Retail Management: "We Have To Check ID Or We Get Screwed By Credit Card Companies"

Scott, a member of management for a retail chain, wants to share the other side of the checking-ID debate:

Your website continually runs stories about how merchants aren’t allowed to ask for ID during a credit transaction. I work on the management team at a nationwide retailer, and credit card fraud occasionally hits our location. Every so often, we are hit with something called a ‘retrieval request’ from one of the big 4 credit authorization companies (Discover, AMEX, MC, Visa). This means we have 48 hours to provide a legible signed receipt, and video evidence of my staff checking a photo ID to verify the cardholder.

If we are unable to verify that my staff checked the ID of the cardholder, we are hit with a 100% chargeback to our account. That’s right, they charge back the entire amount, because WE DIDN’T CHECK ID. Thusly, I have informed my staff to check photo ID on ALL TRANSACTIONS, as I am tired of dealing with bad debt. If a customer will not provide ID, I will not take their payment. I am not sure what merchant agreement your readers keep referencing, but this simply isn’t true. How can I not check ID, per their agreement, and yet still be held liable for passing a stolen credit card? I would rather lose a customer than lose thousands of dollars in chargebacks every month. Just my two cents.

Update: See this rebuttal—with actual documentation instead of just opinion—sent in by another manager.

“LEAKS: Amex Document Shows Proof of ID Check Is Not Required For Chargebacks”
(Photo: Brett L.)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Reality1 says:

    Seems fair enough. Why should they assume risk?

  2. endless says:

    Having worked in retail, I am EXCEEDINGLY curious about this topic.

    anything consumerist can find out i am interested in.

  3. Happy13178 says:

    That’s great. Check ID all you want, most consumers won’t care. But if the consumer refuses, you can’t deny the sale. If the practices of Visa, MC, etc aren’t fair to you, deal with Visa and MC. Not the consumer. 99 times out of 100, the consumer you’re asking for ID is completely legitimate and won’t appreciate being treated like a thief.

  4. FightOnTrojans says:

    Yah, I’ve kinda wondered about this, too. I have also seen those references to the “merchant agreement” on this website and assumed (incorrectly, I guess) that if this is the case, then the credit card companies would then hold the merchants blameless if a stolen card is used at their establishments. Now hearing the other side of the issue, I can’t help but feel for merchants for being placed in the middle. If I were a business owner/manager, I probably would do the same as the OP. FWIW, I show my ID when I use my cards, and tell the cashiers I appreciate them asking to see it.

  5. hills says:

    Guy has a point – sounds like the credit card companies need to make their minds up about user agreements and liability.

  6. walterny says:

    I think it is ridiculous that someone would not show a picture/signature ID at a purchase. For Christ’s sake, it’s for your benefit, not to steal you identity. What a wasteful topic and a sorry selfish few who are so privileged that they would rather not buy a product than have someone simply verify that it is them making the purchase. STUPID I SAY!!!!

    Here. For all you babies. Sleep well:


  7. yesteryear says:

    this makes more sense anyhow. seems a lot more foolproof than expecting a 16 year old at target to suddenly become a handwriting analyst, as some commenters were suggesting in response to that apple article.

  8. shadowkin says:


    I refer to page 29. – “Requesting Cardholder ID”

    Bolding is theirs.

    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.

  9. shadowkin says:

    Note, previous link is a PDF. Sorry for neglecting to state that.

  10. shrtcrt says:

    You can view the agreement here []

  11. boomer333 says:

    His point is misguided. If a credit card is swiped the credit card company is not able to dispute the charge for most reasons (including fraud). That risk is on the credit card company. If a credit card is keyed, the transaction is easily disputable. That is why in the credit card rules merchants are able to ask for ID if the card is keyed.

  12. ct03 says:

    “I am not sure what merchant agreement your readers keep referencing, but this simply isn’t true. “

    I think they’re referencing the document called “Rules for Visa Merchants: Card Acceptance and Chargeback Management Guidelines.” []

    On page 29, there’s a section called Requesting Cardholder ID:
    When should you ask a cardholder for an official government 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.

    Too lazy to search for MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, Diner’s Club, etc.

  13. ct03 says:

    @shadowkin: Oops, you type faster than I do.

  14. swissdietcoke says:

    Pulled this from section….of the mastercard merchant agreement…

    “For unique transactions processed in a face-to-face environment (with the
    exception of truck stop transactions and card-read transactions where a
    non-signature CVM is used), request personal identification of the
    cardholder in the form of an unexpired, official government document.
    Compare the signature on the personal identification with the signature on
    the card.”

  15. mtaylor924 says:

    Merchants could avoid this whole dilemma by required photo ID for ALL purchases above a certain amount – if the transaction can’t begin until an ID is produced, the merchant wouldn’t be in violation of the “merchant agreement” because seeing the ID isn’t a condition of accepting credit card payments – it’s a condition of the sale. Period.

    Of course, who wants to show their ID every time they buy a pack of gum, right? This would obviously only work on big-ticket items that are almost never paid for with cash anyway.

    Does anyone know if there’s an inherent problem with requiring ID for all purchases over $XXX, regardless of payment method?

  16. boomer333 says:

    It is not for your benefit. Most credit cards have 0 liability protection, as long as it is reported in a timely manner. When I worked in the industry, I only saw the cardholder held responsible a few times. Each time was because the card was used by someone they knew and they would not file a report to the police for the theft.

  17. defiant1 says:

    I’m going to have to agree with WalterNY. For someone to get upset, because a retail jockey wants to verify that you are who you are presenting yourself to be, is ridiculously asinine. I didn’t even sign my debit card. All it says on the back is ASK FOR ID.

  18. cabedrgn says:

    I’ve worked in retail (wayyyy back when) and our merchant agreement required the same thing (must check IDs or it could result in an automatic chargeback) but didn’t require video. The bosses would just say ‘yea, we checked their id’ and the bank would accept that.

    Now I deal with transactions where we never meet the customer (mail-order specialty pharmacy) and read through our merchant agreement with Nova, they don’t require ID or signature. This is most likely due to our type of business since not only is it much, much easier to track down fraudsters since we also require a valid rx, referral and insurance but it would be extremely difficult to obtain an ID and signature from most of our customers. We also don’t deal with schedule 2 drugs (oxycodone, etc) so just by statistics we have less chance for fraud.

  19. MrBig says:

    When I used to work at a retail store, my boss actually told me about not being able to request ID. So for merchants to say they have to, they obviously don’t because my boss and owner of the store told us that it was illegal to force them to show us. Personally, I think it’s safter to show it than to not. As long as they don’t write down info, which they rarely do (I’ve never encountered it during a credit card transaction) then its much safer than showing a signed card. If someone picks up your card and its signed, all they have to do is emulate youre signature. So I don’t understand why people are so hesitant to show their ID. I would hope they would as for ID. It proves its you, end of story.

  20. spawnofbill says:

    Merchant Agreement? What shit is this? I worked at wolf camera for two years, only had one customer refuse to show me his ID, and it was an older gentleman, foreign. The ONLY reason I asked is that the purchase was over $50, per store policy. We had been discussing cameras politely for over 20 minutes before he decided to buy a memory card, when I asked to see his ID he said no. I thought he was joking, only to look at his face to tell he wasn’t. I politely told him the store policy, and he said “I shouldn’t have to show my ID because of my age.” He asked to talk to the manager, who was standing right there, he told him the exact same thing I had. He raised his voice slightly, saying I was going to sell him that card. I politely told him that unless he could show me a valid form of ID that I could not sell it to him. He asked where the next nearest Wolf was, and I told him. As soon as he was out of the store I called that store and everyone in a 3 mile radius, describing him and telling them to not sell him anything unless he showed his ID.

    I’d been burned by bad returns, check fraud, counterfeit money (a 1$ bill) and I was NOT going to let my DM have any reason to breath down my neck the next time she showed up.

    I despise frauders. Not only do they frequently ruin the lives of those who they’re stealing money from, they make retail a very difficult business. Every time someone stole a camera, wrote a bad check for one, or used a stolen credit card I LOST money from a potential sale from a REAL customer. When most of your salary comes from the skill you have in selling, and you have a VERY limited inventory, one sale makes a hell of a difference. When you steal from a store I work at it’s stealing money out of MY POCKET.

  21. legotech says:

    This is the Mastercard page where you can report merchants for asking for ID, but the info that SwissDietCoke quotes says they SHOULD ask for ID?? huh? Now I’m confused:


  22. nightshade74 says:

    Mastercard allows you to report request for ID

    Mastercard says in their manual: []
    Cardholder Identification 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, except as specifically permitted or required by the Standards. A merchant may require additional identification from the cardholder if the information is
    required to complete the transaction, such as for shipping purposes. A merchant in a country or region that supports use of the MasterCard Address Verification Service (AVS) may require the cardholder’s ZIP or postal code to complete a cardholder-activated terminal (CAT) transaction, or the cardholder’s address and ZIP or postal code to complete a mail order, phone order, or e-commerce transaction.

    Dont want to follow the rules – dont accept VISA/MC …
    Maybe you could get by on Amex.

  23. azntg says:

    @Scott (the person referenced in the article):

    Well… you asked for it, so here are the official references.

    Visa: (look at pages 33 and 34 on the PDF file)

    It specifically states that you’re supposed to check for ID (preferably an official government ID) ONLY in circumstances where the card submitted to you (the cashier) is not signed or when you are instructed to do so upon processing.

    If you look further down onto “Requesting Cardholder ID” section, it states in BOLD FACE text: “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.”

    Mastercard: (see page 149 on the PDF, section 9.11.2)

    “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, except as specifically permitted or required by the Standards. A merchant may
    require additional identification from the cardholder if the information is required to complete the transaction, such as for shipping purposes. A
    merchant in a country or region that supports use of the MasterCard Address Verification Service (AVS) may require the cardholder’s ZIP or postal code to complete a cardholder-activated terminal (CAT) transaction, or the cardholder’s address and ZIP or postal code to complete a mail order, phone order, or ecommerce transaction.”

    As of Discover and American Express, the rules are different. However, if a customer does complain that his/her card wasn’t honored even though the merchant is supposed to accept the card and he/she complied with the cardmember’s agreement, they’ll be on you. My father learned it the hard way (and eventually stopped accepting those two, but that’s a different story)

  24. bearymore says:

    I don’t understand the problem with showing one’s id for a credit card transaction. Having suffered an attempt at identity theft, I appreciate it when the merchant takes the trouble to check that I am who I say I am. While my id thief was scotched almost immediately when he tried to take out a credit card that I already had, had he obtained the card and attempted to use it at a store which checked id, he would have been caught as well. In fact, I have a friend who has written “check my id” in the signature space on the back of all his cards, having suffered his own id thievery problem.

    Now if they decide to write down the id information, that is another story…

  25. Lea9017 says:

    Is it really that difficult to just show your ID when paying with a credit card?

  26. Buran says:

    @swissdietcoke: What’s special about truck stops?

  27. Buran says:

    @Lea9017: Someone responding with “Just show your receipt” type remark in 3… 2… 1…

  28. bohemian says:

    I wish everyone would just make up their minds already.

    If I had to show my ID (but they don’t write down things like DL number anywhere) fine. But I just get sick of it being an arbitrary thing even on lower dollar purchases at the same retail store.

    When you buy something at a big box store and all of the sudden you have to show ID when previous purchases of the same dollar range didn’t require it and other purchases after the fact didn’t require ID, the retailer is accusing you of being a criminal.

  29. johnva says:

    Looking at the agreements, it looks like this merchant is misinformed. I don’t know what they are referencing, but I’m not going to just take their word for it over the Visa/MC websites. If they want me to believe them they need to provide a more solid reference than this anecdote.

    To everyone: CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT THEFT IS NOT IDENTITY THEFT. Why do people not understand the difference?

  30. AmericaTheBrave says:

    I have no problem with them asking for my ID, with the exception that they not write down my drivers license number, address, etc. They can see my ID to make sure it’s me, and that’s it. Creating countless other databases at each store full of our personal data only puts consumers at greater risk for fraud, and the companies themselves haven’t shown an ability to keep their databases secure. How many stories have there been just in the last 12 months of companies being hacked into, and that doesn’t include criminal employees stealing data at the store level.

    I worked retail for two decades in the 80’s and 90’s. Back then my company only asked for ID on personal checks, but they had a company policy that we could not write down a drivers license number, SSN, etc., only make sure a phone number was listed. (Even the phone number may have been against some consumer law, but I never had a customer question that.)

  31. FightOnTrojans says:

    Ok, so we’ve seen where it says that merchants can’t make ID checking a part of the transaction. Can anyone substantiate this guy’s claim that the merchant gets nailed for NOT checking IDs?

  32. carterbeauford says:

    Scott needs to learn to use “bad debt” in the correct context.

  33. TONY 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.”

    HOWEVER, I think that perhaps the merchants are refusing to complete the transaction based on the fact that, by the consumer not providing identification or by refusing to, the consumer may not be the same person as that identified on the Credit Card. Therefore, protecting themselves from CC fraud and the individual named on the card from fraud. Basically the merchant refuses completion of transaction based on suspicion. Thats how I understood it when I worked my Hourly wage restaurant and retail jobs.

  34. DimitroffVodka says:

    I used to make fake id’s in college so me and my friends could get into bars. This is not the easiest thing to just figure out so I eventually came upon a message board called Shadowcrew. This forum mostly talked mostly about carding but also fake id’s.

    It was amazing how easy it was to get credit card information or any kind of info. You could literally buy a wallet that would come with multiple credit cards of the same person with a fake id also. You could find out anyone’s social security information. You could buy 10 credit card numbers for $25. It was all so cheap.

    Most of the carder’s had a fake id’s with them also. So even showing a id would not stop them. I can guarantee a 16 year old cashier could tell it was fake also. So this whole entire issue seems like a moot point to me.

  35. Thorny says:

    I think we are all misdirecting our complaints on this issue. And here’s why:

    I am starting to think my own obsession with this ID checking thing is boiling down to psychology.

    When asked for ID, it feels like the person behind the counter is not trusting me. As a trustworthy person, I am offended by this.

    Then I get pissed off at the frauds out there who steal credit cards and try to use them, who then cause this problem to begin with.

    So shouldn’t we all be pissed off at them, and neither the retail stores OR the credit card company?

    It sucks when a small percentage of assholes ruin it for all of us.

  36. Aaron Pratt says:

    If I’m ready this correctly, on the Mastercard agreement, you can’t request a government ID as condition of accepting the card (9.11.2) unless it’s allowed elsewhere in the agreement. Section seems to allow it, making section 9.11.2 a moot point, in this case. I’m assuming these are from the same document, of course.

  37. JadedScientist says:

    I do a lot of shopping on my lunch break at work. Most places just glance at my work ID badge around my neck and that seems to fulfill their requirement for “checking ID” (most are polite enough to try to hide the cringe at the awful picture).

  38. johnva says:

    @Aaron Pratt: My interpretation would be that they are supposed to ask, but that they can’t refuse the transaction solely because you refuse to show it.

  39. B says:

    So the merchant is screwed no matter what, right? They can’t require an ID for purchase, but if they don’t they risk a chargeback? No wonder a lot of smaller businesses don’t take credit cards.

  40. ju_ju_eyeball says:

    LOL – the credit cards want it both ways: 1 – do not ask for ID.
    2 – if it is credit card fraud, the merchant cannot have a refund unless they can prove they asked for ID.


  41. swvaboy says:

    As a manager for one location in a large hotel chain the only time we ask for ID is if a copy of a card is faxed to us for use for a guest, or if they ask for a cash advance. Both of these are allowed by the CC companies.

    I have never lost a “Charge Back” as long as I had a receipt and a signature.

  42. clinky says:


    Of course it is. When you use a credit card, you are, in effect, promising to pay for something later. When someone uses a credit card with my name on it, a stolen or forged credit card, they are pretending to be me, promising that I will pay for something later.

    What, you think identity theft only refers to some space-alien duplicating my dna and living in my house?

  43. Jasmo says:

    I think it’s simple – if you don’t want to show ID, pay with cash. If you are using a credit card, THE MAN already has you by the balls, so it’s not like refusing to show ID is proving your independence or anything.

  44. IcarusRisen says:

    Please don’t give our plans away, thank you.

  45. misteral says:

    What good is checking ID in a Brick and Mortar store when you can use your CC online… or heck at one of the fancy dancy new Self-Checkout lines with no one watching you (save a few CCTV’s). I have yet to sign my actual name on one of those things.

  46. ExtraCelestial says:


    I work retail and I get mad pissy when anyone asks to see my ID. I live in DC and I try to be wallet free as often as possible, carrying nothing more than a dollar or two and my check card getting on and off the metro. Deal with the credit card company if you feel like you’re getting screwed. Don’t take it out on the consumer.

    And we only ask for ID if you’re trying to manually enter the credit card or we’re looking up your account number.

  47. cartoa says:

    It’s funny. Many of you merchants are going on about how necessary it is to check for ID, but there is one face to face business transaction where companies never seem to do it: settling the bill in restaurants.

    Either the rules are different or they simply don’t do it because no one has figured out a way to ask for ID politely in a dining situation.

  48. mariospants says:

    And what if the ID is fake?

    Anyway, it makes sense to verify ID against a credit card if: a) you’re suspicious of the purchaser (i.e. their name says “Chang” on the card but they’re obviously caucasian) and b) you have experienced a lot of bad credit cards at your location. Of course if you’re just running into the store credit card in hand, that could mean no sale.

    What happened to those credit cards that had photographs on them? I remember reading how 90% of those cashiers tested didn’t even bother to verify that the purchaser resembled the picture…

  49. Just want to throw in my 2 cents:

    I worked in the sales audit department at the corporate headquaters for a nationwide retailer until September of last year. Among our other duties, we had to comply with these “retrieval requests” on a daily basis. This involved calling the store where the transaction took place, having them dig through their media envelope, find the signed receipt, and fax it to us. We in turn would forward a PDF to Visa/MC/AmEx/Discover as proof of signature.

    Not once did we ever have to provide Visa/MC with video evidence of the customer signing the receipt. That’s simply impractical. Also, we had way more than 48 hours to respond. We were also told that, under the terms of our merchant agreement, cashiers should be instructed NOT to ask for ID on a card that was signed on the back.

    Maybe the credit cards negotiate different terms with different retailers. It’s very possible that Scott’s company is held to different standards based on the merchandise they sell. Our chain didn’t sell anything more than ~$100, so I could see how things could change if you were selling, say, plasma TV’s.

  50. zeroraveson says:

    “This means we have 48 hours to provide a legible signed receipt, and video evidence of my staff checking a photo ID to verify the cardholder.” I’m guessing the ‘and’ should be an ‘or’ instead.

    In college I worked at a nationwide retailer that had cameras covering the main bank of registers, but not another in the back. When we would get a retrieval request, we only had to provide video if the signed original receipt could not be found, which would happen on occasion when a new hire was only then learning to keep his or her media organized – basically when an original receipt would potentially be lost.

    If the person’s original was lost from the front bank of registers the store would be fine, but if lost from the back then we would be screwed. That said, I too refuse to show ID.

  51. asmodeus says:

    I work at a retail store and I *always* check IDs for CC transactions. What’s funny is that some of them are actually thanks me for checking their ID. Haven’t you ever seen CC with “SEE I.D.” instead of signature?
    I just don’t want to get in trouble with CC fraud. I don’t need this.

  52. UpsetPanda says:

    When I worked retail, the store CC was only available for people 18 and over, so when someone obviously under 18 came in and had the store CC, we made sure to check ID. In most cases it’s mom or dad’s card, and we’d actually deny sale because it obviously wasn’t theirs. I didn’t feel bad about denying a 13 year old a sale, seeming I worked at a popular chain of undergarment stores.

  53. morganlh85 says:

    It has always seemed like a strange rule to me — I WANT stores to check for ID so they can verify someone hasn’t stolen my credit card! In addition, there is nothing more suspicious to me than a customer who won’t provide ID for their credit card.

  54. bohemian says:

    @misteral: Exactly. I got harassed to show ID at Lowes by a check out person. I could have done the transaction at the self checkout and saved myself the snotty attitude and accusation that I am a criminal.

    So that is kind of my solution at least at Lowes. Either use self check out or better yet buy somewhere they don’t treat me like crap.

  55. Edjamacator says:

    On the back of my credit card, instead of my signature, I have “ASK FOR ID.” I want them to, but they usually don’t.

  56. krom says:

    What he says doesn’t wash for me, because:

    1. Self-scan registers at supermarkets and elsewhere (e.g. HD) don’t ask you to show an ID to anyone.
    2. The increasing number of drive-thrus (Starbucks and McDonalds etc.) that don’t even require a signature at all.
    3. Online retailers don’t need proof of ID (then again, they don’t seem to need much).
    4. How does he show the merchant bank the video proof? Save to VHS and ship it back? Does his merchant bank have some kind of video upload website? Is there some poor schmuck back at the bank that has to FF through the video and identify the register and time matching the transaction?

    I did a Google on “retrieval request” and came up with this FAQ on retrieval requests from Moneris, a CC processor. It doesn’t mention anything about needing to see video proof of an ID check.

    The required elements to fulfill a Retrieval Request are: card number, cardholder name, transaction date, transaction amount, authorization number, merchant name and location, and cardholder signature (if available).

    Also, nothing mentioning video evidence (or even ID checking at all) on the relevant FAQs from Ballistic Merchant Services, nor at Bank Card USA, nor at Wells Fargo.

    And of course this doesn’t wash because of this previous C-ist post.

  57. tsunamibombsquad says:

    what happened to that like happy days’esque sign that said, owner may refuse business to anyone!…wtf

  58. jdsmn says:

    How about this? If you don’t want to get carded, bring cash. Done. You maybe even be able to ask for a 3% discount, due to the fact that there are no fees on a cash transaction.

    I do want to know – why can’t CC companies make a card with a picture on it? WOuldn’t that take care of every problem listed in this thread?

  59. cwsterling says:

    quick question, can you show any form if ID, in another related article they mentioned trying to show their school id and that being rejected. I know that my school id has my name on it as well as a picture. So is there any reason to not accept a school id?

  60. sven.kirk says:

    @shadowkin: You are missing a key word key word in in that last sentence.
    That word, make this rule up to the retailers discretion. It is a gray word giving the retailer an option on enforcing that rule.

  61. timsgm1418 says:

    a store that I go to fairly often checks id’s with cc transactions, and they always apologize for it. My opinion is I’m glad they do, I would rather have a slight inconvenience then a bunch of charges on my card by someone else. Sadly most of the cashiers at this store are in their teens and I’m sure they are as annoyed by it as anybody, and probably don’t do more than just glance anyway, so really they don’t want to be doing this, they are told they have to.

  62. timsgm1418 says:

    same here, even though my signature is unreadable, most stores never check id@Edjamacator:

  63. eco says:

    I find it highly odd that people complain about showing their ID when they wish to purchase something with their credit card. Yes, there is the off chance that people will “steal” your identity, but in all honesty, it’s done to protect the consumer and the merchant.

    When I used to work in retail people thanked me for asking for ID and complained how other stores never checked for ID when they were purchasing items with their credit card.

    Now I work at a bank and things still haven’t changed. Would you rather have them ask YOU for your ID or not ask anyone who may have stolen your card for ID?

  64. dallasmay says:

    I Personally thank a Checker when I get carded. In fact I have “Ask for Photo I.D.” Written on the back of my card in place of the Signature -And I have noticed more people asking for my ID. This makes me feel safer using my card.

    Thank you anonymous retailer for checking IDs before charging my card.

  65. eskimo81 says:

    As an assistant manager at a retailer that sells big ticket items, I can speak from experience that getting ID is an effective way to protect ourselves.

    If a scammer makes a purchase with a fraudulent card, when the real cardholder finds out, they issue a chargeback, and we lose the money for that sale, unless we can show that we’ve taken reasonable steps to prevent fraud.

    The only way we’ve ever successfully fought a chargeback was in a case where we were presented with a card we later learned was forged and an ID we later learned was also fake.

    If you have a problem showing me ID when making a large purchase on a credit card, you should be prepared to pay either by cash or debit card, as I am not backing down on that.

    My store will continue to ask for ID on large credit card purchases, as in doing it for over 4 years, we’ve only ever had two people walk out without making a purchase because they were asked for ID. And in both cases they were exhibiting some of the other warning signs of potential fraud.

    By that I mean:
    a) Making their purchase based solely on which item has the highest price and is most readily available.
    b) Asking few to no questions about the machines actual capabilities or features.
    c) Adding on high ticket accessories on what seems to be a whim.
    d) Evaluating suggested accessories based only on how readily they are available.
    e) Trying to rush the associate through the sales process.
    f) Parking in another parking lot and walking across the street to enter our store.
    g) Exhibiting body language indicative of being in a high-stress situation.

    None of these things are proof that someone is up to no good, but you start to see one or more of them, it’s time to get suspicious an ask for the ID. I’ve had legitimate customers exhibit some of these signs, but every fraud I’ve witnessed has had one or more.

    We’ve asked for ID from thousands of customers, and had 2 refuse, and as such, we will not be changing our policy on it without some guarantee from the credit card companies that we will not be held responsible for frauds, which they refuse to give us.

    Privacy concerns are a very complicated issue. In order to verify someone’s who they say they are, you have to be presented with everything you’d need to steal their identity.

    If an individual presents that information to the wrong person, they will become the victim of identity theft. But if you don’t ask for that ID you’ll open yourself up to even more potential fraud.

    You’re legally not required to give anyone your SIN number, and many security advocates advise you to keep it private. If you give it out, someone unscrupulous may get ahold of it, but if you don’t give it out, it can’t be used to verify that you are who you say you are.

  66. balthisar says:

    I show my ID mostly because it’s a hell of a lot easier, and there’s not a good reason not to do so. But… that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the right not to do so.

    For everyone that’s arguing “just show your ID,” go ahead and be sheep.

  67. pmcpa says:

    Yep, I can comment. Many people lately DON’T sign their cards anymore. People say it’s safer, It’s not. Now anyone can sign the back of it. Anyway, When someone hands me a non signed card, I ask for signature ID. According to VS/MC/DS/AMEX, I should refuse that card and not even ask for id. READ THE BACK OF YOUR CARDS PEOPLE. Most will say something like “CARD IS NOT VALID UNLESS SIGNED.” We also hold onto the customer card until the slip is signed, and watch while signing. If the signatures don’t match, it’s not a valid sale. If you refuse to sign your card, Write “ASK FOR ID” but be ready to show it!

  68. Kenneth says:

    Pay cash, or don’t bitch, or get a card with your picture on it.

  69. Nickzor says:

    I don’t get why you guys are so reluctant to show your id. If you give them the credit card, then they already have your name, so the only thing they could get is a old picture of you, your eye color, your hair color, and thats about it. So I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

  70. cloudedice says:

    I found this, which may or may not be a page linking to the Canadian AmEx merchant agreement. After skimming it, I didn’t see a clause about requiring identification. They did have a clause stating that the merchant agreement is not to be shared with any third party.

    The link above is to their Online Merchant Application, which contains a link to the merchant agreement. They apparently have an Internal Merchant Application which you can only access if you sign up with an account. I’m assuming that the above link is pointing to the Canadian site based on the link in the upper left hand corner stating “Canada Home.”

  71. jamesmusik says:

    I think the problem stems from the fact that most merchants do not actually sign up with Visa or Mastercard, but through credit card processing companies. The Visa and Mastercard merchant agreements technically still apply to them, but since they’re going through a third party, all their info comes from them, including their added, ridiculous requirements, like the OP’s. See the rules for Visa merchants and the Mastercard rules.

  72. Fusioned says:

    Sounds reasonable. If a customer has a problem showing ID with a credit card, they need to grow the fuck up.

  73. Flame says:

    Ya know, the only problem I have ever had with the showing the ID thing is when the sales lady watched me swipe the card, sign the thing, put the card away, put my wallet back in my purse, wait a few minutes, and THEN told me she needed the card and the ID. At that point, I was a bit miffed. But, if you catch me before I put it away, then I don’t care.

  74. heyimbobo says:

    You know what — if you don’t want to play with the big boys, accept cash only. Other than that, I have no sympathy for you. Accept my card with my signature, or forfeit the sale. It’s as easy as that.

  75. Buran says:

    @eskimo81: What happened to the person who demanded their money back, then got told that they were out the money anyway? Did you (or anyone else) give them their money back when, I presume, they stormed into your store and demanded the manager and looked nothing like the picture on the fake ID? For the kind of money you pay for a TV these days I sure would have done so, and sued you if that failed.

  76. lovelygirl says:

    hmm that explains the recent annoyances I’ve faced when shopping. When I was at Forever21 and the cashier asked for ID w/my debit card, I figured she thought I looked too young to have a debit card, and she wanted to know if it was my mother’s or something. I just said ‘I never have had to’, and didn’t show it.

    @Kenneth, not everyone CAN get a card with their picture on it. That makes me really mad, along with some states making photo IDs required to vote. Not everyone lives close enough to a DMV to walk there, and it can be a struggle to get transportation to go to a DMV if you live in a relatively rural area. Also, many people, especially city-dwellers don’t have driver licenses or permits, which is the most common photo ID required. If they live in the city, they don’t need to drive. Plus, the fees to apply for a license or even just a plain photo ID from the DMV can be very high. Not everyone can afford that! I just got my permit last month and it cost about $50-70. Not everyone can afford to spend 50 bucks just to get a photo ID so they can buy necessary clothes for their kids. And passports are even more expensive, and it’s not even a good idea to carry your passport around. I’m 18, and I always planned to not get a drivers license for some time because I wouldn’t be getting a car and I’d feel too paranoid using my parents’, so I wouldn’t ever be driving anyway. I also planned to go to college in the city, therefore I have no use for a drivers license. My mother always encouraged me to get my license just so I could have it for ID and I found that I needed an ID to go out with my friends, so I had to get my permit. Not everyone is able to get a photo ID, and so the practice is discriminatory against the poor!

  77. lovelygirl says:

    I do think that it’s good to protect the consumer from identity theft, but I don’t give a damn about the retail establishment. NOT EVERYONE HAS AN ID! NOT EVERYONE CAN GET ONE! You cannot deny those people their right to shop! I can totally put myself in that position because just last month I got an ID. It was a hassle and an embarrassment every time I went out somewhere and someone asked for my ID, and I had to insist that I didn’t have one to give them even if I wanted to.

  78. mac-phisto says:


  79. SplitCalyx says:

    Oops, I guess I’ve breached a merchant agreement to flirt. Working at Starbucks, this really good looking guy got a latte and presented a card with the name of Karen on it. I asked for ID just to get his name!

    They didn’t match at all, but I still rang it up. “Thanks Karen, have a great day!”

  80. mac-phisto says:

    avoiding a chargeback as a merchant is actually quite easy. in fact, there are only a few steps:
    1) obtain authorization thru visa per their operating guidelines
    2) obtain signature from cardholder
    3) match signature on slip or computerized screen to signature on card

    congratulations! you’ve avoided a chargeback!

  81. renegadebarista says:


    I’m really not trying to sound like a smartass here, but in what cases can a someone who is not a legal resident, or her legally, not get an ID?

  82. mac-phisto says:

    just in case you need help, here’s the visa merchant book to help you out (check page 20 for an easy-to-follow pictogram in case reading fundamentals aren’t central to your managerial skill set).

  83. mac-phisto says:

    forgot link to guide -> []

    (sorry about the spam posts)

  84. TheMenace says:

    My credit card signature says: Ask For Photo ID.
    I never have been.

  85. mycroft2000 says:

    I must say I’m a little surprised by all the ID-asking out there. Is this an American thing? Here in Canada, I’ve not once in my life been asked to show ID for a CC purchase, even ones for thousands of dollars.

  86. CafeSilver says:

    Video proof? Yeah, cause every merchant has surveillance cameras trained on every register and recording every second of every day. Give me a break. The owner of the card and the card company are responsible for the card, not the merchant.

    I am a hotel manager, we NEVER check guests’ ID, it makes them feel uncomfortable. When I pay for something with my credit card, my principles are to not show them my ID. A lot of the times if I am in a rush or don’t feel like saying no and possibly entering into an argument I will just flash it in front of them and they say that’s fine, but I won’t hand it over for them to inspect. I am who I say I am. It’s a sad state of affairs when we start to just assume that everyone is guilty. The fact is, it is a small percentage of people who steal identities and they are clever enough to figure out how to use someone else’s credit card regardless of some register jockey checking IDs. Don’t make the majority feel like thieves just to try and apprehend the minority. They have it very backwards.

  87. Megladon says:

    @hillsrovey: so long as the guys checking are not writing anything down like they used to I wouldnt and never have a problem with having them ask for id, infact on the back of all of my cards it is signed “CHECK ID”. I’m protecting myself first from having something happen should the card somehow go missing. Sadly about 1 in 4 people ask for my id even after they see the back.

  88. Veeber says:

    @misteral: At least when you order online they usually require a physical address and not a PO box. If they wanted to investigate they can start with your shipping address and work from there.

    I would imagine that the self checkout machines are under video monitoring, so that may help protect them. I’m sure someone worked out a cost/benefit analysis for those machines which included possible fraud.

  89. camman68 says:

    @Fusioned: I guess none of the people who think merchants should be allowed to require ID use “pay-at-the-pump” stations. Should these be discontinued? Overall, they are probably a greater risk for fraud. I think a dishonest person would be more comfortable using one of these than they would be to walk in and present a card in person.

  90. jenny79 says:

    @LOVELYGIRL – Where do you live? Since you refer to the city I’m assuming NY. I belive every state has what are called Non-Drivers IDs which are cheap. Per the NY state DMV web site they cost between $9 – $14 for 4 – 9 year [] Also, you need ID to open a checking account, get a job, get on a plane and generally have a life.

    Also, while I applaud your decision not to get a DL (I was 21, living on my own and working FT before I got one) if you can get one now you may want to. Just because you have one doesn’t mean you have to use it but if you don’t have one and need to get one fast (because you are moving out of the city) it might end up being much harder to get one.

  91. eskimo81 says:


    The first I got word of the issue was when the cardholder called me and asked me what had happened.

    When we investigated the issue, and I communicated back to the cardholder what had happened. The customer called VISA to tell them of the fraud, and VISA contacted us regarding the chargeback.

    When we argued with VISA, we explained to them the steps we took to prevent the fraud and they agreed that we could have done nothing more to prevent the fraud, and we were not held liable for the charge.

    I communicated this to the cardholder as well, and she kept in contact with me throughout her dealings with VISA.

    She received word back from VISA that they were not going to issue the chargeback and that she would be responsible for the charges, but she fought them on it, and eventually they bit the bullet and VISA lost on the transaction (or at least VISA’s insurance company did).

    We also worked with the police in filing all the appropriate reports, and they actually managed to apprehend and charge the fraudster. I don’t know if VISA’s fraud department ever recovered their money, but neither my company or the customer got screwed and the perpetrator did get caught.

    I was scheduled to testify at his trial, but a few days before I got a call to tell me that a plea bargain was reached and he wouldn’t be going on trial.

  92. barfoo says:

    @camman68: Your logic leaps rather far. I think merchants should be allowed to check ID, but if they don’t want to–as at gas stations –they don’t have to. And gas stations are not the best place for fraudsters: there’s not a big resale market for tankfuls of gasoline, and they tend to be well-covered by cctv (which can see your license plate).

  93. eskimo81 says:


    It sounds like we’re in agreement. I’m refusing the sale because you won’t provide ID, you’re refusing the sale because I’m requiring ID.

    If we can’t agree on the terms of the sale, then we shouldn’t be doing business together anyways, and I wish you all the best shopping elsewhere.

    The amount that I lose from your sale not going through, is nothing compared to the amount that I would lose to fraud if I started accepting the cards without ID.

  94. mathew says:

    @defiant1, @EDJAMACATOR, @dallasmay:

    Congratulations, petty crooks, you’re defrauding retailers by managing to pass off an invalid card on them.

    You see that text on the back of the card that says it’s not valid unless signed? It’s not a joke. The signature is necessary to show that you accept the terms of the card agreement. Quoting Visa’s rules for merchants:

    “While checking card security features, you should also make sure that the card is signed. An unsigned card is considered invalid and should not be accepted. If a
    customer gives you an unsigned card, the following steps must be taken: […] Ask the customer to sign the card. The card should be signed within your
    full view, and the signature checked against the customer’s signature on the ID. A refusal to sign means the card is still invalid and cannot be accepted. […] If the cardholder refuses to sign the card, and you accept it, you may end up with
    financial liability for the transaction should the cardholder later dispute the charge. […] “See ID” or “Ask for ID” is not a valid substitute for a signature. The customer must sign the card in your presence, as stated above.”

    Page 29.

  95. norwegiangeek says:

    Doesn’t the merchant agreement only mean that the retailer can not refuse to accept the credit card as payment for the transaction?

    There is no way that Visa can dictate whether or not the transaction is completed.

    A retailer can refuse to sell something to anybody at any time for any reason. If the retailer decides they won’t sell you that item, that’s it, sales over.

    It may be bad Customer Service, but it’s still their right. There is no law mandating that if a customer has an item in their hand that the store has to sell it to them.

    Unless i’m wrong, eh?

    So in this case, the customer refuses to show ID and becomes agitated and starts speaking loudly and refering to “merchant agreements” and so forth, the store can just decide that this customer is being disruptive and cancel the transaction and have them leave the building.

  96. ben1711 says:

    Am I the only one calling shennanigans on the poster…are you telling me Visa/Amex/whoever can demand video evidence from every mom/pop store who accepts plastic. Sounds to me like corporate of “Mystery-Big Retailer” could have possible made some sort of odd deal allowing the CC company to request video proof…eh, you know what…shenannigans!!!

  97. forgottenpassword says:

    Looks like the merchant’s problem is with the credit card company & their practices….. NOT the customer. The credit card companies ARE pure evil (I admit that!) & have all agreements & policies that are in their favor. I wouldnt be suprised if the credit card companies are doing these “retreival requests” just to get back money & not on behalf of any customers.

    I will say again…. credit card companies ARE pure evil. I doubt anyone would dispute that.

    Btw… I hate being treated like a petty thief when some clerk asks for my id when its for less than 25 bucks. If I didnt fear getting banned from a store… i’d refuse.

  98. mac-phisto says:

    @barfoo: actually, gas stations are frequently used by card thieves. while gas has virtually no resale value, there are strategic reasons they are used:
    1) balance-checking – pumps authorize for a dollar before you can pump gas. a card thief will periodically use them to see if a card still works b/c it is fast & requires zero interaction with personnel.
    2) maximizing profit – typically, a thief will try to buy as much as possible before someone notices the card is stolen, but they have to do so without knowing what their available balance is. when they reach a point where they are repeatedly receiving denials for merchandise, they hit gas stations to squeeze the very last value out of the card.
    3) money is money – while you can’t resell gas, if you are burning around town on a shopping spree, you have to fill up sometime. why use your own money to do so?

  99. Buran says:

    @eskimo81: Thanks for letting me know. I know I would have fought too and outright refused to pay that charge. If the bank wanted the money they’d have to deal with my police report and lawyer.

  100. akilshohen says:

    @cartoa: I’m a waiter, and a cashier at a resturant. I make sure to check the back of the card. If I see no signature or Check ID on the back I ask for ID. I actually found someone trying to use a friends credit card one time.

  101. StevieD says:


    Thank you

  102. forgottenpassword says:

    oh & btw… I dont sign the back of my credit card. I just dont care. I have only ever had one person give me grief for it…. and it was some asswipe cashier in england at a petrol station. I had bought petrol,a drink & a candy bar & this guy just about refused to take payment because I had not signed the back of a card. I showed him my driver’s liciense & my fucking passport & he still gave me shit about it. All the while holding up the line. *Yeah… I came all the way from the US to england to fuck you out of petrol,a drink & a candybar!* I think he was just fucking with me because I am an american. I called him a miserable obstinant prick after he grudgenly accepted payment.

    I had several other dealings with rude people in england. From the customs woman who grilled me on WHY I was visiting (& seemingly got off on doing so) …to some rude woman in dover who insisted on correcting my pronunciation of “micDONalds” to the proper english way of pronouncing it “MACdonald’s” (yeah, the hamburger joint…. I liked the curry chicken mcnugget dipping sauces! … so shoot me! *shrug* )

  103. stauffac says:

    FWIW, I signed the back of my cards “Ask for ID”. If the cashier doesn’t ask for ID, I sign the receipt “Ask for ID”. About 20% of the time, the cashier that didn’t ask for ID will compare the back of the card with the receipt, hand me my purchase, and wish me a good day.

    Since I try to avoid the big-box chains and do business with the locally owned stores, I’m happy to give them ID when I’m making a purchase. I’m glad they won’t let someone else use my card and the prices I pay don’t go up to cover unnecessary losses. Even though I have a card with zero liability for fraudulent charges, if pulling out my ID saves me the headache of catching and reporting a bad charge and dealing with credit card customer service, I’m all for it.

  104. inkdracula says:


    Exactly, People just don’t realize that when you show an ID, that you are protecting BOTH parties involved. Not just yourself.

  105. iqag says:

    To all those who say “use cash or show ID”: Merchants can set conditions on their business, but they can not use Visa’s credit card processing services and make ID a condition of credit card purchases. Authentication by signature is part of the service Visa provides their cardholders. Merchants can comply or go to cash (and maybe Discover and Diner’s Club) only. How much clearer does it need to be for you?

  106. camman68 says:

    So where do you draw the line? $140 to fill up my 38 Ford pickup fuel tank – or should this only apply to a $125 DVD player?

    If the store wants to accept Visa/MasterCard and they have agreed to accept the cards without ID…..

  107. Hitchcock says:

    Scott is full of so much shit its unbelievable. I’ve been in (store level) management at two large chain electronics retailers, and neither had cameras trained on all registers, let alone any way to quickly and easily pull video from a register and some how send it to the credit card processor to “prove” we checked IDs. How ridiculous is that.

  108. ribex says:

    I can’t find a link to any Discover Network merchant agreement similar to the Visa one. Can someone please post a link?

  109. yesteryear says:

    [] this is a hilarious prank that was done to prove that you can sign just about anything on a credit card receipt and it wont matter:


    I was visiting the New England Aquarium a few months back, where I was angry over the ridiculously steep entrance fees to go check out a bunch of fish. I can check out the fish for free at my local supermarket, where they are conveniently packed on ice, making them much easier to see than when they are hiding behind coral and rocks.

    The only way I could think to fight back at the $40 admission charge was to sign my credit card receipt “Shamu.” ‘

  110. SJActress says:

    This would all be fixed if CC companies put your picture on your card.

  111. StevieD says:


    Oops, sorry, signature verification is not sufficient. Too many stupid people don’t sign their cards so the thief just signs the card using his/her standard handwriting and the signature on the sales ticket will match.

    Throw in a photo ID and the crackHo’s have to actually work at using your card. And everybody knows the crackHo’s want to avoid work.

  112. StevieD says:


    Can you tell me which electronic chains don’t have a camera aimed at all the registers?

    My slimy friends want to know.

    BTW, my local bank has the official cameras. You know the ones… that you can see everywhere about the lobby of the bank. And the bank has hidden cameras that I doublt the brank manager have a clue where they exist.

    I wonder how many cameras your electronics chain actually has? Maybe there is one in your office. Keep that in mind the next time you do something you don’t want HR to see.

  113. monkeyboy13 says:

    I had Check ID written on my card (signature wore off) for a full year and only was asked twice for my signature(ironically for small fast food items and not the large tech purchases). I am a white male, mid-twenties.

    When summer came, I shaved my head. That week, I was asked no less than five times. When my hair started growing back in, I wasn’t asked again. (I can only imagine how much worse this effect is on minorities than my shaved head)

    Obviously, retailers need to be able to verify ID to prevent fraud, but leaving it up to each cashier to judge invites profiling. The only fair way to do this is check all IDs or check on all purchases over a set amount or make that credit card companies take the full force of any losses from fraud.

  114. dualityshift says:

    Before anyone jumps on you for your Shamu signature:

    1. Did you pay your CC Bill when it came in?

    2. Did you report the charge as fraudulent?

    If you answered Yes and No respectively, cute. If it was No and the Yes, let the commenters tear you to shreds.

    I’m hoping it was the first.

  115. pmcpa says:

    @forgottenpassword: Wow, so you carry an invalid card, and were pissed and used such nice words for the guy doing his job… You must be so proud and well educated!

  116. Michael Belisle says:

    Here’s a brilliant solution for merchants:

    Ask for ID. If the customer refuses, make a code 10 (suspicious transaction) call to approve the transaction, the recommended action when in doubt.

    Voilà. All agreements are satisfied, The merchant gets to check ID and is protected when the occasional asshole like me refuses. We can rightfully argue the ID, but we can’t argue a code 10 call.

    @stauffac: FWIW, you’re the millionth person to bring this up, and I’m the millionth to issue you the following response.

    “Ask for ID” is not a valid signature. I wish I still worked in retail, so that I could ask you for your ID, and then follow the rules: force you to sign the card in my presence or deny the transaction.

  117. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:


    You sound like a hateful person. I suppose that every person who doesn’t have a “photo ID” available is out to commit fraud on you and all of your camera stores in a 3-mile radius?

    Let’s say I lost my driver license for whatever reason… Lost wallet, lost ID holder, or just lost it because it slipped out of the holder when some clerk required to see the ID to accept a credit card… Now I go to the DMV to get a new license, and for the first month, all I have is a temporary license. You know, a piece of paper from the DMV with my license number, address, and a physical description (height, weight, eye color) but no photo.

    Does this mean that I can’t use my credit card? I have no “Photo ID” but I do have a legitimate license?

    Also, how is some 17-year old clerk going able to tell that a driver license is valid? Are they putting it under a black light to verify the issuing state’s ultraviolet seal? Do they each have a manual that shows the security features of each state’s licenses?

    I am a Notary, and as such, I am required by law to check ID with every notarization. I rely on a black light and ID check guide (for out of state licenses that I am not familiar with) to confirm identity. If I don’t see all the security features, I turn the person away.

    Also, confirmation of ID is a task that even the airports had to turn over to the TSA. If a trained airport security guard can’t be trusted to determine the validity of a license, how can the 17-year old part time clerk at Radio Shack determine a real license from a fake one?

    Here’s the bottom line about chargebacks: If you SWIPE a card (Read: The card was in your hands, and was read by the magnetic strip) and your credit card unit reads “AUTHORIZED” then there is NOTHING — Not even a “lack of signature” that can get you a chargeback. The only risk to a chargeback is when you TYPE the number in (Read: Phone orders, web orders, or the card’s strip was unable to be read by your machine)

    Now, if my wallet was stolen, and someone is using my credit card, then they have a matching ID to go with it. Do you think the kid is really looking at the picture and comparing it to your face? Do they ask you to remove your hat and sunglasses to confirm that the picture is really you? I’ve never seen this done…EVER…. except at the airport. If they stole my wallet, then they have my ID as well, so what good is it anyway?

    Besides, if someone stole my wallet, the credit card would have been cancelled LONG before they had a chance to use it, unless they had me kidnapped and hogtied!

    The BOTTOM LINE is that ID checks are USELESS for a credit card transaction.

  118. Michael Belisle says:

    @forgottenpassword: @pmcpa: Yeah seriously. What part of “not valid without signature” is unclear? I had to deal with a customer like you once:

    Me: I can’t accept this. It says “not valid without signature.”
    Customer: “You have to check my ID.”
    Me: You don’t think a thief will sign the card?”
    Customer: “You’re very rude. Is your manager around?”

    Once again, I wish I knew about the “sign card in my presence” part of the rules.

  119. banks says:

    $100 says “Scott” is fake.

  120. chrishop says:

    What happend to “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”? No ID. No service.

  121. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:


    Good post, I agree 100% If they don’t like the “Signature as authentication” policy Visa has, then DON’T TAKE THE CARD!

  122. Michael Belisle says:

    @dualityshift: You misunderstand: it’s a prank. Check the provided link. It’s one in a series of hilarious credit card pranks.

    My favorite is verifying the identify of the Visa rep:

    VISA: …And for security, I just need your mother’s maiden name?

    JOHN HARGRAVE: [I tell him] And Barry, for security purposes, I also need your mother’s maiden name.

    VISA: Uh … my mother’s maiden name, sir?

    JH: Uh-huh.

    VISA: OK. Uh … please hold for a moment, sir.


  123. RvLeshrac says:


    Keep in mind that the EU has *FAR* stricter requirements than the US on card payments.

    You’re lucky that they even allowed you to pay without a C&P.

    As far as the customs agent goes, you’ve obviously never been a foreign visitor to the US. An old boss of mine married a brazilian girl shortly before we pissed off the entire country by requiring that they all be fingerprinted upon and as a condition of entry into the US.

    She wanted to visit her parents, having just been married, so they went to Brazil for their honeymoon. Despite her having a valid passport and visa, the asswipes in the US refused to allow her to re-enter the US.

    Eventually, after around six months of back-and-forth with a senator, she was finally given clearance to re-enter the country.

    For another story, take my stepfather. A red-blooded hard-core far-right Nixon-and-McCarthy conservative who thinks the US is the greatest country that has ever existed and will ever exist, and that our current government can do absolutely no wrong. He took a trip to Japan on business, came back, and said that the only bad part of his trip was returning to the surly idiots here.

    He asked one of our ‘friendly’ and ‘helpful’ airport security personnel where he needed to go for boarding his first connection after re-entering the US. The ‘kind’ guard pointed to the gate and said nothing about the fact that my stepfather was carrying a rolling suitcase. Stepdad doesn’t fly very often, so he thought nothing of taking it up the escalator, where he was immediately swarmed by security demanding to know how he got through with the bag, where he was going, what he was doing, his identification and his passport. He simply pointedly told them that the guard down the escalator told him that he needed to go up the escalator to reach his connecting flight, and that if they wanted him to take the luggage somewhere else first they needed to either tell him that BEFORE they sent him to the boarding gate or piss off.

    He noted that it was a marked departure from the treatment he was given in Japan, where even the businessman in the airport who barely spoke any english walked him all the way to his gate and thanked him “for allowing of me to help,” just because he had a conversation with the man along the way.

  124. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:


    Yeah, good luck with that. “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” “No ID, No Service”

    Well, how about “No White-colored Skin, No Service”

    How does that work for you? It doesn’t? Gee, I wonder why? But they reserve the right to refuse service to ANYONE.

    Good luck with that argument.

  125. RvLeshrac says:

    @Michael Belisle:

    If you are not given a code by the terminal, a call like that will result in a charge to your merchant account.

  126. RvLeshrac says:


    I know of a half-dozen locations in my store where the cameras don’t reach. No effort has been made to add cameras to the “dark” areas, but a tiny minority of loss occurs in those places. Shoplifters really just don’t care about cameras.

  127. JohnA says:

    This is complete crap. The networks go out of their way to side with the merchant if they can document their processes of verifying signatures. The problem the whiner mentions is that since they do not regularly verify signatures against cards, they are penalized. Which is true. Were they to verify signatures against cards, they would have ZERO liability against fraudulently signed cards. As one CC exec puts it, we trust the signature, if the merchant doesn’t, then they are on their own.

  128. Michael Belisle says:

    @RvLeshrac: Wait, it costs the merchant money to be cautious? If man comes in and says “My name is Laura Bush”, it’ll cost the merchant money to verify his identity since the terminal didn’t say anything?

    I need documentation to believe that. The rules just say “if you suspect fraud, make a code 10 call.” “When something doesn’t look right, … make a code 10 call.”

    But the rules don’t cover fees.

  129. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:


  130. CSUSam says:

    The merchant agreements do ask for it. My mom was Vice President of a large bank in Colorado for five years after working her way up from teller, and now she owns a spa. On both sides of that, she has told me continuously that it is a violation of a merchant agreement to ask for an ID if a card is signed. If a card isn’t signed, you are supposed to either keep it or not accept it.

    Also, as of a few years ago, my dad works at Visa. Before that, at Colorado National Bank before it was bought by US Bank and he was laid off. He says the same thing. He has a lot of criticisms for how credit card companies work, and that is one he uses a lot.


  131. D-Bo says:

    For all the “who cares if they ask you/ you don’t like it pay cash” commenters. Try ignoring one of the provisions of your cardholder agreement with Visa/MC adn see how quickly the card issuer is all over you for it. To that end the merchants need to be held up to their agreements as well, regardless of their policies or the whim of random employees.

  132. Michael Belisle says:

    I just remembered the initial reason, a long time ago, why asking for ID started to annoy me:

    Back when debit was just hitting the big time, Visa invested a lot of money in their advertising campaign that pushed “no id required” as a benefit of using debit over checks. So when I get asked for an ID with a credit/debit card, I feel like I’ve been lied to.

  133. CityGuySailing says:

    I do not have a problem “showing” ID. It’s when the stupid Point-Of-Sale computers require the stupider employees to enter my Drivers License number into the computer to complete the transaction that I get upset and say “NO, don’t do that.” They then say that they have to, and I then say to “make up a number.” They refuse, I tell them the story of Identity Theft (Name, DL#, CC# all in the same transaction record in the same computer) and they still refuse to make up a number, in which case, I walk away. No Sale. The stupider employees SEE me, they SEE my photo ID and they STILL insist on not agreeing to my terms to complete the transaction. I could care less about what THEY (the store) wants. If they want MY money, they agree to MY terms, or I vote with my feet.

  134. nacio says:

    i suspect this being a rogue post and that this isn’t really a merchant… especially not one that has his merchant agreements on hand.

  135. nacio says:

    @Michael Belisle: only time they can verify ID is for checks and for credit cards cash advance.

  136. jwissick says:

    @bearymore: With your ID number memorized, I can really take over your life. That’s why you should NEVER show ID when paying with a card. Memorizing your 6-7 digit ID number is easy.. (and some states use your SSN as their ID number on licenses.) A thief using your credit card number is NOT ID theft.. it’s fraud. Using your info to get a card of my own in your name is ID theft… two different things. Showing ID at purchase promotes ID theft.

  137. nacio says:

    @stauffac: right the five minutes it takes to report fraudulent charges that probably happen because you shows off your personal information for no reason when you didn’t have it.. it’s crazy that the internet merchants are probably safer then the streets.

  138. jwissick says:

    PEOPLE! With just your ID number a thief (underpaid clerk) can STEAL your life. All it takes is a moment of “checking your ID and credit card” to memorize the ID number… then from there they can gather more info about you then steal your ID totally. NEVER show ID to a clerk. It simply is not worth the risk. Remember, a driver’s license has all of the information a thief needs to steal your identity. Carefully protect copies of your driver’s license and license number!

  139. jaewon223 says:

    It’s funny how concerned people are over identity theft and about something silly as showing your ID for a legitimate purchase. Is the clerk with the photographic memory going to remember your ID and use it later on? Highly unlikely.. Yet most people don’t have any qualms about handing a food server their credit card or putting personal information on social networking sites such as Facebook.

    This should be a non-issue. Checking ID is mutually beneficial. If someone has my credit card I would want merchants to check his ID, and I’m sure retailers want to protect themselves as well.

  140. m4nea says:

    @Happy13178: 99 times out of 100, if the person isn’t a DICK HEAD, they will show ID if they aren’t a thief.

  141. coreyander says:

    To all the people who write “see ID” or a variant on their credit cards:

    The major credit card companies (Visa and MC) specifically instruct their merchants not to accept cards lacking a signature unless the consumer provides identification and signs the back of the card.

    And don’t even tell me that “see ID” is a signature… unless that’s also the signature on your driver’s license

  142. Michael Belisle says:

    @nacio: Are you responding to the right post? I never disputed that. I commend you for talking to the manager and taking it up with Steve Jobs.

    But if you are talking to me, the start of that thread invoked the same page 29: “Although Visa rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID, merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance.”

    So they can ask whenever they want. And you’re supposed to be able to choose. In practice, it’s like boarding an airplane: You are not required to show ID, but it’s a lot easier to comply if you have your ID on hand.

    I have no problem with the additional screening, so I wish Apple had called your bank like you suggested.

  143. Michael Belisle says:

    @nacio: Oh and I invoked “If you are suspicious about the transaction or feel you need additional information to insure the identity of the cardholder, make a Code 10 call” later on page 29.

    It’s perfect solution, straight from Visa. Ask, if customer refuses (which can understandably be construed as suspicious), the merchant can make a code 10 call.

    So I, like you, wish they would follow the rules they agreed to.

  144. Need-More-RWHP says:

    Dear Scott,
    Please support your claim. Here is support for my claim you can NOT require ID.

    “9.11.2 Cardholder Identification
    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,
    except as specifically permitted or required by the Standards.”(MasterCard Rules p.48)

    Yes, I’m aware there is a “unique transaction” exception, but most merchants do not need to worry about this as this does not apply to them.

    “For unique transactions processed in a face-to-face environment (with the
    exception of truck stop transactions and card-read transactions where a
    non-signature CVM is used), request personal identification of the
    cardholder in the form of an unexpired, official government document.
    Compare the signature on the personal identification with the signature on
    the card.” (p.72)

    What constitutes unique transaction?
    Money Transfer, Quasi Cash, Gambling Transactions, Truck Stop Transactions and Remote Stored Value Load (MasterCard Chargeback Guide p.119-120)

    “When should you ask a cardholder for an official government 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.”(Rules for Visa Merchants, p.29)

    So, this sums up the official policies from respective companies on identification policy. If you insist otherwise, PLEASE provide it and cite the source.

    Works Cited

    Chargeback Guide. MasterCard International, 2006. 118-119. 21 Feb. 2008 .

    Merchant Rules Manual. MasterCard International, 2005. 48+. 21 Feb. 2008 .

    Rules for Visa Merchants. Visa USA, Inc, 2007. 29. 21 Feb. 2008 .

  145. Rachacha says:

    Several people have asked what the problem is with just simply showing your ID…Just look at the Visa commercials ([]), does anyone show ID there, life does not run as smoothly if you have to stop, pull out your wallet, pull your ID out of your wallet, hand your ID to the clerk so the clerk can look at my photo I had taken before I had my Gastric bypass surgery and lasic eye surgery, and had my black hair dyed brown (so I now am 200 lbs lighter and don’t wear glasses with a different hair color). So now I don’t look anything like my photo ID, but chances are 50/50 that my photo will be accepted (proving that photo ID checking is worthless), or it will be wrongly denied (meaning that my card will be percieved as stolen and confiscated), so who wins now?

  146. @Happy13178:

    sure they can deny the sale, any retailer can.

  147. JustAGuy2 says:

    Bad idea. From the credit card company’s point of view, that’s like not leaving the card unsigned. If there’s fraud, and they find out that your card is unsigned, you’re responsible 100%.

  148. sabrinad says:

    @mathew: Interesting. I had that happen to me, once, with a card I’d forgotten to sign. I’ve always thought that it was really ridiculous for her to have asked me to sign it there instead of simply refusing it — what, a thief in possession of a stolen card is going to balk at making up a signature of my name? — and I guess I still do, but at least it’s required ridiculousness, so she wasn’t, just, like, inventing the stupidity herself.

    I’m with many of the other posters. I thank the cashiers that ask me for ID. I’m assuming some risk to give them the ID, that the cashier might record my personal data and steal my identity, but I think it’s somewhat more likely that someone steals my wallet and goes to a gas station with it, so I’ll gamble in favor of preventing the more likely theft…and keep checking my credit reports.

  149. BearTack says:

    I don’t believe this guys claim about being required to show video of an ID check, or his claim that the merchant is responsible after a charge has been accepted by the CC company in any case of fraud.

  150. jenl1625 says:

    @defiant1: It’s all in the details. When I run out at lunch to the mall across the street to pick up one little thing at Radio Shack, it’s incredibly convenient to just shove my debit card in my pocket and not haul along my whole purse. To have Radio Shack tell me I can’t buy my $10 item because I don’t have my driver’s license – despite having my STATE employee ID that has my name and a photo – that’s annoying, and I don’t think I’m in any way ridiculous to say so.

  151. JustAGuy2 says:


    That’s very nice. You’re breaking a legal agreement with your credit card companies, however.

    I will not show you my ID when I purchase with a credit card. If you refuse to sell to me, I will file a complaint with Visa. They will slap you down.

    Check the card signature against the receipt. That’s your fraud protection. If you don’t like that, don’t take credit cards.

  152. qwickone says:

    @TinkishDelight: Regardless of the ID for purchases issue, it’s probably not a good idea to be walking around with no identification…

  153. bgrigson says:

    This is a hot topic and we need to get some investigative journalism involved to reveal both sides of this puzzle. Just my opinion, but it looks like we are taking a wiki approach here and it would be nice to have the big four chime in with an official statement. Plus, is it not possible that local/state law differences may preclude the optimal situation the big four suggest in their agreements?

  154. rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

    In any case, just go to Guadalajara in Mexico, and use your CC. Every average joe manning the register will ask for ID. All retail down here has a valid photo ID as a requirement for accepting CC.

  155. qwerty017 says:

    They can’t make you show ID because an ID is not required to recieve a credit card.

  156. winter_in_asia says:


    If the consumer refuses to show ID, I’m sure the retailer can simply exercise their right to “refuse service to anyone” based on some other minor factor. Just because the CC companies won’t let them refuse a transaction based on this, doesn’t mean that they can’t find another reason not to complete it if they don’t want to.

  157. mac-phisto says:


    Oops, sorry, signature verification is not sufficient. Too many stupid people don’t sign their cards so the thief just signs the card using his/her standard handwriting and the signature on the sales ticket will match.

    Throw in a photo ID and the crackHo’s have to actually work at using your card. And everybody knows the crackHo’s want to avoid work.

    oops, sorry. you really have no idea what you’re talking about here. the whole point of signing your card when you receive it like the goddamn sticker tells you to do is so that someone else can’t sign it. but guess what – even if you don’t comply & someone else signs it, the merchant is STILL NOT LIABLE!

    see, there’s these things called interchange fees. in the pre-VISA days, these were typically called extortion fees. the merchant pays the fees & as long as they hold up their side of the agreement (see afore-mentioned “easy-to-follow steps”), they are not liable for a fraudulent transaction. with VISA’s zero liability policy, the cardholder is also not liable. VISA is never liable. guess who that leaves? if you guessed the card issuer, you were right! they receive the bulk of the extortion…err…interchange fees (VISA skims a bit off the top like a good racketeer) & these are designed to offset the cost of fraudulent transactions. take a percentage of every transaction to cover the bad ones. sound familiar? it should – it’s how most insurance works.


    Can you tell me which electronic chains don’t have a camera aimed at all the registers?

    radioshack, for one.

  158. bethanyp07 says:

    I’ve worked at about every store in the mall there is (thank God I escaped to a cubicle). By far, the worst group is the people who leave the signature line blank. BLANK! They figure that way they HAVE to ask for ID. Guess what? The card is nto valid! At least write SEE ID or CHECK ID on it with a Sharpie people! Some dummy can steal your card and sign it any way they please and then what good does a blank card do you? Like a clerk working for minimum wage and even lower appreciation cares about credit card safety.

  159. DoctorMD says:

    Funny there is a thing called a PIN. They should institute those for credit cards also, instead of a stupid signature agreeing to something I already agreed to.

    Also they could put your picture on the card as one of mine does. (Love it when they still want to see ID.) If they did those 2 things offline CC fraud would pretty much go away.

  160. threeoutside says:

    Now I AM confused. I, too, heeded the advice of many financial experts both online and at my credit union, and wrote “ASK FOR ID” inplace of my signature on the back of my Visa card. As others have said, I want them to ask but they usually don’t. However, I got stern lectures from the guy behind the counter at the U.S. Post Office – twice! He claimed that the information I had been given was faulty, and implied I was lucky he agreed to accept my credit card for payment. I finally wrote my signature, very lightly, across the Sharpie-penned “ASK FOR ID.” You can HARDLY see it, but it seemed to satisfy Mr. USPS. But now I’m wondering – DOES writing that instead of your signature invalidate your card?

  161. johnva says:

    @Michael Belisle: Refusing to show ID is in no way suspicious.

    A similar situation is that it doesn’t make you a likely terrorist if you refuse to show ID at the airport. It just makes you someone who probably cares about privacy more than most. The difference there is that they are empowered not to let you fly as a result (by secret, classified “laws”). But I don’t think they can arrest you, even at the airport, for refusing to show ID, because it is not suspicious just to refuse to show identification.

  162. gp5548 says:

    I also do that, since I was once a victim of credit card theft, now none of my cards has a signature, instead I have written with a marker pen, “CHECK ID”, and when they ask for ID verification I thank them, if they don’t check the card I ask them to check the card again and tell me what it says. It’s a good idea to not sign your card and to allow the store to request it. No big brother here, just common sense in a world where ID theft is rampant.

  163. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Someone at a credit card company needs to confirm/deny the whole “we need video evidence of you checking the ID”.

    It’s never bothered me to show ID and it won’t unless the cashier tries to record any information off of my ID (Apple thread). That’s never happened with my card though; that’s the kind of bullshit they insist on doing if you have to write a check. A commentor in the Apple thread said that someone tried to make them show ID when using their card as debit. This would also make me upset because debit cards require a PIN. The “I” stands for Identification. Since I’m the only person that’s supposed to know it the PIN should be enough to prove it’s my card.

  164. DoctorMD says:

    I don’t understand why people think not signing a card protects your identity. Please fill me in.

  165. yesteryear says:

    @Michael Belisle: that prank is hilarious. i also recommend his superbowl prank… that one is incredible.

    as far as all of the privacy rights people out there who want to protect their identities by not providing ID… i’m just not feeling you. if you are so concerned about ‘the man’ knowing about your spending habits, don’t use a credit card. do you really think that information is going to some database maintained by monks? i don’t have data on this, but i would imagine more ID theft originates in the customer service/data management departments of credit card companies where they have access to your personal information for much longer than the 10 seconds it takes to write down your DL #, than in stores where they have but a few seconds.

    and about those commercials that show the person who does NOT use his visa holding up the line and making life awful for everyone else. i see this as security loss in the name of convenience.

    so, don’t show your ID… but don’t complain here when you get a bill for something you didn’t buy and visa doesn’t rectify it in 10 minutes or less. 6 months of disputes vs. 10 seconds of flashing your picture ID? the choice is obvious to me.

  166. statnut says:

    @morganlh85: I sometimes run out to the supermarket with just my card, since its only a block or two away.

  167. mac-phisto says:

    @threeoutside: here’s the thing: it is advantageous to the card issuer if you sign ASK FOR ID or something similar. if they are in possession of the card & can prove that the signature on the slip doesn’t match the signature on the card, they can file a “compliance” case with VISA. this type of case means that the merchant didn’t comply with VISA rules. if VISA rules against the merchant, they will be liable for the purchase amount PLUS stiff penalties for non-compliance.

    so, in short, if you sign ASK FOR ID on your card & sign something else on the slip (& the merchant accepts it for payment), you are passing fraud liability from the card issuer to the merchant.

    smart managers will train their cashiers to follow the acceptance procedure to the letter to avoid this type of cost. stupid managers invest in surveillance equipment instead of employee training, thinking that will save them. WRONG!

  168. mworthen says:

    My BofA card has my picture on it. But of course, I can’t use it now because I opted out of the rate increase. Otherwise, I will gladly show my ID when paying with a credit card. It’s painless.

  169. armour says:

    All I have to say Is I refuse to show my ID for any purchase where the government doesn’t require it PERIOD!!!!!!!!! I refuse to have any one take a copy of my ID for anything Period!!!!!!!! I have be the Victim of identity theft when I was in my early Twenties because I allowed some Retail jockey take my information at a Future shop as condition of a sale for using a credit card. It took my 6 years to clear it up. It almost cost me my job in the military due to the credit issues.

    IT IS MY IDENTY and I will not give my business to any place that treats me like a thief and ask for ID even for cash purchase. I will not show ID or give personal information as a condition of completing a sale where I’m giving them MY money.

    I run my own business and I will not treat my clients like thieves. Yes I’ve had some one use a fake credit card but it is the risk “I” take for giving my customers and clients the convince of using a credit card which benefits me by more business being conducted.

    Some of you people are sheep and until it happens to you will not know the difficulties that affect you by it. Not being able to buy a car, a home. Having to go in person to pay cash to take pay for your flight to take vacation because you can’t even get a credit card. Leaving a huge deposit at a hotel for the same reason. Not being able to rent a car so changing and planning where you go on vacation because of it so you wont need one.

    How many people freely give their ID over to a video rental store, a job application before their even hired? An apartment rental credit check before they even are show the place or chose to live there. Many it seams on here is comfortable in showing it in a retail place where a minimum wage person works the counter with little training and incentive to protect the information you just handed over to them. Your school, your work, ect ect ect ect. What are they doing with YOUR personal information? Who has access to it? What are they doing to protect it? People freely give up so much of their personal information that they are risking some thing more valuable then any thing they could own and that’s their Identity!

    Go a head an be sheep’s and the good retail customer that the industry has moulded you in to being. I will continue to protect my own interests and question the practices of these companies and will take my business else where if I don’t feel comfortable with how the treat me ore any of the personal information that I chose to give them.

    From big to small there are data breaches happening from the Government to local fitness centers loosing computes and data with your information on it. People information that was so freely given and trusted to some one else is being lost on a regular basis. Think about that the next time some one asks for your Drivers licence and SSN and ask why do they need it, what are they going to do with it and how are they protecting this information.

    Think about what would happen if your identity is taken by some one else and you have credit so poor that you couldn’t open a checking account. Think about the next five years can be like. Need to move and rent a new place, good luck , need a new phone line , cell phone, utilities, All the convinces of having a credit card, booking a flight, registering on line for that night school coerce, buying a few downloaded songs. Registering your kids on line for a community program. The list gets very long and difficult to deal with and it’s not some fantasy it’s happening to people every day.

  170. chazz says:

    Most credit cards are not valid if they are not signed.

  171. johnva says:

    @yesteryear: I don’t know where you’re getting this stuff about it taking “6 months” to file a fraud complaint. Like I said in the other thread…I’ve done it twice and spent about a grand total of 5 minutes on it. They only mildly tried to resist, by asking me if I could have made the purchases and forgotten. I just said “absolutely not. I’m 100% positive this is fraud”. And they just instantly credited my account, re-issued me a new card number, and that was the last I heard of it. Maybe it’s worse with different issuers, but my two were with two different credit card companies and they both handled it virtually the same way.

    You do have a bit stronger point about ID theft being more likely elsewhere. This is probably true. But it doesn’t mean that we should just not care about minimizing the release of our personal information. The best security practice is always to limit the release of any sensitive information ONLY to people who “need to know”. A clerk or store does not need to know my DOB, DL#, address, or any of the other data that is on my driver’s license in order to verify and process my credit card transaction according to credit card rules. Therefore, I do not show them my ID.

  172. ianmac47 says:

    I don’t think the problem is so much checking ID, as much as in the case of the previous Apple story, recording personal information into a store’s database. There is no reason for a retailer to keep a copy of a driver’s license number or home address.

  173. NoWin says:

    @ju_ju_eyeball: EXCELLENT deduction. Visa/MasterCard companies are not your bank per say; they are the processing houses’ that work on behalf of the consumer via the consumers bank (the card).

    Being “middle-men”, they have legally figured out the way to cover their butts, never lose a dime, and force the onus of finance on either the consumer OR the merchant, no matter which way the transaction goes (valid or fraudulent).

  174. Difdi says:

    I always refuse to show ID when using my mastercard for transactions where the merchant handles my card. Why? Because with the number on the front, the number on the back, and the data printed on my state-issued ID card, they could impersonate me in online transactions. I take other precautions with my card (spending limit that can’t be exceeded, etc), but preventing someone from having the required data to screw me saves me time on the phone to the credit card company later on. I value my personal time, and dislike wasting it because some retail store clerk somewhere has good memory and more greed than ethics.

  175. xamarshahx says:

    When I used to work at a bank I would get idiots all the time who didn’t want to show their ID. They would ask why or refuse. WE HANDLE YOUR MONEY, THATS WHY! Then they come bitchin when hit by identity fraud.

  176. Black Bellamy says:

    In my American Express terms and conditions, it plainly says “Your American Express card is all the ID you need.”

  177. johnva says:

    @xamarshahx: That’s quite a bit different. In that case, it’s to protect the customers’ own money. In the retail situation with a credit card, I benefit in no way by showing my ID.

  178. TheOtherOtherGuy says:


    I’m a big fan and daily reader and all that, but you sort of dropped the ball with this post. You should have called Visa to clarify the ID situation, or to at least comment on this retailer’s accusations. I don’t think it’s fair to run stories like this without asking each party for a comment.

  179. gingerCE says:

    Check ID. It is such a little thing but can prevent a whole lot. I have had my CC stolen–thousands charged at Bloomingdales. Another friend, card stolen and within an hour hundreds charged at the Gap. A third person had her purse stolen and charged at a local grocery store. Someone I know even had a payroll check stolen and cashed.

    Credit card theft is not a victimless crime. It is a form of identity theft.

  180. unklegwar says:

    Simple. The credit card companies care about their asses, not anyone elses. They don’t want you to check id because that might slow down the sale, or cause a “sale abort”.

    They also don’t want to take the liability for fraudulent charges. This is their system to make sure they get to pocket maximum $$$$, by screwing the merchant.

  181. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Acronym alert!

    You’re lucky that they even allowed you to pay without a C&P.

    @RvLeshrac: What’s a C&P?

  182. JustAGuy2 says:


    It was a credit card. Assuming you reported it promptly, your liability would max out at $50, and could be zero.

    Checking ID helps the store – it has zero benefit for you.

  183. LawyerontheDL says:

    What I find most interesting about the “asking for ID” phenomenon is that I never get asked for ID when buying high ticket items, like computers or televisions. Buying a $10 t-shirt at Steve and Barry’s? EVERY TIME!

  184. gingerCE says:

    @xamarshahx: I bank with Wamu. One time a women in front of me was withdrawing (no deposit) $700. How do I know? She asked me if she filled out the form correctly. I watched as she got to the teller. The teller asked for ID. The woman had none. The teller asked for her debit card. The woman had none. The woman did have a Wamu checkbook but she only flashed the cover, not opening the checkbook to show the checks. The teller hesitated, then gave her the cash. My jaw almost dropped.

    Thankfully another time two people were trying to withdraw money from a bank account using a business card as ID. Just a regular business card with no picture, just words. The teller told them he could not accept a business card as ID. Thankfully they were turned away.

  185. Traveshamockery says:

    @Happy13178: I appreciate being asked for ID, since my card has been stolen in the past, and the clerk has no idea whether I’m the card’s actual owner or not. I get irritated if they DON’T check. Especially considering I have “SEE ID” written on the back of my card…

  186. zimzombie says:

    @Happy13178: 99 times out of ten you’re annoying a valid customer, but if that 1 out of 100 is a person using a stolen credit card that gets charged back, you’re giving 1% of your goods out for free. Having had multiple of my cards stolen, I’d be glad to show you my ID. I don’t care; I’m me, and don’t plan to steal any cards.

  187. brianala says:

    I’ve also worked in retail management and gotten these requests; however, I have never been asked to provide proof that we checked ID, only the signed receipt.

  188. aro says:

    Its weird…I’ve lived in both New Jersey and Delaware…In Delaware EVERYONE checks your ID. Even restaurants. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked for an ID at some retailer in NJ

  189. Balisong says:

    I don’t believe this guy at all. While I was working in retail, I once asked a lady for ID, and she got all snippy and said I don’t need it. When I asked a manager what to do, he said it wasn’t our problem. Even if the card was stolen, the store was still going to get the money, so no I couldn’t demand ID. In short, not our problem, it’s for the person whose card was stolen to deal with it. Plus, not every business has video surveillance, and I have never heard a manager go “Oh we gotta check our security tapes again. Retrieval request. Yep. Oh it was JOHN who didn’t check for ID – that’s a write-up!” How would you even go about that?? It’s not like the tape is close-captioned with the name of each customer. And surveillance cameras are low-quality picture – you can barely tell what’s going on.

    The more I think through this, the more I think BS. This sounds like someone’s trying to argue that laws protecting the “””RIGHT””” for people to not show ID with their credit card really does help the consumer rather than the store the stolen card was used at.

  190. Balisong says:

    My opinion on this is just because it’s a law doesn’t mean it’s correct. All you people yelling about us “sheep” showing our ID are nuts. To me, you’re the sheep, blindly following a law because it touts you have RIGHTS and you like that word, and you never look at the pros and cons of it.

  191. FightOnTrojans says:

    @jenny79: Another reason to get a DL as early as possible is for insurance reasons. Most, if not all, insurance companies take the amount of years you’ve been licensed for into consideration when determining your rates.

  192. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    I have a photo id bank card with visa option. Very handy, no one asks for ID when I use it.

  193. clevershark says:

    I don’t really understand what the big deal is with providing ID to show you’re the person whose name is on the credit card. Why is that a problem?..

  194. Justafan says:

    I apologize if someone has already said this (too lazy to read all posts). Wouldn’t the easiest answer be to have your photo ID directly on the CC?

  195. clevershark says:

    If it’s an ID theft situation you’re worried about, don’t… unless you’re checking into a hotel, where you usually have to provide your address, phone #, etc.

    That’s where you’re most likely to get your ID stolen. It’s a combination of having all that information in one place, plus low-paid & low-skill non-security-vetted (usually) labor with loads of time on their hands. If you think the cashier at Wal-Mart is going to remember all the info on your ID card, may I suggest a tin-foil hat?

  196. S-the-K says:

    @LEA9017: Is it that difficult to show your ID with every CC transaction? What if you have an older ID that looks like it could be fake? Is it that difficult to show your ID and your passport, just in case, with every CC transaction? But what if the passport is fake? Is it that difficult to show your ID, your passport, and your birth certificate with every CC transaction? Oh, but what if you don’t have one (foreign born, fire, natural disaster, etc)? Is it that difficult to show your ID, your passport, your birth certificate, and/or leave a DNA sample? Surely nobody would have an objection to that!

    I have *rarely* been asked for ID. I think the exception was when I was carrying an old card and my signature was kinda faded and smudged. But after reading the Consumerist, I’m just *waiting* for some retail drone to ask for my ID so I can say, “no thank you”. Let the games begin! :-)

  197. aikoto says:

    When I worked retail, I always checked ID on every transaction, no exceptions. Even when I was on comission.

    Conincidentally, I caught more instances of fake and stolen credit cards, IDs, and checks than all other employees combined over a 1 year period.

    Imagine that.

  198. Michael Belisle says:

    @johnva: No, they can’t arrest you. They’re supposed to subject you to an extra search [] . But I imagine they won’t be nice about it if you have your ID in your pocket and are just refusing to take it out.

    We may not find it suspicious, but I’m not surprised that some merchants (and people in this forum) do and chose to refuse the transaction instead of processing without an ID.

    Deciding whether a situation is suspicious is a matter of personal opinion. But the agreement with Visa is not.

  199. thalia says:

    Sounds fair to me. I think people are far too paranoid about “cashiers with photographic memories”…if they hold on to your cards too long, then just tell em that you’ll be keeping a tight watch on your account, so no funny business. They only go after the money of idiots anyways. Less trouble that ways.

  200. thalia says:

    I actually get upset when I pay with a credit card and people DON’T ask for my ID. Just goes to show that someone could have stolen my card and they wouldn’t even notice.

  201. peetahvw says:

    Perhaps I’m being over simplistic, but why don’t more card companies just issue cards with photo and signature on the credit card itself? I know I’m missing something here but if the photo and signature are part of the card design itself this would:
    – reduce showing a photo id at checkout
    – put the burden squarely on the retailer to confirm that the photo matches the user
    – signatures are required to on physical applications for most cards so that’s easy and passport photo places I’m sure wouldn’t mind the extra income (of course Consumerist readers make their own passport photos)
    – there is plenty of technology out there (in the personal id card space) that can reproduce these onto “blank” credit cards
    – since no other personal info (drivers license #, address, etc) in theory this would be more secure
    – in theory fraudulent applications could be cut down as they would have a photo record for each application

    the only hole really comes when the consumer swipes the card themself, ie self-checkout/gas stations, but even that could be limited if the photo and signature could somehow be encoded on the stripe as well so it could appear on the merchant’s screen…or really sophisticated software might even be able to match digitally captured signatures to the encoded signature for an extra level of security.

    my old BoA check-card had this feature (oddly my new one does not), can someone help poke holes in this idea?

  202. algormortis says:

    The problem is that fake photo ID is really easy to make. As in, i’m sitting in Tacoma, Washington right now and i would put good money after bad that i could have a credible-looking fake ID that said my name was Steve Jobs in, oh, two hours. Not only are we different genders, not only do i probably weigh 100 pounds more than him and am three inches taller…but if i were to have Steve’s billfold (i don’t!), every merchant which insists on ID would be clowned.

    Again, i object much less to CONSISTENT and POSTED policies of checking ID. The Apple Store, the Virgin Megastore, Amoeba Music, some Denny’s, etc…they all have this. It’s the game of “suspicious transactions” that bother me, because we all know how that pans out. If you’re only asking people who you don’t approve of for ID, chances are you’re going to claim it’s “suspicious”, no? I’m “suspicious” of dumb rules that don’t protect anyone and prove to harrass people of social groups that a cashier finds undesirable, since by brown immigrant queer butt seems to be rather undesirable to lots and lots of cashiers.

  203. rolla says:

    thats a lie about the video proof. ALl VISA/MC asks for is a signed receipt. IF the video thing was true, then all those other mom-and-pop stores that accept CC and dont have cameras would be screwed.

  204. azntg says:

    @peetahvw: It has been done before. And studies have been made that concluded that it was ineffective and time and time again, many cashiers have ignored the photo printed on the card.

    It also didn’t help that many issuers dropped the photo card feature due to its lack of popularity.

    And oddly enough, I feel that even if they had those anyway, the same cashiers and merchants would ask for ID anyway.

    On the whole, it’s really simple though. Treat me nicely and do what you’re supposed to do and you’ll get an easy-maintenance, loyal customer for life. Turn me down thinking that I’m not worth your time and you’ll earn more money from those that will comply with your twisted rules and I’ll be on your a$$. I’ll make it worth your time plus interest.

    I’ve only had to do that once with one store because they decided they wanted to take a step further (I have time on my hands) and hopefully, I’ll never have to do it again.

  205. lovelygirl says:

    @ RenegadeBarista– like I said, the application fees for drivers licenses/permits/non driver licenses can be very expensive. Some people just can’t afford to shell out 50 bucks or more for an ID. And not all libraries have photo IDs. Also, some people may live in a rural area where it is difficult for them to reach a DMV(the sort of people who drive 3 hrs each way once a month to do all their shopping in the nearest town).

  206. tmcdill says:

    I *never* show ID if I use a credit card. For those of you who are proud to show the minimum wage clerk, your drivers license with your drivers license number, your date of birth, and your address on it; perhaps you should go view the current stats on identity theft.
    Most of the time the clerk is simply being an a$$ in the first place. And as for the evil credit cards companies may not pay…most retail stores dont even require a signature for under $25.00…that is how worried they are about it.

  207. lovelygirl says:

    @ Jenny79– thanks for the advice!

  208. peetahvw says:

    @azntg: I hear you – but isn’t that just poor training and the companies not giving it enough time to be adapted by the general public? i’m sure if the major issuers moved to a photo + signature printed on the card itself as a standard, and did it for 5-10 years (or however long the standard expiration period is to ensure every user of their card at least automatically received a new card with photo + signature) it would “stick” I guess I don’t understand why they killed off the program…

  209. azntg says:

    @peetahvw: I would be inclined to agree if we lived in an ideal world. But alas, as I’m sure you know, ideals and reality are (sometimes) mutually exclusive. The industry can stick to their guns, but the general public and companies may choose not cooperate and vice versa.


    In the case of the photo credit cards, it was a bit of both. In my opinion, it was a good idea which was taken on somewhat half-heartedly by the creditors (anything less than a permanent industry standard basically means death on a whim) and virtually neglected by the cardholders and clerks (either ignored outright or used for sentimentality purposes, etc.).


    I believe Bank of America (on their debit and some credit cards) and Citibank (on some credit cards) still offer the Photo card feature.


    Truth be told, I think the industry to invest in more security improvements into the cards. For example, in most of Europe and in Canada (slowly phasing in for the Interac network), they use the “Chip and PIN” system. Overall, for the time being, it is relatively secure and miles more secure than the magnetic stripe and sign concept. Of course, there are problems such as: “What happens if your card is stolen and the thief actually knows the PIN?” or the vestige of the swipe and sign on the card, etc. It’s hard to live in this world, isn’t it?

  210. Vandon says:


    :99 times out of 100, the consumer you’re asking for ID is completely legitimate and won’t appreciate being treated like a thief.


    It seems that you don’t pay attention to the people in line around you. Almost everyone I know feels that stores should be checking id with checks and credit cards. Every time someone asks for my ID with my credit card, I thank them for making sure if my card is ever stolen, it won’t be used at that store.

  211. ecwis says:

    @Vandon: Ever heard of a fake ID? It’s really not hard to make one, especially if you only have to fool some cashier.

  212. Rachacha says:

    Even when clerks “check” your ID, many times they are not doing a thorough job. I remember several years ago when I was 17, going to the store with my father’s CC to purchase something (with his permission), and handing the clerk a Platinum Visa card, being asked for ID, handing them my ID with a name that did not match the CC and being able to make the purchase.

    Other times, I have gone into a store, grabbed my wife’s CC, been asked to show ID and been able to make the purchase even though the names again did not match.

    Showing an ID is not an effective protection for the consumer, it is however a protection for the retailer.

  213. Need-More-RWHP says:


    They can certainly exercise “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason”, but there are limitations. It is actually UNLAWFUL to do so depending on the reason. If the patronage by disabled customers are small enough, the business many find it economically favorable to not make the building ADA accessible, then pull the “we reserve the right to refuse anyone for ANY reason”. No, this would be unlawful.

    Do you remember Denny’s store that was threatened with lawsuit and settled for exercising racial profiling by requiring pre-pay at employees’ discretion?

    Using that excuse for not letting them get away with laying their own rule that conflicts with Visa or MC policies is in bad taste and will result in their acceptance privilege being revoked for discriminating against card users (as opposed to cash users) and too many “this merchant doesn’t accept my card, yet displays Visa or MC logo”.

    Anyways, if the cashier doesn’t understand why it’s a big deal to show ID, ask the same question in return. For my protection, I want your name and home address and driver’s license number to help assist in investigation in case I become a victim of identity theft.

  214. PryncessLayah says:

    this is the exactly the type of person that sparks the big issue with the debate in the first place. If people didn’t react negativiley about being ID-ed then there would be no issue. This is 2008 – you have to change with the times and whip it out — it helps protect YOU and the Retailer and the CC company. By making it a personal issue and getting pissed off because the 20 yr old girl working behind the counter doesn’t trust you is just sad. I worked high end retail around the years of 04-06 pampered bitchy ladies would get upset and be VERY RUDE to sales associates when you ask them for their ID – because they think you are doubting that they “have money” or how Thorny puts it… you don’t “trust” her. That is NOT the case… we have camera’s on us and endless meetings about how we now have to start ID-ing people and it’s really uncomfortable for salespeople because you are so NOT understanding of any of it. Trust me I don’t want to ask you….I really really don’t- IT”S MY JOB…don’t make it so personal! It’s obvious that these women have never worked in the industry and are spoiled brats. ♥♥ Now on the other side to be understanding towards these women… I assume that she must not be a regular customer or if she was I wouldn’t ask for her ID ( probably because I already have every detail of her life on my screen anyway- and the camera hovering over me can see that) . But she also acts like this because it’s a NEW thing for her that we have only started doing recently and she doesn’t do well with change. Well hey GET OVER IT! I hope if someone steals your CC that they get asked for ID…you don’t think about that though. I doubt this problem of women getting upset happens at normal places like Target… I assume most of the attitude comes from your higher end places..saks..nordis…neimans…bloomies..etc…big freaking babies these pampered women are.

  215. dweebster says:

    @eskimo81: If you want the benefits of accepting credit cards, and you have agreed to the terms and conditions of the credit card company NOT to deny a sale based on a customer’s choice not to show you ID, then you need to comply with the agreement you entered into with the credit card company. Making up policies in violation of that agreement won’t fly, buddy.

    Being a merchant gives you special rights to override any contract you want the benefits of but won’t step up to the plate on your end, eh? Stop accepting credit cards or stop violating the terms of the transaction, thief.