easily caught trouble for it. Point is, the people might know you, but if they’re doing their jobs right, they still have to ask for what they’re told is acceptable ID.

  34. Pylon83 says:

    The point of the article is that it is against the Visa and Mastercard rules for them to require an ID. It’s completely irrelevant whether or not you like it when they ask for id. The fact of the matter is that by writing “See ID” or “Check ID” on the back of your card you have technically invalidated the card. It clearly says on the back of the card that it is invalid unless it is signed. Of course, I guess the rules don’t apply to those of you who write “See ID”, right?

  35. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    My mother is disabled. I make much of her purchases for her, using her Visa check card and her many credit cards. Never had a problem. Sometimes the clerk does ask for Id, but since we have the same last name, they never care. I even write out her checks and sign them myself to pay her bills.

    One thing to remember here is this: although checking the signature CAN be used for identity verification, the main purpose a signature is required for a credit card transaction, is because you are entering into a credit contract, and the signature is required to seal that contract. If you ever actually READ a receipt before you sign it, most say something like “By signing this receipt you are agreeing to the terms set forth in your cardholder agreement.”

    The signature is required to seal the contract, not to prove who you are. Same with signing the back of the card.

  36. punkrawka says:

    @Buran: I have had my credit card stolen. The chargebacks and fraud reports took about 30 minutes of my time (with BoA, no less). You must need a new bank. As long as credit cards can be used online, checking IDs at B&M stores does absolutely nothing to prevent theft and everything to impinge on the privacy and convenience of legitimate customers.

  37. jaewon223 says:

    Stores checking for ID is a good thing. I seriously doubt any clerk is going to steal your identity when checking for credit card usage. The benefits far outweigh any potential harm that might come from stores checking your ID when using your credit card. Cmon Consumerist, this is obviously more helpful than it is detrimental.

  38. MercuryPDX says:

    @Mike_: Do you have a source for that info? I ask because I get hit with the “$5 minimum for all charges” and “.35 surcharge for using a credit card” all the time.

  39. nutrigm says:

    This will have the same implication as “You have the right to not show the guy at Walmart’s exit the receipt but if you exercise your right then get ready for dirty looks and law enforcement to be called”!!

  40. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Another reason Visa may have this rule: I lost my wallet once (read = stolen). Didn’t realize it for 24 hours. Got my statements, and in the 24 hours the thief had the cards, loads of $50-$100 purchases were made at….. gas stations…. eh?

    The thief bought gas, probably for everyone they knew.

    Well, gas pumps with credit card slots don’t check ID OR require a signature. So if a gas pump can’t check your ID, and you can potentially spend hundreds of dollars at one, then why should a clerk?

    Credit and debit cards and all the related technology are designed for one thing: convenience. And security /= convenience.

  41. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @MercuryPDX: @Mike_: Do you have a source for that info? I ask because I get hit with the “$5 minimum for all charges” and “.35 surcharge for using a credit card” all the time.


  42. Pylon83 says:

    Check the Visa and Mastercard merchant manuals. It is absolutely against the rules for them to impose a minimum credit card charge. I run into it frequently in Chicago. However, in the interest of maintaining a good relationship with the one business I frequent that does have a minimum, I don’t say anything (A small grocery store in my building).

  43. Buran says:

    @punkrawka: It does when you consider how thieves grab your purse/wallet and try to charge up as much as they can before you report the card stolen. If merchants check to make sure you look like the photo on the ID, and that the ID matches the card namewise, fraud is prevented.

  44. GothamGal says:


    Oh I forgot to add that I was buying a crappy $20 piece of plastic, not a WII or an Xbox 360 Elite. I am relishing in my next game purchase at EB Games because I will tell them to refer to page 29 of their merchant agreement with Visa on how they cannot require ID for acceptance of a transaction.

    Let me add that I go out without ID all the time because I don’t drive and do not have a license. I have to drag my passport with me and I’m afraid of losing it. Oh yes, I am aware that I can get a state ID, but why should I waste my time at the DMV?

  45. Buran says:

    @RagingBoehner: And I have to disagree with you, because you admit that you can’t be bothered to do something that only takes a FEW SECONDS to prevent potential fraud “because I don’t have time” when only a few seconds is involved. You are only thinking about your own problems and not considering what kind of potential horror could be unleashed on the owner of the card for those few precious seconds you saved. Put yourself in other peoples’ shoes instead of your own.

  46. MercuryPDX says:

    @Pylon83: I try not to make waves about the minimum either, and usually end up adding a few packs of gum or something to bring it up to the minimum.

    I can understand why a store would do both in an effort to get more bang for the buck for their per transaction processing fees, but it doesn’t make it right.

  47. Buran says:

    @aaron8301: Why not have yourself added onto her accounts and have a card legitimately issued on her account in your name? It’s free, and it allows ID to be checked, thereby protecting you and others, and allows you to help out your mom (which is cool of you to do).

  48. Buran says:

    @aaron8301: Because every little bit helps, that’s why. Sure, some places let you swipe your card without ID being checked. But does that mean we shouldn’t do everything possible, where possible, to make sure that people are honest? Of course not!

  49. Buran says:

    @GothamGal: If I was a console gamer, I’d be shopping at EB games right now because I appreciate it when people try to help others, unlike the guy above who claims a few seconds “takes too long” or whatever.

  50. bonzombiekitty says:

    I’ve been asked for my ID many times when shopping in order to verify the Credit card belongs to me. I have never seen anyone record the information from the ID. All they have done is look at the picture, the name on both the ID and the card, and my face. I’m happy when they ask for some other ID to verify my card.

    I’m absolutely shocked that there are places that are taking IDs and recording information from them without your permission. Where in the world are you people shopping that they are recording information from your ID?

  51. SpenceMan01 says:

    I think I’d rather have them checking ID for EVERY credit card transaction. An extra 10 seconds to verify name and signature can go a long way to deter a thief.

    I am appalled at the lack of even checking the back of the card these days! When I worked at Best Buy as a cashier about 7 years ago, I would verify the signature to the back of the card EVERY time. I don’t care if you were an employee charging $.70 to your debit card for a bottle of pop (which happened a lot, actually), I’m checking the signatures. I even asked an employee for his ID (which is a no-no I guess) because the signature was worn off the back of his card. I had numerous customers compliment my meticulous checking. It makes me cringe every time I use a credit card, leave it on the counter for them to check, and they don’t even care.

  52. trollkiller says:

    It is true, you can’t ask for ID as a condition for using a credit card, but as a merchant it is my responsibility to make sure I don’t get ripped off. Someone buys merchandise with a stolen card, charge gets reversed I eat the cost of the merchandise.

    I ask for an ID, you refuse, I refuse the sale because you are now acting suspicious. You call the credit card people and bitch, they call me, I tell them you were acting suspicious and I declined the sale. Credit card people say “ok, thanks for your time”.

    Credit card companies make money off of the merchant for each sale. (transaction fees and percent) They will not toss you out of the network for protecting yourself from fraud.

    Save the self righteous ass hat behavior for cops and merchants that want to see your receipt.

  53. gingerCE says:

    I have no problem with them asking for ID. Only for debit cards (with pin) do I think they shouldn’t ask for ID. Credit cards, with all the fraud, Visa/Mastercard should make all the stores ask customers to show ID.

    I was at the grocery store, guy buying booze, cigarettes, gift cards, wrote a check. The clerk asked for ID and said the ID didn’t match. The sale was canceled. Asking for ID works. Yes, this was a check but if the guy had used a stolen credit card instead, it goes through because the clerk doesn’t ask for ID, doesn’t make much sense.

    I know someone who’s credit card was stolen on campus. Within an hour, the thief had charged up hundreds at Gap. If only the clerk had asked for ID. Even when you don’t pay the charges because your card was stolen, you still feel like a theft victim. It’s a horrible feeling.

  54. iMike says:

    Try this next time you’re asked for ID and report your experience. 8 times out of 10 you’ll probably not be able to complete the transaction. And if you think VISA or MC is going to cut off, e.g. Target because of a violation, you’re high.

  55. gingerCE says:

    Okay, one time I was at a store, and the clerk asked the women ahead of me in line for their SSN card. The women were older–maybe 40s-50s. One said she didn’t have it and the clerk said that’s fine, just give him her SSN number.

    I got a bad feeling and decided to switch lines. However, I never told the manager or another employee about this. It seemed weird that to pay with a check, the clerk wanted the SSN card and not the Driver License.

  56. Pylon83 says:

    So refusing to provide an ID that is NOT REQUIRED to be shown is now considered suspicious? Maybe you should start asking your customers their sexual orientation, what religion they practice, or even if they use illegal drugs. If they refuse to answer, that is clearly suspicious and you shouldn’t sell to them. Your logic is absurd, you clearly have no respect for the rules and regulations that Visa and Mastercard set out for their merchants, and you should have your merchant license/permit taken away. Then you can do business as you please, only taking cash or even barter if you like. Merchant’s like you are the problem with the whole system, with your “the rules simply don’t apply to me” mentality. Do you require a minimum purchase to use a credit card? How about a “Service fee”?

  57. randombob says:


    Most gas station pumps now require you to enter the billing zip code. So there’s still a measure of identity there. Not that a thief couldn’t come up with this info, but realistically the time it takes means you’d probably have cancelled the card by then.

    Obviously, not ALL stations are employing this at the moment, but for me in CA it’s been YEARS since I’ve gassed up without this step. But I remember when it was new.

  58. prateeko says:

    They’re not supposed to require a minimum to use a credit card, but a lot of places (smaller joints obviously) do so anyways.

  59. RagingBoehner says:

    @GothamGal: I thought you didn’t need to even sign for things that are less then $25, let alone show ID.

    At least that’s the case at Dunkin Donuts, Whole Foods, and Chipotle, just to name a few.

  60. mmejanvier says:

    Okay. As someone who has worked in retail for years I have to comment on a couple of things. I’ve experienced a few different reactions from customers when I ask to see their ID. “How dare you ask to see my ID . . . are you inferring I’m a criminal?” “How do I know you’re not a criminal?” “Thank you for checking. . . “

    So here’s what it boils down to: If you don’t want strangers (sales people) checking your ID, then pay with cash.

    As far as the above comment that sales people who inadvertently allow fraudulent transactions to take place are criminals. . . that is ridiculous. It is your responsibility to protect your financial information. Not the check out girl at Walgreens.

  61. f0nd004u says:

    Both my cards have “See ID” written on the back in big, black sharpie. I do this because, having worked in retail, I know that most clerks really do not pay attention to the name on the card. A 40-year-old man could probably get away with using a card that says ‘Lumilda Bonhoff” on it in most cases. And the signature means nothing. It isn’t really ever checked by most people ringing up your food or items.

    I write “See ID” on there because I want them to pay attention to who is using my card. A lot of places still don’t ask for it. I started handing them my ID with my credit card, and a lot of people STILL don’t look at it.

    Then I started signing my reciepts with a smiley-face. That irritates them, and they look at the ID now. =P

  62. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: Yes, it is, because if it is really your card you have no reason to refuse ID. If you have something to hide, however (that it’s not your card) you won’t be wanting to provide ID. So now the clerk has a reason to be suspicious that you are a scammer.

  63. Pylon83 says:

    It just depends on the particulars of the agreement with the merchant. Some places, like the ones you mention, are more interested in keeping the line moving than worrying about getting signatures. They would probably rather eat a couple of $8 fraudulent charges than have a slow, long line and lose customers. It makes sense really. But I’m sure it’s all part of their agreement, something they can request because it doesn’t violate the merchant rules/regs.

  64. Pylon83 says:

    That’s a bullshit reason and you know it. That’s along the same lines as saying that refusing to let a cop search your car on demand is suspicious because you’d let them if you weren’t hiding something. It’s the exact same flawed, ridiculous logic.

  65. basket548 says:

    RE: Signatures

    People, signatures are not used to confirm identity at the point of purchase. Yes, they CAN be a way to identify you, but more typically they are used after the fact, when a consumer disputes a charge. Suppose a restuarant mistakenly runs your card twice, thus charging you for someone else’s meal. When you dispute the charge, you can see a signature that is clearly not yours. At the point of sale, the only thing that matters is that the card is valid.

  66. meeroom says:

    I’m with Pylon. If you think that having to show your ID is such a great thing then you should read The Handmaid’s Tale by Maragret Atwood.

  67. RagingBoehner says:

    @Pylon83: There’s also the minor fact that it’s explicitly prohibited in the merchant agreement.

  68. 1. I don’t mind showing my ID if it’s to verify that my name is the same on the card and on the ID, and that the picture is of me. As far as the whole idea of giving your information to the clerk so they have a record of you, I’ve been back and forth on that recently. It comes to the point now where it’s more convenient for them to have my information ready in case I need them to look something up for me. If you all don’t know this, most speciality retailers will want to take your information for purchases over a specific amount, and for the most part it’s just to keep records of your big purchases in case you lose your receipt, for instance. In the cases where they do use your info for solicitation, in most cases you can call and request no contact.

    2. For those retailers who have policies to check ID on every credit transaction (including the one I work for), there’s a simple way to make the “you can’t force me to show my ID rule” irrelevant: we also have the right to refuse service to anyone we choose to for any reason. You don’t want to hand over your ID just to verify that you are you? Well, I refuse you service. Simple as that. I always ask and I’ve never had anyone take issue with it except for the few isolated cases where a kid is trying to pay with their parent’s card.

  69. bravo says:

    @Mike_: “Surcharges. Merchants can offer a discount for paying cash, but they can’t add a special fee for credit card customers. (Unless otherwise allowed by law, as is sometimes the case when paying property taxes by credit card.)”

    What is the difference between offering a discount for cash purchasers and adding a surcharge for credit card customers? The end result is exactly the same, isn’t it? This seems like a pointless policy on the part of the credit card companies.

  70. SadSam says:

    I used to make a fuss telling clerks that this show ID rule was inappropriate/not allowed by the credit card co. Now I just tell the clerk I don’t have my ID with me and they move on. I do the same with the zip code/phone number requests – I make up some random number and move on. I’m finding that more and more of my debit purchases (with a Visa debit card) don’t require signature (no I don’t use the PIN number either) as they up the limit for signature required.

  71. xl22k says:

    Merchants CAN check your ID if your card is unsigned or your signature does not match.

    From page 29:
    While checking card security features, you should also make sure that the card
    is signed. An unsigned card is considered invalid and should not be accepted. If a
    customer gives you an unsigned card, the following steps must be taken:
    • Check the cardholder’s ID. Ask the cardholder for some form of official
    government identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. Where
    permissible by law, the ID serial number and expiration date should be
    written on the sales receipt before you complete the transaction.

  72. krom says:

    Just a thought, if you put “SEE ID” on your signature strip (which is technically invalid BTW), then, yeah, it’s you that’s making ID a transaction requirement.

    Personally, I usually use my BOA check card, which has my picture on it, so no one ever needs to ask for my ID to verify me.

  73. form3hide says:

    How about when you return an item? Whenever I return something from Lowes, without a receipt, they copy down my liscense information — is this legal? Can I say no?

  74. Pylon83 says:

    Where in your quoted text does it say they can ask if the signature doesn’t match? I sure don’t see it. That passage refers to unsigned cards. Try again.

  75. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: Why? If you are an honest law-abiding person you have no reason not to show it. If you won’t submit to simple antifraud measures, then there’s probably a good reason for it.

    See how far that argument gets you if you try to bypass the security line at an airport. “If I haven’t done anything suspicious, you don’t need to search me”. You’ll wind up in jail or thrown off the airport.

  76. Pylon83 says:

    What exactly are you referring to as being explicitly prohibiting? Requiring an ID? I’ve already said that. I think it’s wrong of them to require it. Your comment is too short to make any sense.

  77. Buran says:

    @RagingBoehner: There’s also the major fact that fraud is ILLEGAL, as in “there’s real laws against it, not some bullshit corporate ‘policy'”, and if a store permits it to happen but says “yeah, that guy wouldn’t prove he was who he said he was” oh boy, are they going to be in trouble.

  78. Pylon83 says:

    That’s an entirely different argument. You’re simply trying to twist things around to make you ridiculous beliefs seem more rational. I like how you didn’t even address the issue of the police search. It’s because it makes sense, and it kills your argument.

  79. trollkiller says:

    @Pylon83: If their sexual preference, religion, or drug use had any bearing on the chance of being a victim of fraud, you bet I would ask.

    If you will go READ the merchant agreement above you will see it says Visa does not preclude merchants from asking for ID. It also says I can’t refuse the sale because you did not show ID. I am not refusing the sale because you did not show ID I am refusing the sale because you are acting in a suspicious manner.

    In my experience only two types of people won’t show ID for a credit card purchase, thieves and assholes. I don’t want to do business with either.

    As for a minimum, no don’t have one of those, I just refuse the sale if it will cost me money. The customer is always right until it costs me money.

  80. nickripley says:

    @Buran: Hey, the “show your receipt line” is over THERE.. not here.

  81. Pylon83 says:

    That’s entirely different. They do not have to let you return the products. They have a policy that allows it, but they could also institute a policy that said “no returns”. They can require that information because it’s a privilege that they are in no way required to extend to you. The credit card info is regulated by a contract they have with Visa.

  82. econobiker says:

    Back in the mid-90’s I worked for a sole proprietor who had us use his wife’s credit card to buy tools. No body ever cared that the cc was in a woman’s name being presented by a man. I always signed my own name and then the initials of the company plus Inc. since it was an authorized use.

    Never ever got asked for ID or confirmation.

  83. Pylon83 says:

    You seem like the kind of owner that no one wants to do business with. Your thinly veiled excuse of him “Acting suspicious” doesn’t hold water.

  84. nickripley says:

    @Buran: Why? If you are an honest law-abiding person you have no reason not to show it. If you won’t submit to simple antifraud measures, then there’s probably a good reason for it.

    TERRORISTS MAY USE YOUR STOLEN CARD!! “If you have nothing to hide, then why would you object to a search?”

    Hey, are you English? Most of them don’t care about privacy.

  85. ElizabethD says:

    Many times I have responded, when asked for my phone number at POS, “I don’t give my number out.” So far no one has challenged me or refused to sell to me.

    If forced to give a number, I would make one up.

    Online, I routinely fudge my birthdate when asked for it by commercial web sites, and not because I’m in denial about my age. ;-)

  86. RagingBoehner says:

    @Pylon83: Sorry to not be more clear — the merchant agreement says that processing a transaction can’t be contingent on showing an ID. Beyond the innocent until proven guilty thing you mention, how could it possibly be suspicious to refuse to do something that’s actually prohibited?

  87. Maulleigh says:

    When I was a teenager, my mom gave me her credit card. She had me sign the back in her name and I was a good kid and didn’t abuse it, blah blah blah.

    When I’d go down to Haight street and use it, I’d get hassled. She worked for Bank of America at the time and told me it was discrimination to ask to see ID.

    I was constantly asked to see ID for my mother (didn’t have it) so I’d say it was discrimination and I didn’t have to.

    One guy countered with, “Well, we don’t have to allow you to use credit cards at all.”

  88. RagingBoehner says:

    @Buran: A store is not “permitting” fraud by refusing to check an ID. There’s no law that says you have to check ID — in fact, according to the article above, many states prohibit it.

    Of course fraud is illegal. The fraudster should go to jail — but you can’t get mad at a clerk who follows the law and the merchant agreement, but not what you write on the card.

    You could write “show tattoo” on your CC but that doesn’t mean the clerk has to do it.

  89. Pylon83 says:

    Exactly. See my comment to “TrollKiller”, the rouge businessman.

  90. Sudonum says:

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here is merchant cards. Every time I use my Home Depot card they ask for ID. I would imagine that this is part of the CC agreement that you agreed to when you signed up for the card, but never bothered to investigate it.

  91. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: Fine, since you’re being an ass about it: the police can ask you for a search and you can refuse — unless they have probable cause in which case they can get a warrant and search. You saying “no, I won’t prove who I am because you want to make sure I am who I claim I am”, create suspicion because avoiding anti-crime measures that are in place for your own protection (if you are who you claim you are) is only to your benefit if you are trying to commit a crime.

  92. Sam2k says:

    I might be mistaken, but the signature thing isn’t really designed to combat fraud is it? Signing the back of a credit card signifies agreement to the T&C while signing a credit card sales slip signifies your agreement to be held responsible for the charges.

  93. Sam2k says:

    @Sam2k: Btw, this also means, if my understanding is correct, that it doesn’t matter what is placed on the signature lines so long as the card holder is putting something. ie “Shamu” with a picture of a whale is a valid signature.

  94. Spaztrick says:

    @aaron8301: Regarding the gas station sales… they didn’t necessarily purchase gas for everyone they knew, but rather offered to fill anyone’s tank on the credit card if you give them half the amount in cash. Then they don’t need your pin# to get cash from your card.

  95. Buran says:

    @nickripley: Hey, no I’m not, way to make a personal attack, you can take your baseless assumptions and shove them.

    Yes, I care about my privacy — BUT — when there are perfectly valid reasons to show an ID, I will do it. And making sure that I am not DEFRAUDED is a perfectly valid reason to do it. I’ve been a victim, and you think I should bend over and take that all over again?

    Um, no. I’ve been through that once. I will not knowingly do anything that will enable that to happen to me or anyone else.

    Yes, I was trying to make people notice it when I pointed out that there are perfectly valid cases when yes, you should do things you don’t like. This is one of them.

  96. Pylon83 says:

    “Don’t worry, we are only installing these security camera’s in your home for your own protection”
    Again, you logic does not follow. First off, if the police have probable cause, they don’t need a warrant to search your car, they just do it. Refusing a search does not generate probable cause.
    Refusing to show an ID that you are not REQUIRED to show does not generate suspicion that you are a criminal.
    So avoiding any voluntary anti-crime measures makes you suspicious now? Maybe you should consider moving to a communist country, as you seem like you might like their rules a little better.

  97. wooleyduck says:

    Hobby Lobby has apparently begun asking for ID as well. A few nights ago when Christmas shopping there with my mom we were checking out at different registers. She was using her debit card but didn’t have her ID with her. I was called over to show them my ID and somehow that magically meant that her debit card actually belonged to her? I’m still not sure of the logic behind that one.

  98. Buran says:

    @RagingBoehner: They are if you get asked “for antifraud purposes”, you refuse, and that is/should be a tipoff that you are attempting fraud. They’re now suspicious that you’re trying to scam them; if they let you finish the purchase anyway, they knew you were up to something fishy and let you go anyway.

    I, as the real holder of the card, could then come after the store in civil court for failing to act on their suspicion. Remember, you can sue for anything you want in civil court, and I can make it a huge headache for you with a good lawyer…

  99. maevro says:

    We ask for ID on orders over $500 just because we have so much credit card fraud. Most people do not care, or at least do not show any expression that they are bothered.

  100. Pylon83 says:

    Yes, you can sue for anything in civil court, and cause headaches.
    You can also be counter-sued for abuse of process, and your attorney can be sanctioned for bringing a claim in bad-faith.
    Last time I checked, one is not liable for failing to act on a mere suspicion.

  101. Pylon83 says:

    You can ask all you want to. The important question is do you refuse sales if they don’t show ID? If you do, you deserve to have your Visa merchant contract pulled.

  102. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: When we’re talking hurting someone else? In this day and age of rampant identity theft? In the narrow case of proving who you are to use a credit card, which has no security otherwise, yes, I believe it needs to be done. In other situations? Maybe not.

    We are going to have to agree to disagree at this point, because I have strong convictions and so do you. There’s nothing wrong with having differing opinions. I’ve said my piece, and am not going to change my mind, especially having been a victim of the crime you’re arguing should be made as easy as possible.

  103. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: Criminally liable? maybe not. But courts can and do sometimes award damages based on actions that aren’t outright illegal.

  104. Pylon83 says:

    Exactly what cause of action would you sue the store under? I’m curious, I can’t think of any that would apply. They have no duty to protect you.

  105. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: He deserves to be applauded. The fraud I mentioned above, of which I was a victim, was for well over that amount. You would be appalled at the amount of BS I had to go through to get that wiped off — and it was not as simple as someone above assumed it would be. It was not a matter of checking a few boxes on a webpage and sitting back and relaxing, or anything of the sort.

    I am not intending to start another argument like the one above, but I have to ask, have you ever been victimized? Once you have, you tend to change your viewpoint. I used to have views like yours. After being a victim multiple times — and I am very careful with my privacy and my records — my opinions changed as a result of nothing more than cold, hard experience.

  106. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: Under what cause of action did McDonalds get sued for the hot coffee? They have no duty to make their coffee at any particular temperature, or protect you, then…

  107. Pylon83 says:

    Not personally, no. But I have family members and close friends that just were. My mother had her wallet stolen and $2500 run up on her CC and debit card on Saturday. I still maintain my beliefs that they should not be allowed to require an ID.

  108. Pylon83 says:

    They got sued for negligence. They had a duty the customer they were actually serving at that point in time. It was foreseeable that someone could get injured by coffee that was found to be extraordinarily hot. It’s an entirely different circumstance from fraud. You are effectively a 3rd party to store and they owe you nothing. It just like walking down the street, and seeing someone who has just been stabbed. In nearly every state, you can just keep walking. You have no duty to help them. Also, if you see someone who is just about to get hit by a car, and you yelling could save them, you have no legal duty to do so.

  109. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: Hope it never happens. I heard a lot of horror stories, too, but it’s always different when it’s you.

  110. loriensilverleaf says:

    As a former retail worker I would not ask for ID, even when the card said to or the store policy was to do so. For whatever tiny hourly salary I received I was not willing to challenge someone who may have done who knows what to get a stolen credit card. Not worth it. It’s not the job of a store clerk to prevent someone from using the wrong card.

    And I don’t like to give ID, either, so now I know my rights and won’t give ID when asked. I am neither a thief or an asshole, I just want to use my card and move on.

  111. Chaluapman says:

    This is my favorite part of the Visa “rules” that never gets observed.


  112. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: If they can sue for negligence, anyone can. You can file the case for whatever you want. Whether you’ll win, who knows? She could have lost. I do think I’ve heard about cases where people have gotten in trouble with the police for failing to render assistance, but I don’t have citations. I do remember them though. Every case is different. You can’t outright say “you have no case”. Sure you do; that’s what judges and juries are for. Are we judges or juries? No.

  113. ionerox says:

    Is it that hard to show ID when it’s asked for?

    I caught a couple teenagers trying to buy a top-of-the-line laptop and hundreds of dollars of accessories when they tried to write a check off a business account after I refused to take a credit card without matching ID. Turns out they’d already spent up to the limit on the rest of the credit & bank cards from the purse they had stolen earlier that day. They somehow managed to buy a CAR from a nearby dealership using some poor family’s business checks and a pretty lame story.

    The majority of the time cc transactions are going to be non-fraudulent, but having stores check ID’s against a cc helps in that small percentage where both the store and some poor guy are going to get ripped off. Yeah, the store can write it off and you can get it covered by the bank or credit card company- but it still takes lots of time to deal with. I do agree that info shouldn’t be recorded, but simply showing a picture ID really isn’t all that hard.

    Plus, it’s fun to catch crooks and get them hauled away in handcuffs.

  114. Mariallena says:

    Did anybody read the agreement?

    On page 4 clearly says “Your merchant agreement and the Visa U.S.A. Inc. Operating Regulations take precedence over this guide or any updates to its

    In plain English, these guidelines can be superseded by an agreement between the merchant and Visa.

    That would explain why the supermarket or the liquor store in my neighborhood (yes, I live on the wrong side of the tracks) have a sign that clearly requires showing id for all credit card transactions.

  115. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: I don’t think it’s “abuse of process” to sue when your lawyer is willing to file suit (thinks you have a case). You can lose, but that doesn’t mean you abused the court system. If you believe you’ve been wronged, you can go to court to try to prove it. You can lose your case, but you still have the right to use the civil court system if you wish to do so.

  116. vanilla-fro says:

    @Pylon83: Why are you people so against SHOWING your id. If they ask to make a copy, sure raise hell. But is showing your ID that scary? I think it’s scary that anyone in the world can use my CC if they get their filthy mitts on it. I know, I know “you don’t have to pay for the charges”. Bullshit, I have to pay. I have to deal with the hassle of making the phone calls and spending the time to make sure that they did in fact take the charges off.

    Hmmm…one second to pull out the id that is right next to my CC, not so bad. Hell get a wallet with the id window and you don’t even have to take it out.
    Why are you so worried about pulling out your ID?

  117. Steel_Pelican says:

    Keep in mind that (in terms of federal law) any business can refuse you service for any reason except race, color, religion, national origin, or a status protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. State laws will vary, but you’d be hard pressed to find a state where “suspicion of fraud” was not an acceptable reason to refuse service.

    As mentioned in the OP, “if you refuse to provide the requested information, a company can refuse to do business with you.” If you aren’t happy with the privacy practices of a business, SHOP SOMEWHERE ELSE.

  118. vanilla-fro says:

    @RagingBoehner: It may be that you can’t get mad at the merchant for following the law……….but how many people aren’t. How quickly would anyone here want to sue one of these merchants if it happened to them and for some reason (like it won’t ever happen) the cc company doesn’t get rid of the charges. if you say nobody would at least try to sue, you’re a liar or an idiot.

    God I wish I could get to the end of these comments to see who says the dumbest thing.

  119. rbf2000 says:

    I think I understand Pylon83’s logic. It’s a matter of privacy and he or she simply doesn’t want anybody to have more information than they should or that he or she feels comfortable giving out, and I certainly agree with that line of thought.

    That being said, if there is a fraudulent credit card transaction, the store eats it. That means if a retailer sells a $2000 TV, they don’t just lose the $200 profit on the TV, they lose the entire $2000. That means they would need to sell another 10 of those TVs just to make up for the loss from one fraudulent credit card transaction.

    Now, a company has a right to protect its bottom line. Each employee has a duty to protect the interests of the shareholders of the company, that’s why they have a job. And losing thousands of dollars in fraud is not conducive to the bottom line.

    It would be absolutely ridiculous to think that a company should not be able to protect itself from fraud, and if that requires requesting an ID, then so be it. Your right, as a consumer, is not to patronize that establishment. If your moral convictions and privacy concerns are so strong that you will not show your ID simply shop somewhere else. How easy is that?

    So while I agree that privacy is something that people too readily give away, I think your conclusion that a business should not be able to protect its assets is ridiculous.

    On a side note, I once had somebody hand me a card and on the back, instead of a signature it said “THIS CARD IS STOLEN”. That was the oddest way I’ve seen somebody try to get a merchant to check an ID.

    Conversely, I had somebody go on a 5 minute tirade because I refused her a sale when she would not present an ID for an unsigned card.

  120. RagingBoehner says:

    @vanilla-fro: I’m a liar and/or an idiot?

    I can’t predict what other people would do. Presumably, many of them would sue. That’s their decision, not mine.

    My only point is that you can’t just unilaterally write things on your card and then expect them to be followed.

    People would get mad at me at the restaurant for not checking their ID when it said so on their card. The truth is — I didn’t always see it. At a restaurant, it’s not like you can check someone’s signature anyway since they have usually already left by the time you collect the signature.

    Besides, what are you going to do if they don’t have an ID on them? Make them leave without paying? Call the cops? Again, it’s not my job as the representative of a merchant to comply with things that the cardholder “requires”.

    If following the rules of credit cards is too much for you to handle just pay cash. You can write “see ID” on your $20 bill too — I’m still not going to check it.

  121. Pylon83 says:

    Ok, I guess I should make my reasoning clear. For me, it is not a privacy issue per se. I could care less if they know where I live. My point is they are bound by their Visa agreement not to require the ID, and I should not have to show it. They don’t get to make up their own little rules and regulations for this kind of thing. I’m sorry, but fraud prevention is an unpersuasive reason to demand everyone fork over an ID. Again, what about the people who don’t drive, and don’t always carry an ID? While I always have mine, it’s an inconvenience that is not required of me, I’m not going to do it.

  122. xamarshahx says:

    I HOPE they always ask for ID, not write it down, just verify the name. They did this at every place I was in while traveling to Vegas and now a lot of clubs are starting to do it. Don’t be an asshole when they ask, its to help protect you, if they start to write it down, then ask questions.

  123. xamarshahx says:

    fyi: its also against Visa policy to require minimum amounts to accept credit card transactions, but small businesses still do it since they would lose massive profits by accepting it on every small transaction. Small businesses pay much higher for processing fees.

  124. Landru says:

    What happened to all that talk about how great a visa card is compared to a debit card? You’re protected against theft, remember?

    Their agreement says specifically that they cannot ask for ID – At places that ask for ID, it’s just some yahoo thinking they have a good idea. So the thief goes somewhere where they don’t ask.

    I think it starts with checking ID and eventually it leads to strip searching (that prevents theft too!).

  125. rbf2000 says:

    @xamarshahx: FYI, it’s most definitely not to protect the consumer that merchants ask for an ID, it’s to protect their own bottom line. However, it sounds a lot less self-serving to say that it’s in your best interest. That’s not to say that it won’t help the consumer as well, but the merchant is first and foremost looking out for their bottom line.

  126. mk says:

    @keith4298: Recently I accidentaly post dated a check by a month (wrote 12/5 instead of 11/5). I figured I’d get a call from the payee for me to send a new check. Nope, the bank chased it no problem.

  127. SpdRacer says:

    @punkrawka: I know in IL it is a misdemeanor for anyone over the age of 18 to not have some form of ID.

  128. kbarrett says:


  129. sven.kirk says:

    @GothamGal: “… refused to process it unless I used a PIN.

    Because if use your PIN, you are making an automatic draft straight from your bank. They are not paying any fees from VISA.

  130. Chese says:

    At least according to the mastercard’s agreement, the seller should refuse the sale of an unsigned card (SEE ID included) In reality, people are not handwriting experts so to expect every person to even be able to tell the difference is silly. If you want people to check IDs just use checks.

  131. m4nea says:

    @punkrawka: It’s not about wondering the age of the person. I ask SENIORS for ID…it’s about preventing identity theft.
    Also, I should ask my boss about this, because if someone refuses to show ID, we show them the door.
    Last, wtf is all this about “unsecured wireless internet?” That just doesn’t make sense and does not apply here.

  132. Jay Levitt says:

    Free markets can’t force Ben Popken to do fact-checking

    Nitpickers everywhere rejoiced today as Ben Popken, Law-Guesser-at-Large* of the Consumerist, posted yet another bit of well-intentioned legal advice without bothering to do a simple Google search. As usual, nobody else cared.

    Popken’s article, entitled “Stores Can’t Force You To Show ID With Your Credit Card,” went on to explain how stores can’t force you to show ID with [a] credit card.

    Unfortunately, even 30 seconds of research would have proven that this is, in fact, inaccurate.

    MasterCard has a provision in their contract forbidding merchants from forcing you to show ID, and they even provide a special page for you to make a complaint about a merchant who violates that clause. (Of course, you have to make the purchase, and thus show your ID, before you can make a complaint.)

    Visa, whose contract contains a similar clause, does not enforce that policy, as numerous reports can attest.

    American Express explicitly does *not* have such a policy, and in fact, if you call their customer service, you’ll find they recommend that merchants check IDs as a way to boost security.

    Various states do have various laws, but the linked article only mentions California, which apparently outlaws any ID requirements. Some other states don’t restrict ID requirements, but do restrict the storage of that ID data; in other words, a store may be violating the law in your state if they record your ID, rather than simply checking it.

    Discover’s rules were unknown at press time because we couldn’t be bothered to look.

    Diners Club’s rules were unknown at press time because, really, who uses Diners Club anymore?

    * We don’t actually know Ben’s title, and in the spirit of a Gawker blog, didn’t want to do research while writing an article, so we just made that up.

  133. Pylon83 says:

    That’s inaccurate. Can you provide a cite for that claim?

  134. Pylon83 says:

    @Jay Levitt:
    Whether Visa enforces it or not is irrelevant. I know for a fact they enforce the no-minimum requirement. American Express has a clause in their agreement that says they cannot discreminate against Amex cardholders, so they can’t require you to show an ID if you pay with Amex, and not require one if you pay with Visa. So in effect, Amex indirectly prohibits conditioning card acceptance upon showing a valid ID. Discover does have the same rule, I looked (their Merchant manual is a real bitch to find).

  135. rjhiggins says:

    @SpdRacer: What??? That’s BS you’re pulling out of your butt.

  136. Landru says:

    @Jay Levitt:

    What a creepy post.

  137. FLConsumer says:

    @Buran: Why should it take hours? Chargebacks/fraud alerts to the bank should take less than 5 minutes. Had a fraudulent charge appear on my Visa card this summer and it was taken care of immediately by Wachovia. Probably took less than 3 minutes total.

  138. We run into this all the time at the Shoppettes / BX here on base (AAFES retailers). There are many times I can’t leave work, or whatever it is I am doing to go to the store with my wife – unfortunately, it is my name on all of our cards. For a solid year no one cared, in the past 2 weeks they are checking every single time.

    I’ve already sent a customer comment to asking for clarification. Sure, check ID to make sure they can use on-base assets, but you can’t deny her using my card as long as she gets my signature right (according to VISA).

  139. lordnoble says:

    point taken, however as a business the Store has a right to institute what rules and procedures their sales/cashiers should take before accepting cards to reduce fraud. I love it when we think we found loopholes when those were left open to protect ya.

  140. veronykah says:

    @Mike_: Question, how is it legal, or is it[?] that Arco gas stations here in CA all have a 45¢ charge for using your debit card at the pump?
    This irks me. I would be happy to use a credit card but they don’t allow it.
    As far as the show id argument, not sure WHY people think showing id is the magic bullet to protect you from a thief. IF someone has your credit cards they can find a way to use them. Id or not. Not to mention, if someone steals your wallet isn’t your id in there as well???
    After living in NYC, where NO ONE checks ids then moving to CA where they always do I find it highly annoying. Especially for a debit transaction. Doesn’t anyone remember the Visa debit card ads, where they were asking Michael Jordan for his id and the point was “use your debit card” so you don’t have to be bothered?
    I work as an assistant quite a bit and am given the bosses business cards to make transactions, to get all the way to the store and find out they won’t take it is annoying.

  141. Pylon83 says:

    They are bound by the rules and regulations in their merchant agreements. They can’t make rules that contravene what Visa/MC/Amex/Discover have set out. Well, I suppose they CAN make such rules, but they risk having their merchant agreements cancelled.

  142. Jay Levitt says:

    @Veronykah: Hie thee hither! There’s no place for your analytical logic here. Once you realize that Everyone Knows that checking IDs Improves Security, you understand the self-authenticating nature of such a statement.

    Does it really prevent credit card fraud? Sometimes, probably, sure. I’m an average-height white guy. If a tall black woman tries to use my ID, the cashier might get suspicious.

    On the other hand, I lost 60 pounds, shaved a full beard, and got contacts. Do you think I look anything like my ID? I don’t want to find myself unable to use my own credit cards because I can’t prove I’m me.

    (Lest you think this is hypothetical: There was a new clerk at the CVS downstairs from me. Every single time I signed a receipt [usually for about $3 for a frozen pizza], she would look at it, look at my card, squint, look back and forth a few times, tell me it didn’t match, and ask for my ID. Every single time, I would refuse, and ask her to get the manager. Every single time, she would just ask the person next to her what to do, and every single time, they would look at the signature, recognize me from my near-daily visits, say “of course it matches”, and tell her to approve the sale. This had no effect on any of our future interactions. There are people like that everywhere, and some day, one of them is going to be a problem for me.)

    Aside from the false-positive issue, there’s also the identity theft issue. If I give my driver’s license to someone, what’s to stop them from making a copy? At least MA doesn’t use my SSN on the license anymore, but some states didn’t change that until two years ago, meaning there are an awful lot of licenses out there that still do. Thus, giving your license to someone unnecessarily can *REDUCE* your security. That’s really the big problem.

  143. Fait Accompli says:

    @Pylon83: By writing “See I.D.” you are incorporating your signature by reference. This is a commonly accepted, and legal, practice. (NOTE: If the signature on the back of the card was required to execute the contract between the cardholder and creditor, then incorporation by reference would fail. Here, however, the use of the card is what indicates acceptance of the cardholder’s agreement, and the signatur merely provides a method to ID the authorized user.)

  144. Pylon83 says:

    @Fait Accompli:
    Have you read the back of your card? It specifically says “Not valid unless signed”. Unless your name is “See ID”, the card is not valid.

  145. Fait Accompli says:

    @Buran: While it is true that anyone can file a claim of any sort in civil court, saying that you can “sue for anything you want in civil court” greatly simplifies the matter.

    Certainly there is no initial gatekeeper to read your claim before you pay your filing fee, but if your suit is frivolous, it will likely be dismissed quickly and you may be on the hook for sanctions for the opposing party’s fees and costs. (NOTE: “frivolous” has a very specific meaning defined by staute and case law.)

    In my opinion, most cases deemed frivolous by the pulic (as opposed to by a judge) are either (a) mistated in the press, (b) works of fiction, or (c) close legal calls with one side supporting a morally unpopular right or claim.

  146. Fait Accompli says:

    @Pylon83: The T&C will control here, which, to a fault, state that the card is valid upon use. Of course now you have a”chicken and egg” problem: if the card is not signed, can it be validly used? Well, Visa answers this question for us, as pointed out earlier, with its policy acknowldging that a card can be valid if not signed, so long as the merchant asks for ID to ensure that the user is authorized.

    Seems to me that the “Not Valid Unless Signed” ‘clause” is waived, and the only remaining purpose of the signature on the card is to confirm identity. However even that is dubious, because as you point out, in many instances ID cannot be required. Further, as someone else pointed out, by the time your signature is on the receipt (for which its primary purpose is to act as an agreement to pay), the transaction has already gone through. While of course the transaction can be undone, human nature and minimum wage tell me the liklihood is low.

  147. jaya9581 says:

    I happen to have 2 licenses, one from my native MA and a new one I got here in CA. They just punch out the expiration date of your old license and you get to keep it. I used blank labels to cover up the vital info on my MA license, leaving only the picture, date of birth and signature uncovered. I’ve (so far) never had anyone question it.

    Unfortunately, I’ve also never had anyone question the difference in last names on my cards: My license (both) have my maiden name, while my bank and credit cards have my married name. Maybe once in every 500 transactions do I have a clerk question the name difference. I actually got into an argument with a stupid clerk at Fry’s: I balked at presenting ID to use my bank VISA card, but unfortunately I needed what I was purchasing, so I eventually showed it. She then accepted the card and went on to say “It’s just for your protection.” I retorted “If that were so, you would have questioned the fact that the last name on my license is different from the last name on my card.” Her: “Yeah, but the first name is the same.” Me: “… My first name is Jessica. It’s one of the most popular names in the country. I’m not the only one.” Her: “The picture on your license is you and the first names match.” Me: stunned silence. I shook my head and looked at my mother, who was shopping with me, and said “I can’t believe how stupid some people are.” I signed my receipt and left.

  148. Pylon83 says:

    @Fait Accompli:
    I think the exception in the rules for those who don’t “sign” the card is a carefully crafted loophole to allow the merchant to complete the transaction, rather than pissing off the customer by saying the card is invalid. However, that provision specifically states the card is invalid if not signed. So, it would seem that they are effectively allowing an invalid card to be used. I’m not sure that the card is “valid” from a technical standpoint, it is simply usable, which is a bit of a paradox.

  149. StevieD says:


    Well done.

    Yep merchants have the right to refuse service to anybody.

    And it works.

    Actually what works better is servicing customers out of sequence. Be a jerk and you get to go to the back of the line while adult customers that flash their photo ID rapidly checkout their purchases.

    When the clerk finally has time to make the Code 10 telephone, the jerk of the customer might be processed. Might is the key word. Every Code 10 call that I have placed has resulted in the customer being told to take their fraudulent arse to some place else.

  150. viviennet says:

    “Hey, are you English? Most of them don’t care about privacy.”

    uhm, where on earth did you get that preposterous idea?

  151. Pylon83 says:

    That’s a great way to keep customers. If you pulled that with me, I’d drop whatever I was about to buy on the floor and walk out. That’s a terrible business practice.

  152. Parting says:

    I just give merchants local IRS number, instead of mine ***evil laugh***

  153. Buran says:

    @nickripley: Uh, where the hell did that come from?

  154. Buran says:

    @FLConsumer: Goody for you. You aren’t me, you weren’t there, it was hell. So I’m automatically suspect of lying because YOUR experience was different from mine? HA. I so needed that. Not.

  155. Buran says:

    @vanilla-fro: Because some people (not singling out the original post you responded to) are selfish and think that just because they don’t want to be inconvenienced, the rest of us can go to hell even though there are those of us who have been harmed by that attitude. It’s the “fuck everyone else but me” attitude that is rampant in today’s society.

  156. Pylon83 says:

    We clearly disagree entirely on this issue, but I think you are entirely off-base with that last comment. Maybe it’s just time we put this one to bed, as rationality (for everyone) seems to be on its way out the window.

  157. trollkiller says:

    @Pylon83: Don’t worry I closed the window.

  158. Jay Levitt says:


    You say that you don’t care if Visa enforces the requirement or not. I’m not sure what that means – that you don’t actually care if you have to show ID, as long as you know that the merchant was breaking their agreement (but won’t be punished for it)?

    As for Amex, it’s a good argument, only it’s missing a few pieces:

    1. First you’d have to get the store to stop requiring ID on both Mastercard and Visa purchases, which would mean (a) reporting them to MC (should be easy, and apparently they do take action), and (b) reporting them to Visa (which will be hard because they don’t have a process for it and don’t actually care).

    2. Then, a few months later, you’d need to go back and see them saying “ID required with Amex purchases”.

    3. Then you’d have to call Amex customer service and explain that, despite the fact that Amex (according to the rep I spoke to) considers this a *good* practice, it’s not only a bad one but in violation of their anti-card-discrimination contract with the merchant.

    4. And then you’d have to convince them to drop a merchant when they already have a tough time keeping merchants due to their fees.

    If you can actually get to that point, then yes, you’ve won.

    Me, I got stuck at 1(b) and a precursor to 3.

  159. Jay Levitt says:

    Also, I really think we need an equivalent of Godwin’s law for bringing up the McDonalds coffee lawsuit in a lawsuit thread.

  160. TBT says:

    I don’t have a problem with showing my ID with my credit cards in general, but even legit demands for ID can be creepy. At a gas station near my house, I was asked for ID when purchasing cigarettes (yes, I know, ew) and the clerk made a big show of memorizing my home address and birthday. He subsequently made sexual comments to me on several visits.

    After I spoke to his boss about it, she revealed that he had not only done the same thing to her (obviously he knew she was old enough to buy cigs), but had actually driven to her address to find out where it was. Her house can’t be seen from the road, and he commented on the paint color.

    Obviously, the solution was not to patronize that place until they fired him (which they did, based largely on my complaints). The problem with that is, he legitimately asked for my ID, and memorized my address…so now the guy I had fired for sexually harassing me knows where I live. Totally creepy. I have since moved, and now have a P.O. Box on my license, so that won’t happen again, but that causes serious hassle with the credit card companies. Argh!!

    Basically I guess my point is, any time someone takes your ID, you have no idea what they are doing with the info. Anyone can memorize your address for the few minutes until you walk away and they can write it down. This thread really got me thinking…

  161. Ben Popken says:

    Ray J. says:

    Basically, just like the title of the post says, stores can’t force me to show my ID with my credit card. I know that there are people out there who like it when they get their ID checked. I am not one of those people. I am not even going to debate the issue with them. I respect that they feel that way, but I do not agree with them. When I am asked to show ID I ask the clerk, cashier, waitress why he or she needs to see my ID and tell I them that I am reporting it. Again, I am not about to debate it with them. They simply don’t need to see my ID card to accept my credit card. Simple. As. That. MasterCard even has a handy web form for reporting merchant violations at [] I have used this form several times to report merchants that have asked me for my ID. And to the chuckleheads who say that they would refuse my purchase if I refused to show ID on the basis of “acting suspicious” or that they have the “right to refuse service to anyone” you just earned yourself another check on my report to MasterCard. One for “The merchant/retailer required identification” and one for “A merchant/retailer displaying the MasterCard decal in their window refused to accept my MasterCard card”

  162. trollkiller says:

    Like I said earlier the phone call from the credit card company goes like this.

    them: we received a complaint that you refused a sale because the customer did not show ID

    me: he acted odd so I declined the sale

    them: ok, thank you for your time, have a good day

    Me: you have a good day too, bye.

    End of story.

  163. ladynurse says:

    i have no problem showing my drivers license when i use a credit card. if more stores asked maybe they wouldn’t have lost over $600 when my cards were stolen and the thief didn’t even spell my name right when they forged my name.

  164. Ressly says:

    ID can be required in California: Even though Visa’s rules say that merchants cannot refuse transactions if a cardholder refuses to provide ID, CA state law does allow merchants to require it (from CA Civil Code section 1747.08):

    “This section does not prohibit any person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation from requiring the cardholder, as a condition to accepting the credit card as payment in full or in part for goods or services, to provide reasonable forms of positive identification, which may include a driver’s license or a California state identification card, or where one of these is not available, another form of photo identification, provided that none of the information contained thereon is written or recorded on the credit card transaction form or otherwise.”

  165. travelinlibrarian says:

    I just tried refusing over the weekend and was successful at a Borders Books Cafe. Story @ []

  166. flybyposter says:

    being in retail I always wonder at the responses I get for asking for ID. 10% of the time the person thanks me, 10% of customers get huffy, and the rest just show it and get on with their lives.

    I ask if something doesn’t seem right, but 95% of the time its because somebody put “CID” (or etc) on the sig strip.

    I cant memorize your info in the 3 seconds spent matching the name to the card and making sure the picture looks somewhat like the person in front of me. Seriously, its not a big deal. Show the DL, and get on with your life. If you want it to be anonymous, use cash.

  167. nilbog58 says:

    I also work in retail, where it is our policy to ask for id on all credit card transactions. In the last 10 years, I’ve only had 2 customers ever complain or fuss about having to show an ID. Generally, most people are pleased that I even asked. Personally, I don’t really care if it’s against visa’s rules or not. Visa doesn’t send me a paycheck. My company does. I’m going to follow their rules. I know that by following my company policy, i have saved them from having to eat several high dollar amount purchases. I know this through networking with other retailers and hearing about how they are getting in trouble for taking a card without ID and the customer was the same description as who tried to make a purchase at my store. At the mall, these cashiers are doing their job to prevent a loss to the company. Don’t shop there if you don’t like it.

  168. Anonymous says:

    Used Discover at Home Depot and was refused sale completion w/out ID. I complained to Discover and was told that store policy can over ride my right to privacy even tho the card is clearly signed. Strange since they have automated check-out, which brings up the question: If I chek myself out, am I required to show myself my driver’s license?

    I will no longer be shopping at Home Depot and if this is Discover’s policy then VISA here I come.

  169. vdoncu1 says:

    I hate to show my ID to anyone. Why would you let someone violate little privacy that you have left if the LAW is on your side on this issue???
    I hate when clerk tells me its for my protection.
    Im fully protected by credit card issuer. If anyone uses my card without my authorization the bank will refund all the money that was taken.
    Why give extra rights or information to clerks and corporations???
    Private information sold and resold everyday between corporations. They study your shopping patterns and everything about you. DL number opens up a lot of doors.
    In the airport you get searched and you pay for it.
    Look back just 10 years back, all those changes all those fees. Everyone wants to look into you.
    If anyone know where I can report those stores and clerks please let me know. (visa911 is not helpful)