Reader Refuses To Give Driver's License With Credit Card Purchase

Reader Brandon is obviously familiar with number 3 in the 10 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Card post, holding firm in the face of a retailer who wanted Brandon to give his driver’s license when he bought something with a credit card:

Just wanted to let you know, armed with the Consumerist and a signed credit card, I thwarted the Best Buy minions who wanted to enter my driver’s license information into their “fraud prevention database” in Virginia. When asked for ID, I pointed out the card was signed and that as a condition of their arrangement with Visa they could not demand identification. I demanded a manager who sided with me and processed the transaction without identification. Interestingly, I was not asked to sign at all (even the final receipt) which makes me less secure in Best Buy’s transaction policy.

That’s right. If your credit card is signed, retailers are not allowed to require any additional ID with your purchase. To do so is a violation of their contract with the credit card company. Violators can be reported by consumers to their credit card companies, and possibly have their accounts taken away.

With the high number of retail database breaches this year, do we really need to be giving these chumps any more of our personal information than we have to? I’d like to keep my digits out of the hands of the Russian hackers as long as possible, thanks.

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. mgy says:

    These will be the comments, for those who routinely feel the “tldr” fever.

    “Who shops at Best Buy anyways these days?”

    “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about. Quit being an elitist and show your ID. It isn’t that big of a deal”

    “First they take our ID, then our FREEDOM!”

  2. TheLemon says:

    Good for Brandon. Now, before all of those commenters start telling him to just stop being obstinate and show his ID already, let’s remember the excellent point Ben makes about database breaches. To me, this is the best reason I’ve heard so far to refuse showing further ID with a CC purchase.

  3. bleigh says:

    i used to work for best buy. starting in 2006 we were NOT allowed to id people because we were aware of this agreement. i guess it didn’t get around. also, for purchases under 25 there is no signature required…

  4. AMetamorphosis says:

    Glad to see another consumer refuse to be bullied by the tactics of big business.

    KUDOS !

  5. simplegreen says:

    maybe its just me but i put “See ID” on my card and get to wondering if a merchant DOESN’T check my ID. Granted in this day in age, more than likely a thief is going to have create his/her own card based on my number but just incase they happen to get my actual card i want them to check it. Seems more safe if you ask me. What time do you save by not checking ID?

    I will say that this doesnt specifically apply to this story as they wanted to harvest the users information, i can totally see that.

  6. Youthier says:

    See, when I show ID at Best Buy, they don’t type anything off of my ID in. And the only thing I’ve ever been asked is for my zip code. *shrug*

    I personally feel more secure with them checking my driver’s license but hey, to each his own.

  7. AMetamorphosis says:


    The REAL question is did he have to provide his recipt to the goons @ the front door as he left with his purchse ?

  8. tedyc03 says:

    @bleigh: Couple of notes: I’m the OP, and when I paid the purchase price was $28 and change. The “you must present ID with a credit card” was printed right across the credit card terminal. I was polite, but firm, and reminded them of their obligations under the contract and told them I’d be happy to sign the receipt and allow them to compare the signatures and display ID if they felt they didn’t match…but the manager just processed the transaction.

  9. wgrune says:

    I don’t want Best Buy entering ANYTHING into a “Fraud Protection Database”. I wouldn’t trust them with a ball of yarn.

  10. digitalhen says:

    So hang on, we don’t even know if they were going to enter this into their fraud protection database? It’s entirely possible it was just the guy at the POS wanted to look at it?

  11. TheHans says:

    @simplegreen: If you read some of the prior posts from Consumerist that link to the cards’ merchant agreements, “See ID” is not a valid method of endorsing your card.
    @AMetamorphosis: Great question!

  12. kyle4 says:

    Question to Mr. Ben Popken: At Wal-Mart if you refuse to show additional identification they are instructed to hold your credit card until you do and not give it back. They will also alert security and possibly the police about it. What do you do then?

    • Vermont2US says:

      If they don’t call the police themselves, YOU should…it is theft for them to refuse to return your credit card without valid reason (such as the CC company identifying it as stolen).

  13. BlondeGrlz says:

    @simplegreen: All your questions answered: []

  14. sleze69 says:

    @Youthier: I’m with you on that. Although I want them to check my ID, I do NOT want them to record detailed information on it.

  15. Jackasimov says:

    @Youthier: I agree. I’ve never had anyone who’s asked for my ID enter anything. They just compare names and hand it back. Personally, I don’t know why they bother with even that, it seems to me that even if they are given a fraudulent card they will always get the payment they’re due. No?

  16. smirky says:

    @kylo4: How about cancelling the transaction and if they still refuse to give you your card back, call the police and report the theft.

  17. Jackasimov says:

    PS The thing that gets on my nerves is when they ask for my phone number. Why do they do that exactly?

  18. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    As other commenters frequently post, it is OK to sign the card AND write “Check ID”, if you’re concerned. I signed mine in red ballpoint, and wrote “Please check ID” over it in Sharpie marker, which satisfies everyone.

  19. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Sorry about not closing the bold tag.

  20. TheBitterFoodie says:

    Borders Books in Ann Arbor consistently asks for a drivers license when making purchases by credit card, which I always use. They do not offer the option of using the debit function that would effectively eliminate the problem!

    I will say I haven’t worked up the nerve to remind them they shouldn’t be asking for ID.

    Perhaps we could post about Border’s practices?

  21. AMetamorphosis says:


    In order to sell your phone # to other companies so they can call you @ dinner time with an offer you just can’t afford to miss out on !

  22. AMetamorphosis says:

    This is what I have done and it works perfectly !

    GOOD suggestion !

  23. yooper1019 says:

    I can see Visa taking away Kim’s Liquor Store, down on the corner’s account but not Best Buy’s. Even if Best Buy’s CEO pooped on a Visa card from an overpass, they make tons of money from the Big Box stores.

  24. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @mgy: Poo poo to you. I was gonna say number three, me and Bladefist will just have to move along now.

  25. EBounding says:

    I’ll show them my ID if they ask, but I won’t hand it over. I just want to get out of the store.

  26. prag says:

    The Home Depots in New Jersey have signs at the register that say something to the affect of, “Home Depot requires photo ID for all credit card transactions” I’ve been refused once when I didn’t have my license with me (luckily I wasn’t driving) and had to use cash. I reported the incident to Mastercard as instructed here.

  27. Wormfather is Wormfather says:


    “Glad to see another consumer refuse to be bullied by the tactics of big business.

    KUDOS !”

    Ah ha! But did he show his receipt at the door?

  28. Mary says:

    Interesting, I shop at several different Best Buys in VA and none of them have ever even looked at my card, I swipe it myself at the little machine. I’m lucky if they even acknowledge that I’m standing there.

  29. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @kylo4: Well that depends on how much time you have on your hands. If you’ve got nothing to do, wait it out, make them call visa, mc, amex or discover and then look like a fool.

    If you’re in a rush start with the threats and then call the police.

    Either way there’s nothing like righteous (sp) furry!

    @speedwell: I only give you’re comment a 9/10 because you bolded but didnt use and exclamation point. Got me all hot and bothered then just went out with a period.

    /shakes head

  30. Youthier says:

    @Meiran: True enough. I can’t say I’ve had many of these credit card/ID wars and I think it’s mostly because I rarely get a cashier anywhere that acknowledges my existence.

    When I said “Hi” to the cashier at the grocery store yesterday, she said, “Rrgeher.” She didn’t even tell me the total, I read it off the screen myself.

  31. rwyuan says:


    The Home Depots that I go to in NJ have the machines that allow customer to swipe their own cards and sign on a electronic pad. I haven’t had to hand my card over to anyone for several years.

    As for Lowe’s, I credit (pun intended) them for actually asking to look at my credit card (and flipping it over to the signature side) every time I have checked out even though they also have the consumer-side card swiping terminals.

    In both instances, however, the mark that I use to sign the receipt looks NOTHING like the signature on the back of my card – but I’ve never been stopped or questioned about that.

  32. ElizabethD says:

    So if a store requires a photo ID with a credit card, they should be able to use my library card, right? Or my workplace ID, which has no sensitive personal info on it? Both have clear, recent photos of yours truly. I *hate* showing my license number to anyone.

  33. AMetamorphosis says:

    Sometimes I like to ask cashiers if they have their ID on them …

    They usually sputter and look @ me funny but I just tell them I want to be 100% sure that they are indeed an employee of that establishment.

    I actually had a nimwit @ Circut City shuffle off to find his manager once while his coworker and I exchanged grins as he processed my sale.

  34. Derp says:

    I’ve worked at Best Buy for over 7 years and there is no such thing as a fraud data base, so I question this part of the story. If a card is signed, we are not to check I.D., period, end of story. If its not signed, we are to obtain a signature and verify that signature against the signature on their picture I.D. These rules came straight from Visa and MasterCard.

  35. SadSam says:

    I solved this problem a while back, I only go into stores with my Visa debit card and I leave the rest of my purse in the car (unless I’m buying beer). Then when asked for my i.d. I say no thank you (I say no thank you to a lot of questions, my phone number, do I have my frequent buyer card, do I want a frequent buyer card, do I want to donate a $1 to MS, to my zip code – I say it nicely and smile). If pressured to show i.d., I say its in the car and that generally gets the cashier to move to the next step (if the magic no thank you didn’t work). I’ve only had to abandon my cart full of purchases a couple of times (of course I don’t shop at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc.)

  36. RagingBoehner says:

    I got “carded” at a Banana Republic outlet (Woodbridge, VA) last weekend. I am firmly in the “you have no business seeing my ID camp” but my impatience often outweighs my principles.

    I kind of held my ID still in my wallet so she could see the name, but there’s no way I’m letting them take it and copy down information. My driver’s license is required for driving, not for buying stuff.

    I get enough junk mail from retailers as it is. Plus, they can still track your purchase history based on CC number so it’s not like they even need other info for that.

    I think I might get a CC with a picture on it just to avoid having to ever show my ID.


  37. johnva says:

    I will never understand this controversy, or why anyone WANTS to show their ID to random people unless they have to. You’re just inconveniencing yourself for no reason: the world is not going to change so that all businesses require ID, even if you think it should. And more importantly, it’s not your liability if your credit card is stolen and used fraudulently. It’s the credit card company’s problem, so why should you care as a cardholder? They have concluded that their current losses to fraud are outweighed by whatever their losses to decreased card use caused by onerous ID check requirements would be.

  38. mdot says:

    While I agree that drivers liscense numbers should NOT be allowed to be entered into databases, sometimes it’s ok to show your id to a retailer. I work for a small neighborhood boutique in New York City, where there are only three of us and we pride ourselves on knowing our customers. That is– until we discovered that one of our beloved customers was using a stolen credit card the entire time. (Many people don’t even sign the back of their cards!) We had to pay back the credit card company for all the items she “bought”, totaling around $1500. Now we ask for ID, not to enter it into a database, but to make sure no one is ripping us off.

    But, like Elizabeth D mentions, we generally accept any photo id card.

  39. @mgy: Whats “tldr” btw??

  40. Dobernala says:

    @kylo4: Good question. What if you forgot you ID and genuinely don’t have one to show?

    That policy would not go over well, I think.

  41. Dobernala says:

    @Lucifer_Cat: too long, didn’t read.

  42. hills says:

    How ironic that with these credit card rules, when I made a big purchase at Best Buy, Amex requested the cashier had to call them and have Best Buy check my ID….

    I don’t mind, because regardless of being part of a merchant agreement, I understand why stores like to check and I don’t want to be difficult it. Guess you could say I don’t agree with the merchant agreement and I think stores should be allowed to check ID on major purchases.

  43. dianabanana says:

    @Lucifer_Cat: too long; didn’t read

  44. hmk says:

    I’m confused as to why showing ID is such a bad idea. I am happy when merchants ask to see my ID, as it shows they care enough to make sure I’m not using a stolen credit card. But if they were to enter my information into the computer I would promptly say no thanks! and get into an argument over it. I’ll give out my zip code but not my phone number.

  45. Amy Alkon000 says:

    If somebody gets your driver’s license info, they can make a fake one for $100 with their picture on it and pretty much ruin your life. [] (scroll down to the bottom).

    Show your driver’s license to no one except an officer who demands when he pulls you over.

    Oh, and one other thing: An LAPD detective told me your medical care provider must now delete your social security number from their records. See they do it.

  46. cyclade says:

    It’s almost as bad as the blunderbuss approach at a TSA checkpoint; all for show and for pretty much no benefit at all to us honest folks. Well, fine, it could save you the maximum 50 bucks in total fraud liability (see the awesome earlier post), but that’s absolutely the end of it.

    That said, I’ve got no problem with them using my zip code or house number (not my full street address) as a means by which they can do an instant electronic fraud check – which is what happens when you shop online. (Granted, the seller is supposed to decline transactions where this info doesn’t match – but many don’t because they don’t want to risk any false declines, and hence online sellers permit the credit card fraud problem, but that’s a different story) If they ask me for anything beyond my zip code, I have found that a polite, “I’d rather not if I don’t have to” actually works pretty much all the time.

  47. Askiba says:

    I’m not versed well in the ways of Consumerist, so: why is it so bad to show your ID to someone when presenting a credit card? Unless there is some sort of fraud vector, I don’t think it’s worth arguing over just simply slipping your ID out of your wallet, presenting it, and putting it back.

  48. farker says:

    The cashiers at Fry’s Electronics here in Houston ask for my ID every time. I show it because it’s not worth making a fuss about, and actually makes me feel better that they want to check that the credit card belongs to the person who owns it.

    Frankly, not checking ID is an easy way to make purchasing items with a stolen credit card easier. I don’t necessarily think checking ID should be a mandatory part of the merchant agreement, but it should be a suggestion, and certainly not prohibited.

  49. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @mgy: If you see problem commenters like that, please email me.

  50. Average_Joe says:

    Merchant agreement or not, if a store is experiencing high instances of stolen credit card use or charge backs, they have to do something to stop it. This is why ID checks are implemented per store and are not consistent across an organization. And if the store is an independent store, they have no means of eating loss due to crime. We rant all the time about unfair TOS agreements, I would argue the credit card companies are forcing an unfair one on stores just to accept a necessary form of payment. Ask yourself this, “Would you rather a store not accept credit cards, or accept them and check ID?” What is more convenient for you?

  51. dweebster says:

    The most amazing thing about this story is that he actually found a “Best” Buy manager who wasn’t a thug and was willing to process the transaction in conformance with the law and merchant agreement.

    That poor bastard will probably soon lose his job over this – what would happen if more “Best” Buy stores were to start following their legal obligations and stop going out of their way to play power trips on customers? Damn place would almost be worthy of patronizing occasionally!

  52. bookpodder says:

    Just got back from a trip to Disneyland and nearly every transaction at every shop asked for ID along with my signed credit card. Like a fool, I didn’t stand up to the Mouse about it.

  53. nsv says:

    @Jackasimov: Why would anyone ask for your phone number? What could they possibly use it for?

    I answer that with the same answer I give to all prying questions: “No.”

    (Disclaimer: sometimes AmEx uses my billing zip code for a security check. When it’s clear that’s what’s happening, obviously I give it. But when the store is doing information gathering, it’s none of their business.)

  54. dweebster says:

    @simplegreen: You sign the back of the card to agree to honor your contract with the *credit card* company – NOT for some amateur handwriting analyst sleuth clerk to practice his next career.

    If your (VISA, Mastercard, AMEX at least) card has been signed and is valid, the merchant is NOT allowed to have their clerks DEMAND to see any personal information in order to complete the transaction.

    I used to do the “show ID” thing previously, but I’ve since learned (confirming as recently as yesterday) that this is the case.

  55. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I don’t show my driver’s license. I have a passport, and I hold it in the air (I don’t ever let anyone but a TSA or immigration official actually touch it). It’s a government-issued photo ID. The number is too long to memorize. And the scammers, who are primed to try to remember driver’s license info, are thrown off base by the unexpected format.

  56. nsv says:

    @Askiba: 1) Read the article.

    With the high number of retail database breaches this year, do we really need to be giving these chumps any more of our personal information than we have to? I’d like to keep my digits out of the hands of the Russian hackers as long as possible, thanks.

    It’s bad enough these retailers keep credit card information on file after the transaction has been processed, and then sometimes lose that information. (Here’s one example that leaped to mind; there are many.) Why would we want them to have additional information which is on our licenses but not on our credit cards? That info is left off the cards for a reason.

    2) Visa says so. See item three on this list.

    3) Why do they need this information? What will they use it for?

    A retailer once demanded my driver’s license so they could get the information off it “so we can notify you in case of a recall.” I declined. They refused to process my AmEx for the sale without “official state ID.” I was in a hurry (and also don’t know AmEx’s policy) so I took out my “official state ID”–the card that identifies me as a state-employed firefighter. It has my name, photograph, and job title. And the state’s official seal.

    Man, were they burnt. They REALLY wanted my personal info.

  57. CRSpartan01 says:

    It just makes me worry nowadays when stores start swiping your driver’s license through their registers. Who knows what sort of information they are gathering, and God help us if

  58. CRSpartan01 says:

    and / or when it gets stolen.

  59. rabiddachshund says:

    @wgrune: That might be true, but like farker: says, they’re checking to see if it is actually your name on the card by associating a name with a face. If the face doesn’t match the name, the sale’s off. I don’t have a problem pulling out my ID because even though it might not be worth much, it’s all I’ve got. Unfortunately I’ve only ever been carded when I go to buy beer or cigarettes.

    You might think you’re winning a battle but all you’re doing is making it easier for criminals to steal your identity.

  60. tedyc03 says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: I was not asked for my receipt at the door. :-)

    As for why this controversy even exists:

    I should have the ability to buy things without providing government-issued identification. Period. Best Buy is going to get paid even if I am a fraudulent customer, as long as they followed Visa’s rules. The only way they lose the money is if I file a chargeback…but if I’m using someone else’s card, Visa takes the hit. Thus, Best Buy doesn’t have a reasonable need for my ID. A liquor store does, to validate my age, but Best Buy does not.

    It’s the same argument I get into with people who say “if you have nothing to hide it’s OK if the police search you at the airport.” No, that’s not the point. Our “rights” are really not rights – the Bill of Rights is a PROHIBITION on the government. Reread it – the 6th Amendment is the FIRST amendment that GRANTS rights. All the others DENY rights to the government.

    And while Best Buy doesn’t fall under the purview of the Constitution, good decency would say that business has LESS of an interest in knowing who I am than the government, not more. So, ultimately, when it comes down to whether or not I should show ID to a Best Buy employee, when the outcome of that ID verification is going to net the store nothing, I call shenanigans. Best Buy collects money and dispenses a product…and as to who I am, it really doesn’t matter.

  61. DrGirlfriend says:

    @Amy Alkon: I don’t know that medical care providers have to delete your SSN, as those are usually needed for billing purposes. But at the hospital where I work, the system we use has been modified so that only the people who absolutely need to know that info can see it.

  62. rabiddachshund says:

    @CRSpartan01: @speedwell: Point taken. They can look but don’t touch.

  63. rabiddachshund says:

    what’s up with the comments disappearing?

  64. cynu414 says:

    He said he was not asked to sign the final receipt. I worked at a bookstore and occasionally we received chargeback notices from the CC companies. All we had to do was send a fax of the signed receipt and we were off the hook. If there wasn’t a signed receipt we got a chargeback. I wonder how Best Buy deals with unsigned card slips?

  65. digitalgimpus says:

    @prag: There are quite a few products in Home Depot that laws require checking of Age (such as box cutters), so they are required by law to have a clearly posted sign regarding age checking.

    This is why liquor stores have signs, even though it’s dead obvious.

    My understanding is they can actually be shutdown until they comply and put up appropriate signage.

    As if being “bombarded” with “we need to check ID” is so traumatic.

  66. digitalgimpus says:

    @cynu414: I’m almost positive all CC agreements between cardholder and CC issuer also require a signature for any purchase. I recall that in mine. “For your security”.

    What will happen? Likely nothing.

  67. Difdi says:


    At Wal-Mart if you refuse to show additional identification they are instructed to hold your credit card until you do and not give it back. They will also alert security and possibly the police about it. What do you do then?

    They have no more lawful authority to seize your property and/or ID than any random person on the street does. Inform them they will return your property (don’t ask, tell) or you will file a criminal complaint for unarmed robbery; Stealing someone’s credit card outside the store is prosecuted the same as theft of money, and carries the potential for identity theft. Store policy is not a defense against a criminal charge, since store policy does not outweigh city, state or federal laws.

    Turn it around: What if they had grabbed your ID during the transaction, and refused to return it unless you completed the transaction and paid them money? The ID is also your property, what right would they have to seize it?
    What right would they have to demand you meet conditions to ensure the return of your own property, seized in your own presence? Wal*Mart is not a government agency, they have no search & seizure powers. The different between theft and robbery, after all, is the presence of the owner of the property.

    Does this suck for the clerk? Yes it does. But either the clerk is acting on his/her own initiative or the clerk’s manager has ordered that clerk to bend the law, if not outright commit a crime. As the saying goes, ignorance of the law is not a defense; The clerk has ready access to the text of the law, the same as any citizen does. The proper response to being ordered by management to commit a crime is to point out the criminality and refuse to become a criminal. In most places, firing someone for refusing to commit a violent crime generally results in some nasty penalties for the employer…

  68. funnyface says:

    Anybody know what the rules are for Discover Cards? It’s my primary card, and it seems to not have the same rules, as it’s not mentioned in these types of posts.

  69. RagingBoehner says:

    @digitalgimpus: Many retailers don’t require signatures for purchases under a certain amount. Whole Foods, Chipotle, McDonalds come to mind here (ususally $25).

    Also, gas stations don’t require receipts for at-the-pump transactions, so it’s definitely not required for all purchases.

  70. JiminyChristmas says:

    @Jackasimov: I always just give them a number:


    If the person at the register has a good memory for one-hit wonders of the 1980s you will both get a good chuckle out of it.

  71. ehhh says:

    I don’t know much about what happens during a credit card transaction, but doesn’t the company get all your billing info from the card anyways (name, address, phone)? The only real problem would be the actual employee writing it down for themselves if that’s the case.

    I was always under the impression that ID checks were to check that you own the card, and that’s what my experience has always been. No one has ever taken my ID and typed anything, they just compare the names on the cards.

    I’m all for keeping my privacy, but sometimes refusing to show ID/receipt is more of a hassle than it’s worth, and often times the people checking give it a harmless 2 second glance. If someone knows the answer to my above question, I’d love to hear it.

  72. foxbat2500 says:

    Congrats wasting your time and getting into an argument. Much better than taking the 2 seconds to show your ID.

  73. WeAre138 says:

    @JiminyChristmas: Ha, that’s funny. I’m going to start doing that. It might even be worth legally changing my name to Jenny.

  74. Landru says:

    @ElizabethD: If they ask for ID and I don’t feel like fighting with them, I show my library card. I’ve had clerks roll their eyes, but not refuse it. They always say “Can I see your ID?”, not “Can I see your photo ID?”.

  75. The_IT_Crone says:

    Hm when I was a retail jockey at Crapple they told us we’d be fired if we DIDN’T ask for ID, but if the customer complained and asked for a manager the managers would apologize and say that we lowly register folk “just didn’t know the real policy.”

    This might not be a case of finding a competent manager, but rather of finding a store that is utterly sneaky.

  76. satoru says:

    @ehhh: That’s basically true. I don’t really understand why people are so against showing ID. I would be more concerned about the person skimming the credit card which is by far much more common way of obtaining the information they need.

    I mean if you want to ‘stick it’ to corporate America, I think your time would be better spent doing something useful like joining a political advocacy group. But if not showing ID somehow makes you feel better then by all means go ahead.

    Skimming your driver’s license might be an issue, but only if you had one of the old ones where your Social Security Number was your driver’s license number as well. That has all but been phased out for most states though.

  77. AgentTuttle says:

    It’s worth mentioning that the terrorist watch list now has over 1,000,000 names on it. Woo Hoo!

  78. Canino says:

    The stripe on your DL doesn’t give a retailer all the info on the DL. There are different tracks on the stripe, and only one of them is readable by commercial readers. It only has name, DL number, and expiration date. It DOES NOT have the other info such as address, height/weight, sex, date of birth, etc. That info is on the other tracks that is readable by special readers used by law enforcement, courts, etc.

  79. TPS Reporter says:

    @speedwell: I would hold onto that passport even if it’s expired (assuming its not now). A passport, expired or not, can be used as a photo ID, to prove you are able to work in the US when you start a new job. Once you have a US passport, you can prove you are an American citizen forever.

  80. dequeued says:

    Wow I love how gullible some of you are.
    Would you show your id to just anyone to spare yourself some inconvenience?

    LOL would you hand over your drivers license to a hobo with a scanner?
    What if he kept badgering you “Sir, Sir! I need to see your ID!”
    It was just easier to give him my ID so he would leave me alone.

    In that case, I am going to need all of you to paste your checking account and routing #s into a comment for me, so I can collect them for my “Anti fraud database”.
    All information will be kept confidential, I promise ;)

  81. AMetamorphosis says:


    You’re right !
    … And its a nice way to polietly refuse the data without taking it out on the cashier who is required in order to not lose their job to ask you for such.

    Other good responses are:

    Zip Code: 90210
    and no, I don’t want to supply the store with free marketing data about where their consumers live.

    and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the address. <– The White House

  82. andrew240 says:

    @Canino: That information is incorrect, at least in the state of Missouri. There is only one bar code on your license here. Any bar code scanner that can read a 2-dimensional format can read the information off of the back of your license. I have done it many times for non-believers with a simple inventory scanner I use at work.

  83. anatak says:

    @johnva: I don’t understand it either. Is it really that big of a deal to prove that the card is yours? Is it really that big of a pain in your ass to hold up your DL while the clerk checks the name on the card with the name on the DL and the photo on your DL with the person presenting it?

    And as a cardholder, the fraud IS your liability until the card issuer assumes it. If they don’t believe it is fraud, or you don’t catch the extra charges, then those are yours, baby. It’s your money and your credit report on the line until everything gets cleared up.

    I’d rather clerks be more vigilant and customers be less of stuck-up.

  84. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @dequeued: We show ID when we feel it’s appropriate to. We don;t show ID when we feel it’s inappropriate to. We can, for instance, call you a moron without powers of logical discrimination without needing to show you our ID first.

  85. linbey says:


    Actually the REAL reason most stores ask for your phone number is so they can see where their customers live so they can decide where to build the next store. If 50% of the customers at one location are coming from 50 miles away that helps them determine that they need to build a store in that city 50 miles away. People are always so paranoid. If you DO happen to get a call just hag up. Its really not that hard to do

  86. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    The only time I’ve ever gone to WorstBuy is at lunchtime. And usually for some impulse buy like…a game I don’t need.
    If this guy were in front of me, with only one or two registers open, and held me up for 15mins or so, I’s send him over to Murky Coffee for a cockpunch!

    (Just put SEE PHOTO ID on your cards. That way if stolen, and you aren’t you in the picture…)

  87. Askiba says:

    @nsv: Blah. I’m never on the ball with these sorts of things.

    But hey, I’ll never have to ask again!

  88. @Dobernala: @dianabanana: Thanks!! Im surprised i did not get an “rtfm” :D

  89. Peeved Guy says:

    @speedwell: I’m a reservist and use my military ID when asked for ID. Like the pssport, it is a federally issued ID, but has only name, rank, picture, date of issue and date of expiry on the front, no identifying information, really. I live in a military town, so don’t get any grief when I present it, either (unlike on time when I went to PA and presented my military ID to the guy who carded me when I tried to buy beer. He wouldn’t take it. I still chuckle about that).

    I generally don;t give a hoot when asked for ID to complete a transation, but if they wanted to enter in into a “Fraud Prevention Database”, well, I think we’d have words.

  90. @simplegreen: see id VOIDS your card . I would be calling for a new one because you have to sign it or it is voided.

  91. Citron says:

    I worked retail for a loooong time, and I was trained to ask for drivers licenses and compare the picture to the name on the card whenever a customer tried to pay with a credit card.

    One fine day, I asked a man for his driver’s license and he proceeded to embarrass and berate me so harshly that it made me cry. I had to leave my register.

    After that, I just stopped asking.

    Some people are just really insane. The guys who work registers really aren’t out to get you. I promise. Most of us are just trying to do our job. I was a good, polite, worker — too. I didn’t deserve to be yelled at like that.

    So yeah. No sympathy for people who freak out about the ID thing. It’s likely the person at the register didn’t even know, and didn’t believe the whole “that’s illegal” schtik.

  92. kayfox says:

    @Canino: From [] :

    The following data is stored on track 2:

    * ISO Issuer Identifier Number (IIN) – 6 digits
    * Drivers License / Identification Number – 8 digits
    * Field Separator – generally ‘=’
    * Expiration Date (YYMM) – 4 digits
    * Birth date (YYYYMMDD) – 8 digits
    * DL/ID# overflow

    The following data is stored on track 3:

    * Template V#
    * Security V#
    * Postal Code
    * Class
    * Restrictions
    * Endorsements
    * Sex
    * Height
    * Weight
    * Hair Color
    * Eye Color
    * ID#
    * Reserved Space
    * Error Correction
    * Security

    And yes, most commercial readers designed for credit cards read tracks 1 and 2. But you can easily get one that reads track 3 as well, as I have several.

  93. kayfox says:

    And oh yes, track 1 has:
    The following data is stored on track 1:

    * Start Sentinel – one character (generally ‘%’)
    * State or Province – two characters
    * City – variable length (seems to max out at 13 characters)
    * Field Separator – one character (generally ‘^’) (absent if city reaches max length)
    * Last Name – variable length
    * Field Separator – one character (generally ‘$’)
    * First Name – variable length
    * Field Separator – one character (generally ‘$’)
    * Middle Name – variable length
    * Field Separator – one character (generally ‘^’)
    * Home Address (house number and street) – variable length
    * Field Separator – one character (generally ‘^’)
    * Unknown (spaces on mine) – variable length
    * End Sentinel – one character (generally ‘?’)

  94. Crazytree says:

    was it worth it?

  95. camman68 says:

    @digitalgimpus: Prag said ID was required for credit transactions. This is completely different than verifying someones age.

  96. nerevar says:

    when will we see a compilation of the rules for all the major credit cards (I only use discover card)

  97. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @tawni: It only VOIDS your card if the card is not signed, as we keep saying. Sign it AND write “Check ID” and you’re covered.

  98. nix-elixir says:

    I went to the my local mall yesterday and used a VISA debit card at all 4 places I went to (used my pin each time). They asked me for ID in 3 stores. Is it still illegal if it’s a debit card? I figured that would be able to negate the need for ID checking.

    Incidentally, I work at a well known shipping place that just changed it’s name and they never have anyone sign if they’re shipping. It’s not even an option. If you’re shipping and you write a CC on the bill and drop it in the box, we’ll charge your card but if you bring it to the counter, we need the 3 digit number off the back before we can charge it. It’s always been a mystery to me how that can happen.

    I used to work at Best Buy too, cashier for a year and CSR for a year. They’re truly evil even to the people who work there and I’ll never shop there again after knowing first hand how horrible their service is. I would try to route customer calls to specific departments and just get the calls re-routed back to me because the sales floor people were too lazy to answer their phones or they would answer, put the customer on hold and send the call back to me!

    I remember being a lowly cashier and I had to ask people for zip codes. I hated doing this! Once, a guy answered “Mars” so I typed it in!

  99. tenners says:

    Where do you go to report a business for requiring a photo ID with credit card? Yesterday, I was in Rose’s and the cashier refused to complete my $9.41 purchase because I didn’t have my drivers license with me (it was accidently left in the car). I looked on Visa’s website and couldn’t find anything. Personally, I’d rather email than call.

  100. dweebster says:

    @tenners: If you are in the United States or in Canada, please call 1-800-VISA-911 for customer assistance.

    They WILL take a complaint over the phone, helps to have merchant name, time, clerk name, etc. Whether they even slap the merchant on the wrist is another question.

    Macy’s employees have been observed insisting on “seeing ID” when you spend ANY amount in their stores with a credit card – even their own card! They even post signs about “verifying ID” if you use a credit card – and they won’t take “no” for an answer!

    The only way this sort of merchant fraud will begin subsiding is when people routinely contact the card companies (and corporate headquarters) and report the “rogue” merchants. I’d never show my ID to some random person just because they “ask” to see it, wouldn’t want my wife or sister or mom to do so either. The police are allowed, but even they are limited.

    Your address is on state IDs, and you further the possibility of rape, robbery, identity theft and other goodies as that info leaks out to random strangers. Especially people working on the lower end of the wage scale and trying to cover their bills however they can.

  101. AmberB says:

    Best Buy is not the only place that does this. Forever 21 routinely requires customers to show identification whenever using a credit card.

  102. mikelpn says:

    Hah! The other day at Home Depot, I was supposed to sign an electronic signature pad with my signature. I made a nice tic, tac, toe board with a couple of x’s and o’s, and the cashier just smiled and shrugged. I think I will change my name, like Prince did, to the tic, tac, toe chicken scratches.

  103. axe1982 says:

    I am an avid privacy advocate who also happens to own a small retail business. With that background this stuff tears me in two directions.

    a) Not all credit card contracts with the merchant prohibit requesting ID. After reading this post I double checked mine, and it doesn’t comment on the practice at all. The promotional materials I get from my merchant provider actually strongly recommend asking for an ID when accepting cards.

    b) While I hate handing over personal info, I can see where BestBuy is coming from. I am a small business that probably does in a year what one Best Buy store does in a few days. My product is customized and delivered, so I have your delivery address with every order. My customer service people call everyone by first name. Despite all that I average 2-3 charge backs a month due to fake cards, people denying the charge, etc. We can have the guy on tape using the card, and they still deny every being in the store. I can only imagine what a large impersonal store like Best Buy deals with. It must cost them a fortune, I can’t blame them for asking for ID.

  104. dee1313 says:

    I’ve never had them record information about me. A zip code, sure. I sign up for the rewards cards too. But recording my DL #, etc, I don’t think so.

    I’m a military spouse, and military discounts are nice, but I don’t like to show my military ID. I’m a dependent, so it has my sponsor’s (husband) SSN right on the front, with his name and how he’s related to me. I’ve never had anyone record anything from it, but I do have to show it to shop at the PX and commissary. When getting discounts, so long as they don’t ask for a copy or write anything down from it, I’ll show it.

  105. Vermont2US says:

    Once I was in the electronics section of Walmart (how I hate that place, but it’s the only dept store within 40 miles of me) they demanded to see my ID when making a credit card purchase, saying it was store ‘policy’. I refused, took my merchandise to the Customer Service counter, complained to the ‘supervisor’ there who seemed to understand that they weren’t supposed to demand ID but defended the practice because they had sold so much merchandise that had been bought with stolen cards. However, she processed my credit card purchase without requiring ID…why this is ok for the Customer Service desk to process without ID, but not for the electronics dept, is beyond me. I hate Walmart.