Apple Demands ID With Credit Card Purchases, Violates Merchant Agreement

We received the following strangely awesome, if a bit strange, letter from a consumer who was not allowed to purchase something at the Apple store because he would not show ID. It was sent to Steve Jobs and William Rhodes (of Citibank.) Let’s listen in:

Mr Jobs, and Mr Rhodes,

The Merchant, Apple Inc., at Stonestown Galleria Required California ID as a condition to accepting my Credit Card as payment.

From previous experiences, I have learned that many occasions have occurred where the consumer’s identity becomes compromised because merchant’s ask for ID and the unknowing consumer gives his ID, which includes his home address and DL#. That is why Merchant’s such as VISA/MC have policies that protect consumer’s rights. If your Credit Card is signed it is valid, and the Merchant must not require customer’s to provide ID as a condition of purchase. My Concern is my personal security and other’s that shop at Apple Store.

Cardholder ID
Although Visa rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID, merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID . Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures. Laws in several states also make it illegal for merchants to write a cardholder’s personal information, such as an address or phone number, on a sales receipt. P. 29, Visa Merchant Card Acceptance Policy

I gave the merchant at 3251 20th Avenue, Space 235, San Francisco, Ca, 94132 both my Citibank Visa and Citibank Mastercard and the merchant refused to accept them both as payment because I refused to provide them with my Driver’s License. Also from previous experience I know that they record your DL# for every Credit Card transaction. Why does Starbucks and other retailers train their employee’s not to ask for ID and Apple Inc has entire stores who don’t know what a merchant policy is?

The reason that I provided both my Mastercard and VISA is because they both have similar policies, and Mastercard even has a webpage to submit policy obstructions to.

I entered the store and proceeded to an employee to make my purchase, the employee asks for ID and because I was in a hurry I showed him my University ID so I could get done with it. In and out. Well he says sorry I need to see California ID, and I responded, “I am sorry you are not getting that, My Mastercard is signed and that is all you need.” He said he couldn’t process my transaction so I gave him my VISA card and he still said no. I asked him for his manager because I was sure that Apple Inc., informs their Sales Manager’s about Merchant policies and laws. Well Paul [redacted] comes back and isn’t any help and tells me that he won’t accept my cards with out proper identification for my security and protection. I tell him I’m doing fine and my cards are signed and verified. He can call the bank if he wants to verify anything. He doesn’t process my transaction and I take his information.

When you buy online, or visit a restaurant.. A big sign for ID verification isn’t showing up anywhere because of merchant agreements. The fact that he didn’t take his time to show me some corporate policy on this and just let me leave unsatisfied after he gave me his business card was very disappointing. Many companies either don’t have written ID Request policies or have written policies that employee’s must not require ID or ask for ID at POS. The fact that I know they record DL#s on the little hand held they have for every credit card transaction made me wonder if everyone else knew they were willingly handing over their personal information. I like to use my Credit Card for all the transactions I do because of the protection I get from Citibank, Sure I had cash but that is beyond my purpose.

I called 1-800-VISA-911 immediately and they forwarded me to my card issuer. After the run around Citibank told me to first to call Visa, that the merchant had the right to refuse my card, and then they finally escalated me because I wanted an explanation as to why they didn’t want my business. Finally a Rep (Roxanne), said she would highlight my agreement in the correct places so I could see that the merchant could reject my cards. Wow, UNBELIEVABLE! Prior experiences with Citibank will leave me waiting for that response indefinitely, especially because I know what the merchant agreement says.

California Civil Code 1747.08 States that the merchant isn’t prohibited from asking for ID by law, which bluntly says CA doesn’t care if they ask/don’t ask for ID, as long as they follow certain guidelines if they do. Unfortunately these merchant’s are in Agreement’s with VISA/MC not to ask for ID. Also this Merchant periodically takes down individuals DL# with every CC transaction at their locations. They broke the merchant policy and were going to break the California civil code for every transaction in the store that is taking place with a credit card.

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), no person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation that accepts credit cards for the transaction of business shall do any of the following:

(1) Request, or require as a condition to accepting the credit card as payment in full or in part for goods or services, the cardholder to write any personal identification information upon the credit card transaction form or otherwise.
(b ) For purposes of this section “personal identification information,” means information concerning the cardholder, other than information set forth on the credit card, and including, but not limited to, the cardholder’s address and telephone number.
(d) 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. If the cardholder pays for the transaction with a credit card number and does not make the credit card available upon request to verify the number, the cardholder’s driver’s license number or identification card number may be recorded on the credit card transaction form or otherwise.
(e) Any person who violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for the first violation and one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each subsequent violation, to be assessed and collected in a civil action brought by the person paying with a credit card, by the Attorney General, or by the district attorney or city attorney of the county or city in which the violation occurred. However, no civil penalty shall be assessed for a violation of this section if the defendant shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error made notwithstanding the defendant’s maintenance of procedures reasonably adopted to avoid that error. When collected, the civil penalty shall be payable, as appropriate, to the person paying with a credit card who brought the action, or to the general fund of whichever governmental entity brought the action to assess the civil penalty.

I would like to bring to the merchant’s, card issuer’s, network managers, and fellow consumer’s attention that rules and regulations to protect the consumer’s are not being executed at the reported Apple Store, and at many merchants across the U.S., and that many bank Customer Service Reps, not limited to Citibank, do not have the correct procedure or knowledge on handle these incidents of privacy. I would like to request that some communication is made with the location mentioned to make sure they don’t ask for ID. I really need to buy something.

Thank you,


This letter sorta makes us happy. Are Apple stores really recording information in violation of California law? Anyone?

MasterCard Merchant Manual (PDF) [Mastercard]
Paying by Credit Card or Check: What Can Merchants Ask? [Privacy Rights Clearinghouse]


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    So, the issue is not asking for the ID, but copying down the info from it, right? Personally, I would rather know that merchants required an ID for credit card purchases, that way if my card is stolen, it’s harder for somebody to buy things with it.

  2. charlah says:

    I don’t know, it looks like a lot of drama over something minor. Sure, there is some risk in showing your id to a retailer, but isn’t it worth the inconvenience to know that they check to make sure the card belongs to you? And does the author really think that the clerk is going to record all of his personal information in the few seconds in which he sees the id? It seems especially unlikely at a large retailer like Apple.

  3. Falconfire says:

    Never been asked to show ID at Apple Stores in NJ. I suspect its a case by case basis of a manager or employee not knowing he rules as is the case with most of these issues these days.

  4. trinidon2k says:

    Wow….that’s hardcore.

  5. kevcast says:

    I used to work at an Apple Store in both Tucson, AZ and Chicago, IL. I can tell you that, in both places, we were on explicit orders from the management staff not to process credit card transactions without validating with a current state ID or drivers license. In every case we were to state that this was for the customers “safety and protection”.

    Customers would often get mad when refused, but managers would always hold the line on this. In all my experiences, no customer ever invoked the merchant agreement, and we were certainly not told about it by management. I had no idea these terms existed.

  6. zentec says:

    If he had his wallet stolen and the crook went down to the Apple store and bought $10,000 worth of stuff, he’d probably be complaining to Steve Jobs that they *didn’t* adequately check ID.

    The credit card companies put the entire onus for combating fraud upon the merchant. Of course the merchant is going to ask for ID, get over it. I also enjoy the irony that this person is asking Citibank to do something about privacy issues. Puh-lease!

  7. joeblevins says:

    BTW, even though it is in the Merchant Agreement, I would try to get idea if I had a store. The Merchant is screwed when you charge-back. If they had taken a stolen card, as far as I know, they are on the hook for the lost cash.

    Cover themselves. I also wouldn’t give my DL info though.

  8. pigeonpenelope says:

    huh? what? since when did requiring ID violate merchant agreement? now granted i’ve been out of the retail business for a few years now but when i was, i asked for ID with cards. i guess i’m not understanding the danger here. i agree with the California law stating that such info cannot be written down. but a mere glance to ensure that Jane Doe on her Visa card really is Jane Doe is not a bad thing. does someone care to enlighten me as to why asking for ID with a credit card is a bad thing?

  9. hollywood2590 says:

    (d) 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.

    Hmm…weird. Seems like they did nothing wrong. Maybe had he requested that they only use his ID for identity verification and they recorded his data anyway he would have a point, but that isn’t what happened. Hell, his own bank even told him he was wrong.

    This is just the case of a consumer getting all up in arms over something they did wrong. This should be tagged with Bad Consumer.

  10. johnva says:

    @B: Why should you care? It’s not your liability. I would rather minimize the risk of identity theft, since that’s my problem (credit card account theft is NOT the same thing as identity theft, despite the fact that the media and others seem to use the term interchangeably).

  11. tequilajunction says:

    The agreement doesn’t seem to prohibit a merchant from checking ID to verify identity, just from writing down details from that ID.

    What happens if you just show the ID without handing it over – if the merchant starts to write anything down you can stop the transaction. But from what you’ve written, I think that your complaints are a little premature.

  12. Murph1908 says:

    All it takes is remembering the zip code, which is likely the zip code the bill goes to. Then, link it to the credit card # and expiration date, and you can start ordering things over the phone.

  13. Ranyvern says:

    Waiting for someone to start the REAL debate here.. why were you at the apple store! Kidding, but in VA they don’t ask for cards. They don’t even print receipts, they email them. Pretty cool.

  14. Jon Mason says:

    /tangental, but isn’t this what the signature is “supposed” to be for – so they can check your signature against the one on the card and therefore verify your identity. I know in the UK we used to have to check and I have been asked to resign before if I got my signature a little wonky. Since moving to the states have noticed that 99% of the time you get the card back before you even have to sign so they couldnt check it if they wanted to – the complete lack of this basic check used to really annoy me, financial security in the US has definitely been lowered for convenience compared to Europe.

  15. MrsTrish says:

    The fact that merchants are not allowed to ask for ID only results in higher prices for the consumer. The credit card does not eat the “chargebacks” when someone uses a stolen card the merchant does. The merchant then has to raise prices to cover the lost money.

    It is not about protecting the “consumer” its about making the card easy to use, with no real risk to the credit card company.

  16. twoquik says:

    The Apple Store doesn’t capture drivers license numbers on every credit card purchase. ID is used for identity verification only. Any picture ID will do. The store simply wants to make sure that the credit card belongs to the person using it. That seems fairly reasonable and responsible to me.

  17. johnva says:

    @hollywood2590: Maybe they have a “right” to it (I’m certainly not knowledgable enough to know). All I know is that I would rather not give up a DL number if it’s not necessary. I don’t know if the assertions in the letter are correct, but I certainly don’t blame the guy here for not wanting to share this info if not totally necessary.

  18. thirdbase says:

    At least they don’t ask to see your receipt on the way out of the Apple Store. Wow, just think if the Poster bought something reluctantly showed her ID and then they checked her receipt at the door. She would have burned the place down.

  19. johnva says:

    @masonreloaded: Or they are just recognizing that a clerk looking at a signature is a pretty worthless form of identity verification. A lot of people don’t even sign a consistent signature. Store clerks are not handwriting experts.

    Instead, they are just collecting the signatures because they are legal documentation in case the customer performs a chargeback against the merchant.

  20. chiieddy says:

    It’s also possible they couldn’t read the signature on the card (smudged or not clear or maybe didn’t seem to match what the customer signed) or had another reason to suspect the customer might not be who he said he was. If the former, the license has your signature on it which can be used to confirm against what you signed. It’s not like they’re going to write down your address and come over later and leave burning iPods at your door!

  21. brent_w says:

    @B: Thats why you can choose not to sign the back.

    Basically customers have the right to choose either way.

  22. hollywood2590 says:

    @johnva: “but I certainly don’t blame the guy here for not wanting to share this info if not totally necessary.”

    But it was totally necessary. Thats why he walked out of the store without what he wanted and when he reported it to his bank they flat out told him he was wrong. His own information he posted proved him wrong. He’s just flat out wrong in every way. Bad Consumer.

  23. Zode135 says:

    WOW! The author sounds like one annoying customer. Get over it and just give them the ID. You don’t have to make everything so difficult.

  24. johnva says:

    @hollywood2590: Even if he is wrong, he’s still not a “Bad Consumer”. He can still be opposed to their policy of collecting that information. Like I am. I probably wouldn’t write a letter like this, but I wouldn’t like that they take down my DL number.

  25. MissTic says:

    I’m glad merchants ask for ID. It makes me feel better when they actually LOOK at the CC and the signature, ask for ID, look at the picture and then look at me to make sure I’m the right person. However, I always show my ID with my thumb/finger covering up my personal info. They can see my signature and photo and I never hand it over. It stays in my hand. No one has ever written down the number either. I’ve never had anyone push my on this either. I guess I haven’t run into any of these types of merchants yet.

  26. opsomath says:

    I find it intrusive and irritating when I get asked for ID with a credit card purchase, particularly when it’s actually a debit card and I’m entering a PIN. The only time anyone has ever stolen my credit card and used it against my will, it was by hacking a database, retrieving the number, and printing up a phony card that matched their phony ID. So asking for ID didn’t help, and it’s a privacy issue for me. What if I don’t have an ID? I definitely got my first Mastercard check card before I had any form of ID.

  27. cindel says:

    I thought if you have a Visa, you’re not supposed to ask for ID since it violates their agreement.

  28. Amelie says:

    Perhaps it has nothing to do with his credit card, but with Apple wanting to know the identity of who bought certain items. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, if the government soon required purchasers of computers, and other communication devices, to show ID.

    Wasn’t there a story about someone not being able to buy an iphone, without ID?

  29. hubris says:

    @hollywood2590: That’s in the CALIFORNIA code. But the Visa/MasterCard Merchant Agreements say that it can’t be used as to refuse a purchase. So while Cali is sort of saying “whatever you want to do”, the credit card companies are saying it’s a no go.

    As little as I usually care if I’m asked for ID, I can see the issue here. It’s the same as Best Buy/other stores requiring you to show a receipt. Yes, it’s relatively minor, but it’s the little stuff that piles up and results in privacy going the way of the dinosaur.

  30. SchecterShredder says:

    I have the RIGHT not to show my ID if I don’t want to. PERIOD. All you righteous ass do-gooders can go FUCK yourselves.

  31. Amelie says:

    @Zode135: Maybe you need to get over telling people how they should live their lives.

  32. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    If he had his wallet stolen and the crook went down to the Apple store and bought $10,000 worth of stuff, he’d probably be complaining to Steve Jobs that they *didn’t* adequately check ID.

    @zentec: Probably not, since they’re supposed to be checking the signature. Besides, isn’t that the point of using a credit card? You’re only on the hook for $50 if you report fraudulent charges right away.

    And does the author really think that the clerk is going to record all of his personal information in the few seconds in which he sees the id?

    @charlah: He said he knows from experience that they record the DL number which sounds like he’s seen them write it down.

  33. SchecterShredder says:

    @ ZODE135 – My last comment was def. directed @ you first and foremost.

  34. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @brent_w: The card is invalid if it isn’t signed.

  35. johnva says:

    @MissTic: It may make you “feel better”, but it doesn’t actually do very much to protect you. And anyway, it’s not protecting you so much as your credit card company because you aren’t legally liable for fraud on a credit card.

  36. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    But it was totally necessary.

    @hollywood2590: Just because they want something doesn’t make it necessary. The part of the agreement he put in his letter proves that he’s right when he says they shouldn’t be writing down his driver’s license number.

  37. Mike_ says:

    Needs more incorrect apostrophes.

    Mr Job’s, and Mr Rhode’s,


  38. arch05 says:

    Anyone who can’t distinguish between the possessive and the plural in a formal letter needs to be kicked in the face.

  39. RagingBoehner says:

    Didn’t we already have this discussion about 2 months ago?

  40. humphrmi says:

    Why not ask for drivers license information?

    Because 16 states still use SSN numbers as the basis for their DL numbers. []

    Because the other states use a publicly available encoding algorhythm to include personal information (such as your initials, birthdate, etc.) in your DL number.

  41. drmrsthemonarch says:

    Understandably the consumer had the right not to show ID, personally, I would and if they began recording my information, I simply ask for my ID back, simple as that. However, I don’t understand why there’s so much of a fuss. The clerk just asked to be shown a California ID, not to record every piece of information on it. Perhaps, I’m not reading carefully enough, or understanding the entire story.

  42. shad0ws says:

    i don’t recall ever being asked for a DL during Apple Store purchases. … & even if they did, i’m *sure* they didn’t copy down any info from it—i would have noticed/said something about that.

    personally, i don’t see the issue. as others have said, i’d *rather* they at least glance at a form of ID other than my credit card. seems to me that’s a safe way to deter people from using stolen cards. the OP is most concerned about them “copying down information” from the license—but no one said they had to copy anything down, or swipe it, or anything else. a quick glance at the name and photo would be all that’s necessary to protect themselves (and us) from potential fraud.

    … granted, a university ID should be more than enough for that, though. so i see fault on both sides.

  43. arch05 says:

    @humphrmi: Exactly. That’s why I refuse to show my DL at places like Circuit City when I’m making a large cash purchase, because they’re going to use it to run a credit check and spam me.

  44. Landru says:

    It pisses me of when they ask for ID – I think it’s evidence of the further erosion of our society into a police state. I don’t argue with them anymore, so I show them my library card. They look at me funny but so far that’s it.

  45. johnva says:

    @shad0ws: It doesn’t protect you from fraud. You’re already protected. They do this because it protects the merchant from some fraud. But it’s never really to your benefit to show them additional ID since the law already says you aren’t responsible for fraudulent charges.

  46. enm4r says:

    I’ve only thrown a fit about this once, and that was because I was required to show state ID when I was did not have any. I live overseas at the time, and had for years when I was visiting the states. I did not have any state ID, nor a drivers license. When paying with my credit card at a Best Buy both the cashier and a manager could not fathom that this situation could occur, and would not process my transaction. They insisted that I was either 1) lying or 2) trying to commit fraud, and would not budge. Trying to show a military ID did not help either, because it “needs to be from one of the 50 states.” (exact wording, I guess those from DC are out of luck)

    It was a ridiculous situation, and I cited both merchant agreements (I tried the same tactic with Visa and Mastercard) and the fact that I was willing to show a government issued ID. But there are situations where “state” IDs might not be available to show, and should not be required.

  47. I wonder if a properly spelled and punctuated letter would be more effective. Regardless of the merit of the claim, I think something more to the point, phrased better, and with better punctuation and spelling, would probably go a bit further.

  48. B says:

    @brent_w: That doesn’t work though. If somebody then took my card, they could sign the back and use it without getting carded.

  49. Peeved Guy says:

    From OP:

    …because I was in a hurry I showed him my University ID so I could get done with it

    So he did produce some sort of ID, which I assume, if it’s anything like my old college ID, had photo and signature on it? This should have been adequate to prove his identity. This guy looks like you and this signature looks like the one on the receipt. Done deal. Rquiring a state issues id is stupid, IMO.

  50. Michael Belisle says:

    Today, at 9:32 AM, the following comments were posted.

    @MissTic: I’m glad merchants ask for ID.

    @opsomath: I find it intrusive and irritating when I get asked for ID with a credit card purchase.

    Fight! Fight!

  51. shad0ws says:

    @johnva: good point. the more i think about it, the more correct you are.

    … i guess, in my view, we’re just getting a little *too* lenient with credit card purchases in this country. i remember when you had to actually sign a receipt for every purchase, but more & more even THAT’S going away. they just swipe your card & you walk out the door. which, on the whole, makes me feel like i’m trading a lot of security for a little convenience.

    sure, i can dispute any fradulent charges. …. & i’m probably just old fashioned. i realise this. … but i’m still a lot more comfortable when there’s *some* form of accountability at the store level. even if it makes me a tool, i really don’t mind showing my ID when asked.

    (… especially to Apple, of all companies; if you’re a Mac owner or you’ve ever bought from iTunes, they’ve already GOT that info anyway, for chrissakes..)

  52. DeeJayQueue says:

    @masonreloaded: Problem with checking signatures against the one on the card is that 99.99% of systems only give you a chance to sign AFTER the transaction is done. Either the receipt has printed and you have to sign it, or the register is in a state where you can’t back out and change it the transaction once it’s been signed.
    They do this on purpose to keep employees from ringing up people’s credit card transactions and then after they’ve left backing out and ringing a bunch of other stuff up under their card.
    So, by the time you’ve gotten to the point where an employee would check your signature against the one on the card, it’s moot. The employee can’t accuse you of stealing the card and can’t seize the card or the merchandise. I don’t know anyone who would go back and call a manager to post-void a sale because the signature didn’t match.

  53. ManiacDan says:

    “A merchant must not refuse to complete a MasterCard card transaction solely because a cardholder who has complied with the conditions for presentment of a card at the POI refuses to provide additional identification information”

    Visa specifically states that merchants may ask for ID if allowed by law, so complaining to Visa is a lost cause, because, as the OP says, he was wrong on that count. Mastercard, however, does not allow the merchant to refuse the transaction if you refuse to provide ID.

    The California law still stands, what they did was legal, but it violated their civil agreement with Mastercard.

  54. yesteryear says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: actually, that’s not true. i live in california and in the years when i had a credit card, i wrote “SEE ID” on the back, which forced merchants to ask to see my ID. i think this consumer is just bored and has nothing better to do than rag on what is otherwise a great company.

    if you added up all of the identity theft that resulted from apple store employees glancing at your ID to verify your identity and compared it to all of the credit card fraud that occurs when you aren’t asked to verify (which would mean i could just use anyone’s Visa, even someone named John Smith – i’m female)… i have a feeling instances of the latter would be far greater.

    this is a case where the merchant was doing what he believed was the right thing and when the consumer threw a fit and acted like a baby, the merchant wasn’t going to budge. the minute the apple store employee said “I need to see your ID”, this guy probably freaked out. sometimes, being polite goes a long way… especially if you REALLY NEED TO BUY SOMETHING (anyone else find that bit creepy?). also, there are 20 apple stores here in the bay area – go somewhere else. or, you can go to Fry’s and get your computer there if you’re that unhappy.

  55. pibbsman0 says:

    Ugh. People who argue about silly things like this tick me off. Have a nice glass of STFU and go onto your next petty thing to argue about. Next thing you’ll be telling me you don’t want to show your id at the liquor store either, for fear of getting a sales flier in your mail.

    I am always more than happy to show my id, which in fact I write on the back of everyone of my cards, right next to my signature. But I always watch as to what they do with it. Just make sure they dont write any information down from it and you’ll be all set.

  56. pibbsman0 says:

    @yesteryear: Hallelujah Brother! Can I get an amen?

  57. ManiacDan says:

    weird, the top half of my comment was removed. This was supposed to be the whole thing:

    @brent_w: You cannot choose not to sign the back of the card. Look at the back of any of your credit cards and it will say “not valid unless signed.” That means that the card is not valid, not acceptable as a form of payment, unless your signature is on the back. The merchant agreements for Visa and Mastercard both say that you must request the customer actually sign the back of the card before you are allowed to accept them.

    ALso, in addition to the California statute the OP included in his letter, he should have included this quote from the Mastercard merchant rules:
    “A merchant must not refuse to complete a MasterCard card transaction solely because a cardholder who has complied with the conditions for presentment of a card at the POI refuses to provide additional identification information”

    Visa specifically states that merchants may ask for ID if allowed by law, so complaining to Visa is a lost cause, because, as the OP says, he was wrong on that count. Mastercard, however, does not allow the merchant to refuse the transaction if you refuse to provide ID.

    The California law still stands, what they did was legal, but it violated their civil agreement with Mastercard.

    • Fraudbuster says:

      You guys are acting like MasterCard is the good guy in this. Mastercard’s rules are Very crafty in the wording. They take the burden off of them and leave it to the merchant who by the way also has the burden of eating the chargeback. Sorry but I am in the corner of whoever holds the risk in the situation and they logically have the right to do what they have to do to protect themselves.

      Mastercard isn’t losing money, the bank isn’t losing money and the consumer who files the CB isn’t at a loss the merchant is.

      MC and Visa are not law makers, all they do is make rules that make it appear they are in the corner of the buyer but they aren’t I work in the industry trust me they don’t give a shit about the individual consumer. So they make the rules but then charge the merchant a fee to accept the card payment and then take away their ability to fight a chargeback.

      There was a time when a receipt and signature that matched the signature on the card was enough to fight a CB. Not anymore. So the MC rule means nothing as long as the we refuse the right to refuse service rule applies and you who think MC rules over ride that don’t get how companies work.

  58. TheUncleBob says:

    @SchecterShredder: And a store has a right to refuse to do business with you. :)

    @brent_w: Not signing your credit card isn’t really an option. Many cards state right on the back “Not valid unless signed” (go ahead, check!). Second, if you don’t sign your card and it’s lost or stolen, whomever the lucky person who finds it is can “sign” the back of the card (with your name, of course). Then, when they go to buy stuff, their “signature” will always match..

    Oh, and before anyone suggests putting “Check ID” or “CID” on the back of the card – don’t. It’s not a signature, thus the card isn’t valid either.

  59. y2julio says:

    @yesteryear: You are in violation of your agreement with your card issuer. SEE ID is NOT a valid signature. You NEED to have your SIGNATURE on the signature box, not SEE ID.

  60. yesteryear says:

    @TheUncleBob: My card said SEE ID on the back for years and worked just fine. Seems to me this is a safer option – I’d rather not have the person who steals my wallet have an image of my signature to copy for signing other documents, like, uhh…future credit card applications. also, someone mentioned that a university ID should be valid — i don’t think so. do you remember that 19 year old kid who issued your college ID? was he really verifying your identity with your social security card or other identification? i could have had my college ID issued to Molly McButter if i’d asked.

  61. yesteryear says:

    @y2julio: i’m in violation of my agreement? what?! gotta go write a letter of complaint to visa – look for it on consumerist tomorrow!

  62. darkened says:

    @yesteryear: No, you’re wrong. Writing SEE ID on your credit card actually INVALIDATES IT unless SEE ID is your signature. If you choose to sign stuff as SEE ID then by all means go for it. But as it has been stated numerous times in this all major credit cards have policies for not limiting a sale solely due to refusal to produce ID (excluding items like alcohol etc). Writing SEE ID does not give the merchant the right to require your ID. Technically they should decline the transaction immediately.

    The only time a merchant can REQUIRE an id for a sale is if the card is unsigned, the merchant is then to request your id and have you sign the card in their presence.

  63. TheUncleBob says:

    @yesteryear: If the person stole your wallet, they probably have your Driver’s License, which probably has your signature on it anyway.

    I’m not saying that you can’t write “Check ID” or “See ID” on the back of your card and get by with it. I’m just saying a merchant has the right to refuse such a card.

  64. Michael Belisle says:

    @johnva: If the merchant would train its sales people to follow Visa’s procedures (which includes simple things like
    1) requiring a card-present transaction,
    2) imprinting the card if it was keyed in, and
    3) checking the first letters of the first and last name in the signature),
    they’d be protected from fraud without violating the customer’s privacy. It’s laziness.

    The merchant agreement is a good read. It’s like a manual in customer service.

  65. Michael Belisle says:

    @yesteryear: Did you know that the merchant agreement says that the merchant is to check your ID and then force you to sign it in their presence? It specifically says “See ID” is not a valid signature.

  66. ProjectGSX says:

    This is news to me. I’ve always thought retailers were supposed to ask for ID.

  67. yesteryear says:

    well since i’m not a CSR for visa, or a retail employee, i guess i’m not an expert on this matter… i just know that i’ve been able to make numerous purchases with a credit card and a visa check card that say ‘SEE ID’ on the back.

    hmm… looks like i’m going to be writing a lot of complaint letters over the next few days. now i’m angry about the fact that the merchants DIDN’T refuse me.

  68. y2julio says:

    @yesteryear: Check the commenter below you.

  69. dvddesign says:

    When I worked in retail in college, I always asked people for ID. You have no idea if someone’s commiting credit card fraud. Anyone that complains about showing their ID obviously has never been a victim of identity theft. And likely never pondered the ultimate problems that could arise should they lose their card.

    This guy is just being a jerk. Anyone that supports this is being overly paranoid. If you’re going to go make major purchases at retail with your credit card, showing your ID to a store manager is not that big of a deal. At that point, if you feel your rights have been violated somehow, start shopping online and get over yourself.

  70. jamesmusik says:

    I’ve accepted long ago that it is a lost cause trying to get merchants to follow the merchant agreement. Major companies around the country check ID as a matter of policy and Visa and Mastercard aren’t going to revoke their agreements with them over a few complaints. The same goes for requiring minimum purchases. I reported a merchant near my work at least 10 times for violating the merchant agreement and requiring minimum purchases. If Mastercard ever did anything about it, the merchant never changed the policy.

  71. Zode135 says:

    @SchecterShredder: You do have the RIGHT to not show your ID. And the sales person has the RIGHT to not take your card, and I have the RIGHT to tell you that your making a BIG DEAL out of nothing.

  72. snoop-blog says:

    i’ve never been asked for my id when using my card. what’s the point anyway? if i wanted to let someone else use my card i can. it’s not illegal. it’s not stolen, i know who has it and they have my permission to use it. this happens all the time with couples. my fiance’s id isn’t going to prove the card is or is not stolen so what’s the point?

  73. Michael Belisle says:

    @dvddesign: Online? Where you have less privacy?

  74. azntg says:

    Truth be told, I really love hearing from people that say: “I like the idea of checking ID during credit card purchases because it protects me” or something along those lines.

    Unfortunately, it’s a false sense of protection.

    1) Visa and Mastercard CHOSE to use signatures as verification, despite flaws with that methodology.

    Besides, you can tell if a signature is really that person’s or not. Trust me, my signature will never match that of my professors or my father’s if you take a quick casual inspection.

    2) On most merchant agreements (I believe merchants that do “debit cards only transactions” are the only ones exempt from this), it is forbidden to ask for ID as a condition to make a credit card purchase. The only other exception to this is if your purchases are items that require your identification by state law (e.g.: cigarettes, liquor, etc.)

    3) If a card is indeed stolen, you should contact your issuer ASAP. However, Visa, MC, Amex, Discover all have a $0 liability for the consumer. So, the thief can run up to a billion dollars and you still won’t pay a cent if you take the appropriate steps.

    Even the merchants will get paid as well if they have followed the procedures outlined in the merchant’s agreement! Heck, you have a bigger chance of losing the money from a chargeback rather than from the usage of a stolen credit card if all steps have been taken correctly.

    4) Just because somebody is a cashier or clerk doesn’t necessarily make them trustworthy. The State ID has everything necessary for ID Theft… even moreso if your state still uses your SSN as the ID number!

    While I try my best to retain the trust of many people I work with, I can tell you that I can memorize your name and the ID number when you flash me your Uni. ID card. But a strategically placed camera can be even better.

    Here are the phone numbers to report instances of ID violations:

    Visa: 1-800-VISA-911
    Mastercard: 1-800-300-3069

    • Fraudbuster says:

      You are wrong, the merchant accepts the the loss the merchant always takes the loss in a chargeback EXCEPT if they have overwhelming evidence that the consumer did the transaction and is lying with the unauth claim. That is the loophole. If they cannot prove that the cardholder did the did it they lose it. Period. So you are wrong they eat the loss. They call it the cost of doing business. So if 1% of the card holder population refuses to show ID and satisfy the employees that they are the real person to a fairly high certainty, they are more than willing to eat the loss of the sale.

      And no one in their right mind would deny them. No one who thinks about this for more than 10 seconds as an adult would say someone doesn’t have a right to protect themselves from being a victim of a crime. And I can tell by reading these posts there are some youngin anti corporate types here. Well good luck getting a PC so you can post your rants without em.

      Nothing is worse than people who read contracts written by lawyers with loopholes galore and think they are experts. I testify in the cases all the time. I know the rules from the inside I write the risk profiles. I know how it works. The anger should be directed at the scumbag stealing the cards.

  75. opsomath says:

    I shouldn’t write long posts. I think the most important thing to realize is this:

    Them checking your ID doesn’t help. The baddies who stole my card had an ID that matched it. Fake name, fake card, fake ID.

    All checking ID does is aid the store in gathering information on you, and inconvenience people who prefer to live a little more off the grid.

  76. xamarshahx says:

    they SHOULD ask for id, thats how they protect you, so that one no asshole can take ur card and use it.

  77. Zode135 says:

    @zouxou: I am over it. Maybe I am just a asshole because I have worked in customer service and know how KNOW IT ALL customers are pricks. It’s really up to the sales person if they want to use the card with no ID. If it was me I would have processed the transaction, but the person was probably being a smart ass jerk. Friendliness goes a LONG way. Do you really think that the sales person cares if Apple sells one more iPod? They don’t.

  78. Erasmus Darwin says:

    @yesteryear: It may have worked, but the merchants who accepted it weren’t following policy.

    Visa policy is that, if the card isn’t signed, the merchant must check the person’s ID and have them sign the card right there. The transaction can then proceed as normal. (As a side-note, this is the only time that merchants may require ID to complete the transaction. In any other case, your signature is considered your proof of ID.)

  79. azntg says:

    @azntg: I forgot to add. Reporting instances of ID violations will result in the merchant getting a warning. And eventually a pretty hefty fine if the trail continues.

    Clerks, if you really want to check anything for your and our protection, CHECK THE DAMN SIGNATURE! Despite flaws, there is a clear night and day difference between different people. Also, it’s somewhat more difficult to forge signatures on the spot, than premeditatively preparing and forging IDs in advance.

  80. TheUncleBob says:

    Question for those who know…

    Wal*Mart stores have customers sign the PIN Pad when they swipe their card. Not only does the cashier never see the card, but they typically never see the signature either.

    How does this work?

  81. arch05 says:

    People are confused as to what’s a right and what’s a privilege.

  82. katylostherart says:

    they did this to me too. i was ok with it for christmas because i do understand that yeah, busy shopping season, be more careful. however, when they did it three weeks ago when i went to purchase an ipod i was a little more worried. i try to use cash for everything besides groceries and gas anyway.

  83. amejr999 says:

    1. This letter is way, way, way too long.
    2. Apple isn’t violating any laws. They are violating their merchant agreement with Visa and Mastercard. Perhaps it would be useful to point them to that agreement, which is online.

  84. bkraus says:

    Apple DOES NOT record the DL# on the handhelds, the DL# is only for checks. You need to chill out.

  85. dugn says:

    Can we start a new article classification on Consumerist? Perhaps “RTFM”, “Rights vs. Privileges” or “Consumers Being Stupid?”

    Or perhaps “Why We Rejected Your Silly Entitlement Post” – and let the commenters go wild on the poor, ignorant sap.

  86. redhelix says:

    What the hell. I write “See ID” on the back of my credit cards. Signature verification is a formality, not a security measure.

  87. Nick says:

    Ideally, stores would live up to the merchant agreement and not REQUIRE ID for purchases; if individual card holders want to waste their time with the ID checking nonsense, then put a giant pink sticker on the back of the card that says SEE ID (but also sign the card, because it’s not valid otherwise).

    I get especially pissed off about being forced to show ID because I have a photo and signature imprinted on the front of my card. I now regularly report every single store that requires ID via MasterCard’s online form.

  88. BrianH says:

    As Amejr999 said, this rambling, meandering letter is way too long. If you want to get the attention of an exec (or his/her assistant), get to the point. Less is more.

  89. snoop-blog says:

    it’s not illegal to use someone else’s card people. if you gave your card to your 12 year old kid, he can still use it. parents do this all the freakin time! your id could have all the wrong info, doesn’t meant you stole the card. and not too many 12 year olds carry id. asking for id doesn’t acomplish anything, unless you set out to be a douche, who only wanted to be mr. dick and refuse you a sale, even though it would benefit the company that employs me in more ways than one. if the card is stolen, it wouldn’t matter who’s id you had. even if your information matches your id, it would still be stolen and just look like your id was bs.

  90. pibbsman0 says:

    Anyone who complains about wanting to live “off the grid” and has a credit card or a computer needs to be shot. Period.

  91. Michael Belisle says:

    1. See my response to 2.
    2. See “Letter to Mr. Jobs and Mr. Rhodes”, above, paragraph 3 (quote from page 29 of Visa Merchant Agreement). Perhaps it would be useful to at least skim the letter before knocking it.

  92. armour says:

    Please what dose asking for ID really does? Most of these people working a cash register can’t tell a fake credit card you think they would really notice a fake ID to go with it? If some one is savvy enough to capture and recreate credit cards you don’t think they can make fake ID to go with it? How many news reports are there of some ring being busted with fake bank and credit cards also report they had a large number of fake ID’s as well.

    The issue here is you give them your ID with your real information and you now stopped potential for Credit card fraud happing to you but now are at risk for Identity theft. I don’t know about you but witch one holds more risk? a few thousand dollars on a credit card or a mortgage that’s been taken out in your name for 6 figures?

    People are so quick to give in to stop a small risk that they are clueless that they open them selves to a larger one by doing so

  93. redhelix says:

    @armour: The idea isn’t to deter a person who knows their way around identify theft. Rather, requiring ID for a credit card can prevent some shmuck with a stolen wallet from buying 6 iPods. You can read about (the grossly inflated amounts of) identify theft that goes on in the world annually, but a large chunk of credit card fraud is just using someone elses card and forging their name.

    If you want to talk about stuff cashiers don’t pay attention to, it’s the *signature,* not the ID.

  94. wesa says:

    This guy probably also throws a fit when stores check his receipt too.

  95. redhelix says:

    And I see what you’re saying about opening yourself to a larger risk by showing someone your state ID/license, but by that logic you should be equally afraid of buying cigarettes or alcohol and showing proof of age. A cursory glance at your drivers license at a cash register isn’t going to open you up to identity theft. When they RECORD your license number, then it becomes a problem.

  96. ju_ju_eyeball says:

    All my creditcards say SEE ID on the back, and most merchants actually do. We have to do something about Identity Theft and credit card fraud, because the credit card companies are going to do NOTHING to stop it and pass the cost on to YOU.

  97. GearheadGeek says:

    @enm4r: Nice… while it sounds like this was long ago, it’s too bad you didn’t take the opportunity to contact the local nightly-news “watchdog” for a little public shaming of companies that refuse to do business with our military personnel. I’ll warrant that a military ID is more likely to be genuine than a “state ID” someone might present.

    20 years ago I was visiting a friend in MA and we went to a bar. They were checking IDs on the way in and the doorman initially refused me entry because I had a Texas driver’s license. I asked why that was a problem and he asked why I didn’t have a MA license, to which I responded “Well, I live in TX and I’m here for a week. Do you think MA would issue me a license for a week?” The doorman blinked and decided it was less trouble to let me in. My friend (originally from NY) said I’d make a better New Yorker than he does because I’m a natural at being a schmuck. :)

  98. shadow735 says:

    I always thought you had to give ID if asked, also dont they ask for your drivers license if you cash a check?

  99. parabola101 says:

    I have had purchase issues with the APPLE store in King of Prussia, PA. Asking for ID is only one of them. When 3 family members attempted to purchase 3 new macbook pros the store manager refused to sell them to us. Apparently, when the clerk asked me what i would do with my old mac laptop, I told him I would recycle it to a family member or sell it. I have a large family and have to update my technology frequently for professional reasons! From this he decided that we were somehow unworthy of getting new macs. The store manager also backed him up?! We left the store IN SHOCK and WITHOUT 3 new macbook pros.

  100. weave says:

    I’ve purchased stuff from the Delaware Apple store around half a dozen times in past few months and have ALWAYS been asked for my ID. They don’t copy any of it down though. And fortunately for me my home address and credit card billing address are different so the zip code memorization concern isn’t an issue!

  101. snoop-blog says:

    @ju_ju_eyeball: i hate to pee on your parade, but your just lucky the average clerk doesn’t know the laws. as a previous commenter mentioned, and i was trained the same way by a hotel i worked at, if i seen your card, technically, i’m supposed to make you sign it right there. but i do NOT have to see your id just because you wrote it on your card. personally to avoid being a dick, i just accepted your card without your id. if you asked why i didn’t ask for it when you wrote it on your card, i then would proceed to explain the merchant rules, and that they could call their card company to verify that i’m not just full of it. no one called. if you do, first realize they want you to sign the damn card, and are not going to sympathize with you.

  102. howiedi2 says:

    I worked at one of the Apple stores for over 4 years and, we adhered to the same rule. What’s so bad about showing your I.D.? No one writes down the information. We just wanted to make sure that the actual, authorized card holder was using the card. We never had time to memorize or write anything down. We never cared about crap like that. We just didn’t want that purchase to be charged off or returned because of fraud. This guy needs to get a life and stop thinking of himself as so important that merchants want to violate his privacy. The first time he loses one of his credit cards and someone uses it at a store where this policy isn’t enforced and charges thousands of dollars, he’ll sing a different tune. I’ve had that happen and, it’s not fun.

  103. Dorgon says:

    1. This guy did show ID, he just didn’t show official California ID. He knew the rules and followed them. Good for him!

    2. His grammar and punctuation are terrible! PLEASE, if you are writing a letter to multiple CEOs, have a friend who knows how to use commas and apostrophes read the letter. It will be taken more seriously.

    3. Consumerist needs to get like their Gawker brother Kotaku and have a ban hammer.

  104. inkdracula says:

    I used to work at CompUSA. Yes, I know, A hellhole. Anyways, We were required to ask for a photo ID, it could be anything, not a driver’s license, for any purchase over $200. If we had a chargeback because of a card being stolen the store takes the direct hit, and it goes into the loss prevention category. Now, I don’t know if this is like this at all stores, but it shows up as theft. That’s why most *smart* stores do this.

  105. Typhoid says:

    When I worked at Apple, they told us in NO uncertain terms that we had to check for ID on every single CC purchase- that our jobs depended on it. Then when someone refused, the manager would breeze over, and claim that the register jockey just was a jerk or didn’t understand the rules. Being the fall guy was so awesome.

    Though passports and military ID’s are valid forms of identification, so we always accepted those. However many people from overseas would not have any kind of “valid” ID with them.

    The thing you should REALLY be upset about is the fact that Apple wants to tie your product’s serial number to your name/number/email/address for every serialized purchase- even if made with cash. When I worked there, you couldn’t even bypass the screen without inputting something. That’s one of the reasons why they wanted your ID’s- to get your address. I hope that’s changed. Yet furthermore, when something is reported stolen they refuse to help (ie call Apple to report a serial number stolen).

    Although the letter is obnoxious in comparing a cup of coffee to someone buying 2 computers and an iPod.

  106. dandyrandy says:

    I worked at an Apple store over the holidays, when they were limiting iPhone purchases to two per credit card. Everytime someone came in to buy an iPhone, their credit card was ostensibly compared to a list of credit cards numbers that had been previously used to buy iPhones.

    I think the merchant agreement stipulates that the card number be discarded after the transaction is completed (or some similar language). Obviously Apple was creating a database with them instead, and no one seemed to be concerned about the privacy risk.

    • Fraudbuster says:

      No the card number and expiry date is kept the CVV or CVN has to be discarded. The card is sticky and has to be in the db for yrs as part of record keeping laws.

  107. I worked at an apple retail store in CT and we were required to ask for photo ID with EVERY CC transaction (even if it was for an iPod case or other small item). It annoyed some people, but most people shrugged it off or were happy at the fact that we verified their identity with the CC being used

  108. nightshade74 says:


    “Although Visa Rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID, merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID. Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures.”


    Visa (with the cute ¨Smarter Money¨ commercials BTW) doesn’t
    let it be a condition of sale. The only exception is if
    you would ask for ID on a cash purchase IE age restricted product.

    If the merchant doesnt like the policy — they shouldnt accept
    credit cards.

    See ID does violate the policy (see above link pg 28)
    but most merchants arent going to press the issue.

  109. WhirlyBird says:

    Visa doesn’t care. After reading similar articles here, I tried this out while doing my Xmas shopping. Without fail, *every single retailer* required my ID before they would allow me to purchase using my Visa card. I took names at a couple of stores (Hot Topic, JCPenneys) and wrote to the corporate addresses of both the retailers and Visa. Neither cared enough to even respond.

  110. ionerox says:

    a href=”#c4303632″>amejr999: Except for the fact that any cashier or manager of Apple is following through with Apple retail’s policy. They aren’t going to care what the online merchant agreement says, seeing how Apple is the one issuing their paycheck and not Visa or MC.

    There’s so much damn fraud these days anyhow- you can make fake credit cards with any name and number printed on the front, but with the magnetic strip of some other poor guy’s credit card number. Add a fake ID to match the name and just keep re-programming the card as needed.

  111. CurbRunner says:

    All of this confusion about needing a photo ID for a credit/debit purchase would go away if the credit card companies required your picture to be on your credit/debit card.

  112. Aphex242 says:

    customers = more than one customer.
    customer’s = possessive, indicating something belonging to one (or more) customer(s).

    merchants = more than one merchant.
    merchant’s = possessive, indicating something belonging to one (or more) merchant(s).

    Please learn the difference before writing to CEOs (note the lack of an apostrophe), because you’ll generally be taken more seriously.

    Edit: Bah Dorgon you beat me to the punch. At least my post is instructional ;) lol

  113. CurbRunner says:

    All of this confusion about needing a photo ID for a credit/debit purchase would go away if the credit card companies required your picture to be on your credit/debit card… If you try to make a purchase and your face doesn’t match the photo, it’s probably time to call the cops.

  114. arch05 says:

    @GearheadGeek: “I’m a natural at being a schmuck.”

    I don’t think you meant to say that about yourself.

  115. yesteryear says:

    @pibbsman0: ha! exactly. these people probably think the grocery store ‘club cards’ are only there so you can cash in on deals. companies are recording your purchases – face it! this doesn’t have to do with identity theft, per se, but there are companies out there that are making money by selling your demographic, consumer, income and other data to sales companies and marketers. this is the way of the world now. use cash if youre so worried about the ‘paper trail’.

    also, i will admit if i’m wrong about the whole “See ID” issue… as i said, i’m no expert. i was just going on experience. i guess i was just lucky all those years to not get a cashier who was as annoying and persnickety as the consumer who submitted this “tale of terror”.

  116. ConnertheCat says:


    While you may tell them to fuck off, they’ll just tell you to fuck off too – problem solved I guess?

  117. Snorbert says:

    I wrote in last year about an experience I had at an Apple Store. I went in to make a purchase, my credit card was declined because the bank had put a fraud alert on my card(I was Christmas shopping). I called the bank from the store, got the alert removed and asked the Apple store to try the card again. They said that company policy stated that they had to wait 24 hours before running the card again. The reason I was given by the manager was that it was to “prevent credit card fraud”. I explained that I had just verified my identity to my bank, offered to show an ID, nothing doing.

  118. econobiker says:

    During the early ’90s I worked for a sole proprietor who would give me and the other guy’s credit cards to go buy tools, etc at Home Depot, Staples, etc. Turns out the card’s were in the owner’s wife’s name- either to spread the money out or build her credit. I would always sign them with my name and the company’s name initials. Nobody asked me for ID back then which was good since I, as a 6’1″ male didn’t look like a “Christina Smith”…

  119. nacio says:

    Customer’s and merchant’s are protected against chargebacks and misuse of their card through the merchant policy as long as the merchant follows that policy. It is an agreement between the merchant and the network they are using.
    I sent this comment in, and it is so strange how people don’t understand that they don’t need to ask for ID, all they need to do is VERIFY YOUR SIGNITURE.

    More card’s have been stolen and misused because people ask for your ID and take your zipcode and dl# to open accounts and to screw the consumer. look up restaurants and stolen credit card incidents.

  120. nacio says:

    @chiieddy: my signitures on both cards were fine.
    @ionerox: I doubt there is any written corporate law, its just a couple stores, but you are absolutly correct, ID Verification is ridicously, anyone can make an ID and it won’t help you. That’s why merchants must match signatures but hardly any merchants READ the agreements.

    People who are blasting away saying they wish they had their ID checked to protect them selves haven’t read the rules and regulations out their to protect them. If the merchant isn’t following procedure what’s that say to you? if they are willing to record information whats that say? if you KNEW that merchant’s are protected from fraud and so are you as long as they verify signatures would you still willingly give the merchant your address and driver license # even though it wasn’t needed?

  121. I showed my ID when I was buying my macbook pro, kind of glad they asked because if my card was ever stolen that would be the last thing I’d want to dispute.

  122. Tonguetied says:

    @B: “Personally, I would rather know that merchants required an ID for credit card purchases, that way if my card is stolen, it’s harder for somebody to buy things with it.”

    Well in that case when they ask to see YOUR ID you can happily hand it over. The point of the agreement is that those who don’t want to hand over their ID don’t have to. Those that do can…

  123. nacio says:

    @HRHKingFriday: hopefully you understand people’s identities get stolen this way. and that the networks and associated banks have put regulations in place to protect you and guarentee that you will not have to pay for fradulent charges.

    If your card is stolen you have 0$ liability and they credit your account in the process of verifying the chargeback.

  124. nacio says:

    @shad0ws: I offered my University ID because I know merchant’s are anal and don’t read the agreements. The fact that they didn’t want that was absurd. Only way they can ask for your ID is if you are making a “Special Transaction”. A Special transaction is defined as cash advance. I was not making a cash advance at the apple store… in fact i offered ID so they could just sell me something but no they wanted california ID, thats what I wasn’t going to get rammed from behind like every other consumer and told them that my cards were signed and they needed to just take them.
    NO ID REQUIRED when your cards are signed.

  125. nacio says:

    @yesteryear: you understand that if you write SEE ID on your card the merchant is suppose to make you sign your card or discard it if you don’t. you must shop with idiots.

  126. Tonguetied says:

    @snoop-blog: “if you gave your card to your 12 year old kid, he can still use it.”

    Good point. I recall my aunt giving me her credit card one time so I could go to the pharmacy and pick up her medicine. I was older than 12 though…

  127. nacio says:

    @bkraus: to bad when i bought my iphone they took down my dl#

  128. johnva says:

    @nacio: They don’t verify your signature in 99% of cases. My signature doesn’t even look the same all the time, so that would be pretty stupid. No one checks that anymore. The only time they might care is if you filed a chargeback against the store and they wanted to try to prove that you are lying when you say you didn’t perform the transaction.

    Plain credit cards do not have real authentication. Period. Instead, they just use the strategy of having people report fraud when it does occur. Since you aren’t liable, what the credit card companies do or don’t do to verify your identity isn’t really your concern as a consumer and cardholder. That being said, fraud has gotten to be a big enough problem that I think credit cards will be moving more and more towards real authentication technologies (PIN’s even for credit cards, smart cards, crypto-enabled RFID, etc).

  129. nacio says:

    @Zode135: I’m pretty sure VISA / MASTERCARD/ AMERICAN EXPRESS do not like merchant’s turning down their cards because of ID… they make money from DISCOUNTS… and that’s why these companies will fine them if the merchant in question keeps violating the agreement and may ultimately get their agreement revoked if they don’t pay the fines.

  130. johnva says:

    @nacio: Yep. This is why VISA, banks, etc don’t care that much about the lack of security in credit cards. They make more money on encouraging every credit card transaction to go through in a convenient way than they lose to fraud. They will start to care more if they lose more money to it.

  131. johnva says:

    @redhelix: Personally I don’t like showing my ID at a store for ANY reason, even buying alcohol, etc. I don’t believe my privacy should be invaded just to help the cops enforce the underage drinking laws – not my problem and it shouldn’t be the store’s problem, either. Personally I would rather society choose a tradeoff that is a little more towards preserving individual privacy and errs on the side of allowing a few people to get through and buy alcohol illegally if they appear to be old enough (big deal). But I know that opinion will be controversial.

    At least in the alcohol case there is a legal reason where the store is being forced to make you present ID to protect themselves. In the case of requiring it for credit card transactions, it’s just an anti-consumer policy that doesn’t benefit us in any way.

  132. Trai_Dep says:

    Apple never records the DL info, they simply glance at the name and picture to make sure it’s the same as the credit card. A procedure that I’m ecstatic that they do. Not foolproof, but another hurdle for some crackhead to jump in the event that I ever lose my wallet (and the skank has enough taste to blow thru my credit limit at an Apple Store).

    This should be the law. Except credit card companies vastly prefer that everyone sprint thru the buying process, since they know that the pain and inconvenience of dealing with credit card theft is borne by the consumer. Ha ha ha, hee hee hee: spend half a day jumping through hoops (if you’re lucky) because your time isn’t valuable to us.

    The fact that the weenie spent so much time on this rather than, I don’t know, picketing Best Buy for foisting Zunes on an unsuspecting public clearly shows he lacks a brain.

  133. Xay says:

    For those who think that showing ID means anything, I have never had a problem using my boyfriend’s credit card to buy things. When asked for ID, I show mine (different last name, obviously different gender) and they run the purchase every time.

  134. Wormfather says:


    No the merchant is not on the hook for the lost funds.

    The way that works is that MC and Visa have thresholds, respectivly, I belive they are 5% and 7%. If out of a merchant’s total volume, 5%/7% is fraud for any single month they are put on warning, if it happens again within a certian time fram they are then forced to pay for all fraudulent chargebacks at that particular location.

    Under all other circumstances, the issuing bank is responsible for the fraudulent chargebacks so long as the merchant swiped the card and has a signature, in cases of delivery a POD may also be requested.

    With that said, ID is not allowed to be a threashold for accepting a card, it’s against policies and the merchant can be fined $500 (this was the amount 5 years ago when I worked for MC as their Merchant Fruad Control Analyst) per occurance.

    Other things to note.

    Merchants cant require a minimum amount for a purchase.

    They can charge a fee for accepting a credit card.

    If a merchant suspects fruad they have one recouse, a code 10 call. Which is when they call the bank and the bank will ask the customer to verify certian information.

  135. johnva says:

    @Trai_Dep: It should NOT be the law. Again, do you not understand that it isn’t your liability if someone uses your stolen credit card and you report it as fraud? I’ve reported credit card fraud twice before and it didn’t take me “half a day”. It took about 5 minutes total and they didn’t try to argue with me after I insisted that it was fraudulent and had nothing to do with any transaction I could have initiated. If the credit card companies don’t want to implement onerous and invasive security measures, that’s their choice since it’s their liability.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to write a letter about this, but he’s not wrong about it being an anti-consumer policy.

  136. shrtcrt says:

    I tried to refuse to show my ID when I made a purchase at Ulta. The cashier said she could not accept my credit card unless I showed her my ID. We argued for a few minutes and I finally just showed it to her, not that she verified anything. I did send corporate an email, but never heard back.

  137. Hawk07 says:


    It’s not a bad thing, but you can’t make it a requirement of the sale.

  138. gingerCE says:

    Just show the ID. I applaud Apple for trying to prevent credit card theft. I have had my credit card stolen and used at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstroms, etc for thousands of fraudulent purchases. A friend of mine had her wallet stolen and hundreds charged at the GAP within an hour with her Citicard. My sister had her purse stolen and within 2 hours, the thief had changed at several local stores before later being caught (he’d stolen another woman’s wallet). He was a GUY using credit cards with female names and NOT ONE store asked for ID or questioned his purchases.

    You go Apple!!!

    And finally, if he was showing student ID then to get the student discount they need both your regular ID and student ID. That is their policy.

  139. Hawk07 says:


    It has nothing to do with rights, but rather the retailer refusing to follow the terms of their merchant agreement with Visa/MC.

  140. algormortis says:

    While i do support thqt the merchant agreement is being enforced in this letter, i will admit that Apple’s policy bothers me less because it is disclosed next to the cash register (if you get to the cash register) and they ask everyone. Not just, you know, people who aren’t white (like the best buy in bellevue, WA) or “suspicious transactions” (like every bloody safeway in washington, where i should add every transaction seems to be “suspicious”.

    There is also a significant fraud issue with Apple computers because the resale value is pretty high. I just unloaded an imac G4 for $500; a four-year-old computer. You can fence Apple hardware pretty easily. Something about superior design and quality.

    I still support, in fact STRONGLY support, Ignacio for calling this out, especially as they refused to take student ID. I just think personally I care a lot less with Apple, partially because they don’t complain if i show my student id, t-mobile employee badge, non-us passport, non-us driver license, etc etc…and partially because they do it to everyone. Oh yeah, and they at least usually ask politely.

  141. gingerCE says:

    @Hawk07: Was the purchaser trying to get the student discount on the items he was purchasing? If so, when I did (and if you apply for the discount online) they fill out a form which includes ID information, student and regular.

    That is separate from the retailer/merchant agreement. Therefore, if that is the case, Apple did not violate their merchant agreement.

  142. digitalgimpus says:

    My understanding is that it was technically legal, but in a round-about way.

    They can’t demand ID with a CC purchase, but they can legally refuse to accept a CC for any reason at any point during the transaction.

    So if you refuse to show ID, they can retaliate by choosing to not accept a CC and preferring cash.

  143. sam1am says:

    Wow, I’m surprised how many consumerist readers are against this guy. If you’ve been reading consumerist, lifehacker, or boingboing for very long, you know that merchants cannot require you to show your ID (they can ask, but they can’t require).

    @people who say showing your card makes you more secure: How could giving out more personal information make you MORE secure? You are more secure when LESS people have your information, not more.

    Credit Cards are actually very well designed to include policies that protect consumers first. So whether or not you show your ID, your purchases are protected. If someone steals your card and uses it, you simply cancel the card and the company gives you your money back. If someone steals your card and the info off your driver’s license, then you have a much bigger problem on your hands.

    The only thing checking ID protects is the merchant. As far as CC companies are concerned, merchants are the bottom rung and get the shaft a lot when it comes to CC fraud. However, the store’s security is not your problem – it’s theirs. They are allowed to compare the signature on the back of the card to the one on the receipt. If your card is not signed, it is not valid and the CC company has no obligation to protect you from fraud.

    You don’t even have to give your driver’s license to a cop if he asks for it (unless he has just cause), why would you have to show it to some pimply faced 17 year old kid?

    Please people, know your rights and protect them. We have them for a reason – whether it be the government or a Apple employee demanding your papers. The more we give on our rights, the less we will eventually have.

  144. ecwis says:

    @digitalgimpus: but they can legally refuse to accept a CC for any reason at any point during the transaction.
    Per their merchant agreement, they CANNOT refuse a credit card for any reason. If you read the post, you’ll notice one instance where it is forbidden to deny a credit card (not showing ID).

  145. ecwis says:

    There is a reason that credit card companies have these rules. Merchants will get their money (even if it’s a stolen card) as long as they follow all the rules. Credit card companies are willing to lose the money over fraud (or sue the criminal) because the other option for them is even worse.

    If everyone required ID for credit cards, more people would use cash. I definitely would. It’s a hassle to have to get out your wallet again, or run to your car to get your ID. I don’t see why it’s so unreasonable to just follow the rules. Are people that naïve that they think they can single handedly stop fraud?

    I had my credit card stolen around Christmas time. The only thing is that I still had the actual card when my bank called me about it. So somebody found all my information and made a clone of my credit card. If they can do that, I’m pretty sure they can make a fake ID good enough to trick some “Mac Genius”.

  146. m4nea says:

    I don’t know how they do things in the states, but I have never seen anyone take down anyone’s information for a credit purchase. They just check the ID to fucking make sure you are who you say you are.
    I think it’s a really good idea.

  147. Bruce Bayliss says:

    Same thing happened to me here []

    AND my email address is pulled right out of their database via the credit card # and displayed on the receipt.

  148. sisk says:

    people that complain about merchants checking ID to see if the name matches their card deserve to have their credit cards stolen and used, then to go through the agony of dealing with the bank and all of that shit to get the funds back in place

    show your ID – get over yourself and just show it

  149. AndrewJC says:

    @pibbsman0: Every one of your credit cards, then, is invalid.

    As to why make a big deal out of it? Mainly because nobody has the right to require me to show my credentials (NOT my identification-a driver’s license is proof of CREDENTIALS, not proof of identification) unless I’m being asked by a law enforcement officer AND I’m suspected of a crime.

    How about the fact, too, that both VISA and MasterCard PROHIBIT the requirement of credentials as a condition of purchase? In other words, that the company is violating a legally binding contract with their vendor? That’s a pretty big deal.

    Basically, though, I shouldn’t have to prove who I am in order to buy something. It’s as simple as that. If I’ve complied with all of the required conditions to use my credit card, it is NOT for you to tell me that I haven’t. Period.

  150. vastrightwing says:

    Don’t buy it there.

  151. sly100100 says:

    A few years back I went to Walmart and tried to purchase a money order with cash of course. And they asked me for my name, address, and phone number! LOL
    I told the girl behind the counter no, and she said it was a new policy.
    I countered, “If I come in a buy a bag of cat food and go to the register are you going to asking me my name, address, and phone number?”
    Needless to say I never purchased the money order and left. I have never heard of anyone asking for that kind of information before.
    As for asking for ID for a cc purchase seeems a bit over the top, I have worked in retail before and we never asked for ID.
    Then again we never had a cc company ask us to cut up a cc before either. :)

  152. nacio says:

    @gingerCE: no i wasn’t going to use student discount.

  153. nacio says:

    @digitalgimpus: you have it backwards. they have the right to “ASK” for ID per california law… but because they are in agreement with VISA/MASTERCARD they can’t make it a REQUIREMENT of purchase.

  154. webworm98 says:

    To correct some posters.
    Checking ID is against MasterCard and Visa policy. Depending on the State it is against the law recorded the Drivers license or ID number. Debit cards that have the Visa or Mastercard symbol and the transactions is ran through as a credit have the same policy. Pin transaction they can do any thing they want. In another forum I read, that apple was keeping the card number to make sure people were not buying more than two phones. Which according to the new PCI rules violates MasterCard and Visa rules. Pci is new security standard, so things like the tj maxx fraud will not happen.

  155. datafox says:

    I was in England and one cashier would not want to accept my pass port as an id to use my credit card but wanted me to copy my signature, but I can not write one that would satisfy him since my signature is pretty wild. I told him look at my passport and ID and he relented to it. My friend said I should just give in to it since it might just be there way but he was a jerk about it, I think going through to make up IDs is a bit more trouble than a signature in my case.

    Also giving blood one time a person would not take my passport as ID but I needed a driver’s license, state id or a university id. I thought that was weird.

  156. nacio says:

    @Bruce Bayliss: Your not the first person that has commented that Apple is storing people’s Credit Card #s. This is against federal law, if only it came to mind. I know they can’t keep your card number in a database since 2006 (was extended from 2003-2006) and they can only display the last four digits of your card number on your receipt.

  157. StevieD says:


    Yes, absolutely correct.

    The merchant can and should ask for a state issued photo ID to verify customer identity.

    Verifying the information is allowed. Recording the information is not.

    Considering the Merchant is at fault and financially responsible for any goods purchased with a stolen credit card when the merchant does not ask for photo ID, it is just plain good business practice to ask for a photo ID.

  158. ecwis says:

    @StevieD: Check your facts before you make conclusions.

    Merchants are not at fault or financially responsible if they follow the guidelines set by the credit card companies. This basically amounts to simply making sure the signatures are similar. The credit card company takes the loss when the merchant does everything correctly and if it’s a fraudulent use of the credit card.

  159. nacio says:

    @StevieD: wow have you read anything?

  160. Veeber says:

    @Falconfire: The training for Apple employees in the store is to ask for ID. We, as staff, are not permitted to process credit card. I’m assuming it is possible that some store managers are waving the requirement. However, no information should ever be recorded. We do record information if you use a check, address, name, phone number and driver’s license number.

  161. hazelwoodfarm says:

    @SchecterShredder: Right on!

  162. unklegwar says:

    i agree with having to abide by the merchant agreement, but I think the no ID required is backasswards. It would be a nice backup to ensure proper use. However, that LAST thing any bank wants is to slow down or stutter the transfer of money. Just look at all those recent commercials where they make the guy paying with CASH out to be an oddball. Don’t think, just spend.

  163. Canoehead says:

    I love my Citi Mastercard for this – it has my picture and my signature imprinted on the front – and saves me no end of trouble, especially in Vegas where they always ask for ID. I’m not a jerk about it – I just point out the picture and then smile and ask if they really need another form of ID – usually they say no, on the rare occasion when they say yes I let them see my D.L. I’ve never seen anyone copy down the number. Having the signature imprinted on the front is also great, because the one on the back always seems to get worn off.

  164. humphrmi says:

    @discounteggroll: How did you verify their identity? Oh, you mean by asking for ID? LOL, good one.

  165. Witera33it says:

    In my line of business,(I’m a tattoo artist) checking ID is already mandatory. Health department law requires photocopies of ID on the back of consent forms. If credit fraud occurs, I will be the one who loses money, not the business owner, so preventing fraudulent charges is very important to us. Thus, if someone else offers their card for payment, we take that persons ID as well.

    It is true that not signing your credit cards makes them invalid. I sign AND write “CID” As my signature doesn’t adequately fit in that tiny little strip in a way the resembles what will actually appear on a reciept. Actually, I don’t even wait for them to ask. I just present my ID with my credit card.

  166. johnva says:

    @Witera33it: Why would you show them your ID if they don’t ask? You know you’re you, after all.

  167. iqag says:

    Maybe people in CA can enlighten me, but with every purchase I made with debit or credit cards in California, I was asked for ID. A woman in Borders said it was California law – which according to this post would seem to be a half-truth. In the rest of the country, though, I’ve hardly seen a merchant even check signatures in the last ten years – especially where customers swipe their own cards. I’ve never minded, but it’s pretty asinine to call someone who objects to this whiny or a bad consumer.

  168. kich20 says:


    I have a solution for you: if you are so concerned that some clerk at an Apple store is going to steal your ID and/or memorize all your personal information while they look at your driver’s license for 2 seconds, pay cash.

  169. weedpindle says:

    Well, it is up to the Credit Card issuer to cover the fraud, Why else do they charge up to 32% interest on outstanding balances. They guarantee the valid charge if it clears their approval.

  170. weedpindle says:

    If you are really concerned about fraud and the resulting cost to visa/mc/discover, just write ‘CHECK ID’ in the signature line…..they will ask you every time. you will get sick of this real quick.

  171. maverickuw says:

    First thing i would ask, is are the back of your cards signed?

    If not, then they are REQUIRED by both VISA and MC to ask for your card.

    If so, then technically you are right, but good luck getting anything done about it

  172. sibertater says:

    If you’re so worried about this, pay $8 and get a PO Box. You can have that displayed on your ID. Well, in IN you can. They just have to have a physical address in case you’re a terrorist…which is likely.

  173. rikkus256 says:

    In southern California, every retails or supermarkets I go (except Target) ask me to show IDs.

  174. Michael Belisle says:

    @StevieD: Actually, you’re totally wrong. The merchant is not liable for fraud if the standard procedures are followed. Mandating an ID is not one of those procedures.

    Asking is OK, but “Merchants cannot refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID. Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures.” is written in bold on p. 29 of the Rules for Visa Merchants-Card Acceptance and Chargeback Management Guidelines (as many have and will continue to point out).

  175. Chharlotte says:

    The only time they record DL information is for processing discounts. They told me they need it to prove they checked a second form of ID or something. And I mean, if you don’t want to take advantage of the corporate discounts offered, you are well within your rights to decline the discount and pay with cash.

    And personally, I would MUCH rather EVERY retailer required ID checking. I mean, can you imagine how much damage someone could do with a stolen credit card in a store like that?

    Something else a lot of people don’t realize is that not signing a CC or writing C-ID on it without also signing it makes it so your card is not valid.

  176. TuxRug says:

    I’m proud of Apple on this one. I get agitated when I’m not asked to show my ID or my ID is ignored when I present it, especially since I’m using an easily-drained debit card. If they start to copy down information, or attempt to take the card out of my line of sight, I’ll just grab it back. All I let them do with my card is verify the name matches the one on my debit card and that the picture on the ID matches my face. The only times I don’t get upset for not being asked for my ID is if the cashier is a friend who actually knows me. If they don’t ask for my ID, I refuse to sign the receipt or enter my PIN until they’ve verified checked my ID and verified that I’m the owner of the card.

  177. SeldomSeenSherry says:

    Please God let merchants ask for ID! My Visa was stolen and by the time I canceled he/she had charged over $800.
    Luckily my bank reimbursed me. The over all experience was a huge pain.

  178. dreamcatcher2 says:

    If the merchant agreement is dumb, then is Apple wrong to violate it? I’m definitely on board with prohibiting retailers from storing personal info in excess of what’s required to process the transaction, but checking ID to use a credit card is a great way to mitigate fraud. Visa doesn’t want the retailers to check ID because they pass the cost of fraud on to the retailer, and anything that makes credit cards easier to use is good for Visa.

    Is there some basic consumer right being violated here? We all know that places like to check ID for large credit transactions, why wasn’t this guy prepared?

  179. IssaGoodDay says:


    Apple requires your DL # to be recorded for educational purchases (verifying studentship?), but I’ve always had my ID checked by Apple employees. Having worked in a retail store myself where we ALWAYS required ID’s for purchases, I know that that simple requested deflected at least one case of fraud, and as I was in a mall at the time, we often got word of people using stolen cards around the mall, and their ID’s didn’t match.

    I know Apple *does* require card-present transactions (tried to have my dad give his number over the phone while I was in store once. Didn’t work – apparently it’s corporate policy?) and that they do take imprints of cards if they have to key in the number.

    As for checking ID being mandatory? I can see both sides of the argument. But if you’re honestly worried about a clerk with a photographic memory, ask for a manager to ring out your transaction. It takes you two seconds to show an ID. Don’t be an ass about it.

  180. johnva says:

    @lm: So do you think you’re trying to “train” the clerks? If you are you, you are gaining nothing by forcing them to ask for your ID. I’m sure the clerks would rather you just refrain from telling them how to do their job.

  181. sventurata says:

    I love this comment board. That’s all.


    Smooth move, people… all they have to do is type your name over a fake ID and they’re set to roll. Your cardholder agreement requires you to sign the damn plastic, so don’t be all smug over your cute (douchebag) ID-saving method. Just sign the damn plastic! Also, try processing a chargeback without a signature; most cards can and will hold you responsible because you DIDN’T SIGN THE CARD LIKE THEY ASKED YOU TO.

    @snoop-blog: Yeah it is. We could arrest your 12-year-old for fraud. We’re just nice about it (most days).

  182. sventurata says:

    @digitalgimpus: Not in the US, they aren’t… are you from the land of chip and pin?

  183. nacio says:

    @lm: using debit cards offer no protection against the consumer… if you use a credit card you get some much protection… do you realize that you willfully hand over your personal information to a stranger even though it isn’t needed to process your transaction? I guess you walk down the streets of San Francisco waving your Driver’s License,

  184. sidwinder60 says:

    I’m surprised people have only hinted towards this but nobody has really mentioned employee abuse. I worked at several shit jobs before getting a good one. For a time I worked as a movie theater ticket box cashier. Let me tell you, employees do take down id and cc information and use it later for petty personal purchases. The good news is that they are generally stupid and get caught…but employee cc/id abuse does exist.

  185. ironchef says:

    omg…just show the ID.

    so much drama for something so lame.

  186. schottish_warrior_poet says:

    A few things:

    1) Who gives a shit really?
    2) Credit card issuers obviously care about identity theft, as it’s not passed onto you, it costs them and you get a refund.
    3) Apple is getting really weird.
    4) Maybe Apple needs to remember the 90s again and cut their elitist bullshit.
    5) If your identity is indeed stolen, your life will get exciting for a brief moment.

  187. univision says:

    Ignacio is a punk ass sissy. I work for Apple retail, and that is SIMPLY NOT TRUE. We do NOT ask for ID to record the info. Thats total BS. The only reason we ask for ID (for a normal purchase) is to make sure the picture on the ID, matches the name on the ID, and that matches the name on the card.

    There are cases where AN ID (doesnt have to be a license) is recorded when you purchase something with your student discount, and that is just to make sure you don’t buy more than the alloted systems you are allowed to buy with a student discount.

    I hate it when people like this guy say, “I am afraid of someone stealing my identity by showing them my ID”. That is just so frickin lame. You are more at risk if they DONT ask for ID.


  188. nacio says:

    @univision: i hope you dine at a restaurant and some kid asks you for id and jacks your identity and credit card info you a$$hole

  189. ecwis says:

    @univision: Ha. It doesn’t surprise me that you work at an Apple store.

  190. theglassrat says:

    As far as the Apple store acted wrongly here, I don’t agree with not having to show your ID in the first place. It’s common practice in Europe and helps cut down on fraudulent transactions.

  191. OfficeDespot says:

    Ignacio, you’re way off base trying to make an ill-informed point. I highly doubt that the salesdrone was trying to make you his next victim of Identity Theft.

    It doesn’t matter what the cardholder agreement says – State Law trumps whatever agreement a retailer signs with another third party.

    CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE 1747.08 (d) 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.

    Cardholder ID
    Although Visa rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID, merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID. Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures. Laws in several states also make it illegal for merchants to write a cardholder’s personal information, such as an address or phone number, on a sales receipt. P. 29, Visa Merchant Card Acceptance Policy.

  192. Bruce Bayliss says:


    customers = more than one customer.
    customer’s = possessive, indicating something belonging to one (or more) customer(s).
    customer’s = possessive, belonging to one customer
    customers’ = possessive, belonging to more than one customer

  193. nacio says:


  194. famboozled says:

    On a personal level, I support the notion of asking for ID. I know that just the idea that someone will likely ask for ID dissuades the amateur credit card fraud type from even trying it face-to-face. I fail to see the danger here- it seems far less dangerous than handing a check to some clerk in a store.with your DL’s date of expiration (usually the month/year of your birthday on it).

    1. Why is the argument not being asserted that it is not the Visa merchant agreement that is at issue but the retailers processing agreement. Why cannot one merely say that Visa would approve the purchase buy the conveyance that actually facilitates the technical sale requires ID be checked and based on that we are declining to process the sale further.
    If the retailer really wants to bog things down could they not just call the CC company for voice approval explaining the card holder are unsure of their identity has no ID in possession and putting the cardholder on the line w/ the CC company and get them to approve it directly- then it would be it on the CC company and the retailer would be insulated from a charge-back perhaps? In efficient yes but hey

    2. Then there is always this: []

  195. Optimus says:

    @darkened: Actually, many states have laws stating that any mark signifying one’s intent to sign a document is a legal signature. This is due to the fact that for most of the existence of this country, the majority was illiterate and could not write their name if they wanted. Thus in Alabama they are forced to accept “Ask for ID” as my signature.

    Here’s the catch-22 on that:
    Since they are forced to accept “Ask for ID” as my signature, they are no longer required to ask for ID.

  196. Optimus says:

    @OfficeDespot: I think you’re wrong here.
    One can enter into an agreement to increase restrictions beyond state law.
    One cannot enter into an agreement to loosen restrictions imposed by state law.

  197. Canoehead says:

    Remember that Apple also has a policy of only selling each person a limited totla number of iphones – because of unlocking and reselling. The drive to record IDs may be part of that.

  198. racermd says:

    Want to scare yourself? Read this (not mine, but I found it fascinating): []

    Basically, someone tests various business that accept CCs and gets crazy with the signatures. It’s pretty amazing how little attention is given by the cashiers even when it’s a stark difference (crudly-drawn pictures on the slip in place of a signature).

  199. SrsRevo17 says:

    It’s your right not to show your ID with your credit card, but a lot of you seem keen on doing it because “oh its just easier to do it than make it a hassle.”

    But don’t all of you get up in arms if you have to show your receipt at the door of a store??

    Or are you selective about what rights you want and at what time?

  200. djwoodyphl says:

    As a retailer who works in a high ticket environment, I can say that this is an unfortunate situation. I used to catch rings of thieves coming in with stored value visa/mastercard debit cards
    which had been remagnetized to contain the credit card numbers of unsuspecting people on a WEEKLY basis. These charges would be in the thousands of dollars, and if it weren’t for our asking for identification and realizing that the name on the ID didn’t match what was coming up as being swiped on the mag reader, we would have been faced with huge chargebacks and even more people would be faced with the task of explaining to their credit card company that they hadn’t purchased that $2000 Apple computer after all.

    It’s safe to say that not everyone understands the reason why Apple would even think to ask. But I can guarantee you that if I were to call ANY of the people whose credit card I prevented from being used in an unauthorized way, they would be thankful.

    And for the record, I have colleagues that work for the company and the policy has always been that an employee can ask for ID if the card is unsigned, or if there is strong reason to believe that the card is being used in an unauthorized way (such as the son/daughter coming in with the father/mother’s card) because technically a credit card is not valid unless it is signed, and the signature that is captured matches that on the card.

    To the person who complained and found himself all up in arms about being asked for the ID … GET OVER IT. They just want to make sure you’re who you say you are, and the company isn’t sucking up huge chargebacks and in the end raising the cost of doing business because you felt like you were being violated in some way.

    Also, the ONLY time I’ve ever had my ID information recorded in their system is when you make a purchase using the educational discount, because the system requires this information for auditing purposes (since you ARE getting a discount) and has nothing to do with the acceptance of your credit card.

    Also, to respond to some of the posts above …

    First off, American Express specifically notes in their cardholder agreement that only the assigned member may use their cards. I also checked both my Visa and Msastercard agreements for my personal cards and found similar verbiage. Just because you don’t think something is illegal because you see other people do it, doesn’t make it right.

    Second … to the guy that talked about giving in to prevent a “small risk” … you’ve obviously never worked in a high ticket retail environment. We are TRAINED to identify fake IDs. Many retailers have a book that contains current and recently replaced state ID designs for all states, and that identifying characteristics of each. If there is a question, it goes to a manager. I’d guarantee you’d be mighty pissed off if your card number was used in one of these theft rings, simply because of the inconvenience surrounding proving you weren’t the ones making the charges, and all of the calls to customer service and fraud departments.