Why Won't Walmart Tell Its Employees They Can't Demand ID For MasterCard Purchases?

Even though — as recently as last week — executives at both Walmart and MasterCard confirmed that it is against both companies’ policies to demand ID for credit card purchases, Consumerist readers and Walmart shoppers are letting us know that the hassle continues.

Reader Adam recently went to his Walmart in Indiana to make a quick purchase and…

I was asked for my ID. Apparently I left it in my car, but no matter, I told the cashier that MasterCard purchases don’t require ID to be present. She said she doesn’t want to get in trouble, and called the Customer Service Manager over. Since this was only a $6.00 purchase, and we had already been waiting for 5+ minutes, I wasn’t going to let this one go.

The Customer Service Manager explained that it is store policy that they require ID for all credit card purchases. I explained, again, that MasterCard agreements state that no ID is required for their transactions. I was denied the sale, and went across the street to Kroger instead. I filed a complaint with the BBB, MasterCard, and Walmart.

In last week’s letter from the MasterCard exec, the company said it had been assured that Walmart “will correct this issue at store level,” but didn’t mention anything the credit card company was specifically doing to make sure the nation’s largest retailer was no longer violating its merchant’s agreement. Of course, since Walmart is the nation’s largest retailer, it sorta makes sense that MasterCard wouldn’t be too demanding.

We’ve asked MasterCard to comment on this story and will update if they have anything of interest to add.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Moral of the story? The rules do not matter if you bring in enough money.

    • HaveSomeCheese says:

      I think the more important moral is Don’t Shop at Walmart

    • danmac says:

      Sadly, I agree with you and parroted this sentiment in the most recent Mastercard/Walmart article. There is NO way that Mastercard will terminate their agreement with Walmart; for them to do that, someone high up in the company would have to make an executive decision that effectively loses Mastercard a large amount of revenue. That same someone would probably face internal accountability (from superiors, shareholders, board members, etc.) that would likely result in termination.

      • midniteslayr says:

        Thing is, it is a contractual agreement. Mastercard is enforcing the rights of the cardholders who don’t want to show their ID. If Mastercard were to lose Walmart’s business, then Walmart would lose customers who only have or only want to use a Mastercard transaction. I think Mastercard is only waiting for Walmart to trickle the information down to the customer level before going after them, especially for a company the size of Walmart.

      • cheezfri says:

        It is not an agreement between Mastercard and Walmart. It is an agreement from Mastercard to each bank who wishes to accept credit cards, and an agreement from the bank to the merchant. If in the unlikely event the agreement from the bank to Walmart said it’s ok to require ID, then the bank would be in violation of THEIR agreement with Mastercard, and Walmart wouldn’t be in trouble.

        In any case, no the bank probably would not terminate their agreement with Walmart, but I do believe fines could be issued.

    • msbask says:

      Truer words were never spoken. For further evidence see exhibits on:
      Roman Polansky, Elliot Spitzer, Michael Vick and so on and so on and so on

      • msbask says:

        (not that these types of things have anything to do with walmart)

      • Griking says:

        What does Micheal Vick have to do with this? He served his time.

        Are people not supposed to be able to go back to work after being arrested?

        • tbax929 says:

          Thanks for that. It’s amazing that you can kill a person, beat your wife, and use steroids – all of that is okay for an athlete. But you harm and animal and there’s no forgiveness. What a load of crap.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            The issue is that the other *adult human beings* were not absolutely helpless. They could take some action to prevent or mitigate the situation.

            The animals, however, like children, are nearly completely defenceless. There is absolutely no excuse for abusing animals, much like there is absolutely no excuse for abusing children. They should both carry the same penalty.

            No one is saying that the other crimes you mentioned are “forgiven,” but the more heinous and premeditated crime deserves the greater punishment, not the lesser. The athlete who kills someone may do it one time, but Vick was dogfighting for years, torturing and killing animals over and over and over again, without the slightest bit of remorse.

            • domcolosi says:

              Of course, you’re leaving out the fact that a child is a human being with a full range of emotions and the potential to contribute to society as a whole, while the dog is an animal that you’re projecting your own emotions onto. ;p

          • RandomHookup says:

            Looking at a more basic level, how does conviction for these offenses (leaving out steroids), disqualify you from the profession? How does that diminish your ability to hit a ball with a stick or run over a defensive back? I understand the desire to punish people for big transgressions, but why hold athletes to a higher standard than any other profession where the commission of offenses that don’t limit their ability to do the job wouldn’t disqualify them from work?

            Steroids (etc) is cheating under the rules of the games being played, so I can certainly see where punishment related to the sport makes more sense.

        • jesirose says:

          He served time on the wrong offense.

      • Emperor Norton I says:

        You left out Don King who murdered a man in Cleveland before he hit it big!

    • Difdi says:

      Ask the manager “Ok, so you’re basically saying that despite the fact your company made a promise to MasterCard, you don’t keep promises. Why should I expect you to keep them with me? And why should I shop here instead of some place more trustworthy?”

  2. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    Change to merchant agreement coming in 3..2….

    • Traveshamockery says:

      More like enforcement of merchant agreement coming in 3…2…1…

    • craptastico says:

      didn’t they recently change this? i thought i’d read a month or two ago that the merchant agreement now allowed for checking ID

      • frank64 says:

        No, not now, though on another board someone who works in the industry says a change is coming allowing checking of ID in the early part of next year. The changes you are thinking of may be the law not allowing minimums purchases or that Discover allows for ID checks.

        The stores do get charged for fraud, so they have a good reason for wanting to check, I would rather if my card were stolen it not be used, so I would rather they check. Crooks must love this current rule. How many clerks are able to do a handwriting analysis?

      • Difdi says:

        You read about Discover doing that. Not MasterCard.

  3. AntiNorm says:

    With all the talk on Consumerist about WalMart’s receipt checkers, their credit card policies, etc. — would it not be easier to just, oh I don’t know, not shop there in the first place?

    • DancesWithBadgers says:

      Personally I avoid them whenever possible but sometimes there is just no alternative in the area.

    • Tim in Wyoming says:

      That is what I now do. On Sept 17, it had been six months since my last Wal-Mart purchase.

      • BuriedCaesar says:

        Hi, Tim. It’s been 5 months since my last Wal-Mart purchase. Just one more month and I’ll earn my 6 month pin. My sponsor is proud of my progress, too.

    • jesirose says:

      Because until you have a problem, it’s not that bad. I shop there all the time, it’s cheap and it’s within biking distance. They’ve only annoyed me once and it wasn’t an issue again.

      If you go a lot and then three or four times you have an issue, you’ll stop going, for most people anyway.

      • Dover says:

        Yeah, I stopped going to Wal-Mart. An ID incident like this one was the last straw, but unhelpful employees, unkempt shelves, and long check-out lines had me frustrated long before. All that hassle just wasn’t worth the (rather small, for a savvy consumer) savings.

        • jesirose says:

          I forgot about the lines – the times I loathe WalMart are when (for some reason) I’m there around midnight, and they have 2 lines open because their computer system restarts at midnight. Yet the store is open. So you have enough customers for 6+ lines stuck in 2 lines.

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          Yep, that’s the thing, other stores besides Wal-mart have just as good or better prices on their items. If there is a difference it’s pennies. Are those pennies worth the hassle and frustration you get shopping at Wal-mart? For me, no. Around here Target has the same prices or cheaper ones and the local Target has great employees and is cleaner and not full of empty shelves like Wal-mart.

    • areaman says:

      I honestly feel people like to lock horns with Walmart and other stores that treat their shoppers in a shitty way. Kind of as an odd way to pass the time.

    • Griking says:

      You’d think but people would rather complain about it.

    • Pax says:

      Because some of us truly cannot afford to shop elsewhere.

    • theblackdog says:

      Not if you live in an area where the next closest store to get items such as clothing is two hours away.

  4. KillerBee says:

    As often as this happens, it’s become pretty obvious that MasterCard couldn’t care less if a retailer checks ID or not.

  5. parsonsdj1 says:

    I hate to support Walmart, but thanks for standing up for consumers and fighting id theft. Please continue to insist on secure transactions and frustrate the minority of misguided “privacy activists” who would deprive us all of the benefits of ensuring that only the holders of credit cards are able to use them.

    • curmudgeon5 says:

      How is it “standing up for” anything by directly violating a legal contract they have with Mastercard? I understand that you like the idea of checking idea, but when their legally binding contract says that they cannot….?

      • Destron says:

        The problem is, all CC companies can, and do, tailor specific agreements for specific retailers. And you can not really speak for any retailer on their legal stance until you have seen that agreement. I have seen that agreement. I worked for Walmart and helped install a system specifically for this, and in some circumstances ALL CC companies allow Walmart to request ID. I have seen the agreement personally.

        • Dover says:

          I call shenanigans. If they had a special agreement, Visa and MasterCard wouldn’t be sending letters out to consumers telling them that WalMart is in the wrong.

          • Destron says:

            You were right in your fist statement, they ARE in the wrong for refusing to process a transaction because of it, but they are not in the wrong for asking for it.

            • Dover says:

              I never said they were wrong for asking for it. They can ask all day long, they can call for a code 10 authorization if they’re suspicious, but they can’t say no just because I do.

        • Dover says:

          Any retailer can request ID in any circumstance, but they can’t deny the transaction if the customer refuses.

      • parsonsdj1 says:

        The “legally binding contract” should be changed for the benefit of consumers.

        • Dover says:

          I have a better idea. Change the rules so that “See ID” is acceptable (another provision which is rarely enforced, anyway) so that folks who would prefer to show their ID are asked for it (assuming a cashier even bothers to glance at it) and the rest of us can continue to use our signatures (assuming a cashier even bothers to glance at it).

    • evnmorlo says:

      The one and only reason Walmart does this is to protect itself from losses. Any unspecified “benefits” you may perceive as a result are secondary and totally unintended by Walmart.

      • parsonsdj1 says:

        But benefits nonetheless

        • Dover says:

          You have not named one benefit to the consumer for ID checking. And I don’t want to hear “protection from unauthorized charges”, that’s what my credit card issuer is for.

          • quail says:

            And the losses the credit card company has, then makes its way as fees and higher charges to the merchant who then passes it on to all purchasers (because you can’t have a price for credit card and one for cash). In the end, credit card fraud is paid for by everyone.

    • Dover says:

      I don’t care if someone steals my credit card, but I do care if a cashier steals the information from my driver’s license. With that in mind, what are the security benefits provided to me by having cashiers check my ID?

    • humphrmi says:

      Little laminated pieces of paper don’t provide any security against fraud. They are easier to forge than stealing a credit card in the first place. Valid laminated pieces of paper often contain personal information that makes it trivially easy to steal one’s identity.

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        Seems like the best course of action is to make a fake driver’s license for yourself with alternate information.

        • Dover says:

          That’s actually not a bad idea. We’d have to design something that looks official enough to confuse a Wal-Mart cashier but not official enough to be illegal…

      • parsonsdj1 says:

        Not at all. The “data retaining checkout worker” is an obvious strawman without a shred of factual grounding. The casual credit card thief will absolutely be deterred and/or caught by universal id checking.

        • thompson says:

          [citation needed]

        • parsonsdj1 says:

          Yes please. Would like one for humphrmi’s strawman.

        • jamar0303 says:

          Hardly. I’ve used a relative’s credit card in the US (once, but this would probably work anywhere you have someone who doesn’t understand Asian languages) by pulling out my Chinese driver’s license. Which is a laminated piece of paper. Typed in Chinese. The only English lettering is “Driver’s License of the People’s Republic of China”. Picture matches, name on card looks Chinese (not one character is the same between mine and hers), they wave me through. (Normally I’d just leave, but it was an errand) Or they say “never mind” as I pull it out and they realize they can’t read it (that time I was just out to mess around and see how far I could go). Heck, I get by with my own card with a different name than on my driver’s license (in China I go by my middle name, in the US and on my passport and other stuff I go by my first name).

          Full of holes.

      • Griking says:

        It may not protect people from professional identity thieves but it will protect a person if they drop their credit card and it’s picked up by an amateur or some local kid who tries to use it.

    • davidc says:

      They don’t actually *check* the ID … they merely glance at it so they are not “stopping” anything.

      Seriously … after one checks, ask them what they are looking for. If they say “to make sure the name matches” then ask them: “What’s my name?”. Guaranteed they will say: Ahh, I forgot already :-)

      So yea, they are no stopping anything unless you live in the land of pink ponies and rainbows … oh wait … move along … nothing to see here.

    • mac-phisto says:

      perhaps you can take a moment to explain how checking an ID stops a thief from using a CC in any meaningful way. stolen wallet = stolen credit cards + stolen ID. WHOOPSIES!

      see, i don’t need to make a fake ID – i use yours.

      • RStormgull says:

        My wife used to work as a cashier at Best Buy where they were instructed to check for ID if the card isn’t signed or says “see id”. She had this guy come in and try to buy something with a credit card that the name read “Kimberly Jones”. There are a lot of guys with female names in these parts, so that was only slightly unusual, but the back of the card was not signed. So she asked for ID. At this point, the guy started behaving… oddly. He tried to flash the ID so fast that my wife couldn’t read it. When she asked again she noticed the name didn’t match the card. She called the authorization line, as per company policy on suspected credit card theft (he MIGHT have been authorized by the cardholder). At this point the guy bolted, leaving attempted credit card fraud items behind.

        So, no it doesn’t catch the smart ones that make a fake ID. But it sure does catch the stupid ones that either try to use someone elses ID or their own.

        • MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

          But how does “See ID” help with swipers? Does the cashier ask for the card after you have already swiped it? What about self-checkout lanes? I don’t see a consistency between the methods of checking out where, asking for an ID or seeing the back of the credit card plays into this practice.

          My credit card rarely leaves my hands during a transaction.

          • RStormgull says:

            At least at the BB the missus works at, if you’re running as credit the cashier has to manually enter the last four digits of the card number as proof they looked at the card.

        • mac-phisto says:

          so how many times did your wife unknowingly sell something to a person with a stolen card? we don’t know, do we? kind of makes your anecdote…well, a good story anyway.

          stopping one theft in an unknown number of attempted thefts does not indicate an effective method for stopping theft.

          • RStormgull says:

            Who can say? That’s kind of like asking how many times you unknowingly purchased a stolen product off eBay.

            That’s the not the question you asked though. You asked how it stops the fraud from occuring and I provided an instance where it did, in fact, stop a fraud. If the cashiers are following company policy then this situation is completely preventable. If all the ID matches, they’d have no basis for denying the purchase – fraudulent or not. The whole point behind requiring ID is you know you can’t stop them all but you can stop some. It’s all about curbing loss where you can since there’s a lot they can’t do when it comes to loss prevention.

    • deutsche001 says:

      My Mastercard was just used in 10 different Wal Mart’s; not once did they ask for ID.

      My card was stolen and my bank account was drained.

      I just want to thank all the people that complained about checking for ID when presenting a card! Hope your bank account is next and you have to go through the hassle of getting your money back! The bank will refund my money, but I want the person using my card prosecuted.

  6. KyBash says:

    I just came from Wal-Mart. $227.54 for a single item. Put it on my VISA. No request for ID.

    Where do you people find bad Wal-Marts? I’ve never had a problem with them.

    • Tim in Wyoming says:

      Tinmath, Co, Loveland, Co, Fort Collins, Co, Cheyenne, WY to name a few…

      I would be willing to bet the problems are higher based on market than at individual store.

    • BDSanta2001 says:

      Walmart on Loop 288 in Denton Tx. If you ever wanted proof Walmart *HATES* it’s customers, it is that location.

      • SecretAgentWoman says:

        GAH. I’m down the road from this one. Are you gonna shop at the new one on 380? I’m so sick of the old one…

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        I dunno about that…have you been to the one on Midway and 635 in Farmer’s Branch?


    • tbax929 says:

      I know there are some out there, but I’ve shopped at every Wal-Mart in Tucson and a few in PA before I moved here and have never been asked for ID with a credit card. I’ve also never had anyone ask to see my receipt. It’s almost as if there are rogue Wal-Marts out there.

      But I also have a mortgage with Bank of America and routinely pick up things at Best Buy, so YMMV.

  7. alanowski says:

    what’s the problem with showing your ID? I understand that in this case the guy didn’t have it with him – but generally my (and I assume, most others’) CC is in the same place as my ID.

    I also understand that the rules say you don’t HAVE to show your ID. I just want to know where the problem lies in doing so.

    Not trolling – I’ve just read a bunch of these stories and I still can’t work out why people are upset over it.

    • Destron says:

      Its the people that think these lazy underpaid Walmart cashiers have some sort of super photographic memory and scan their ID in seconds instantly storing every bit of personal information in their life. Including their first born, all their cc numbers, and their entire credit history from a 2 second scan of their ID

      • Dover says:

        Nope, that’s what skimmers and pinhole cameras are for.

        • Destron says:

          Yes, but a Walmart associate should NEVER swipe your ID for anything. Any information needed by the register is requested to be manually entered, all the need to do is look at the picture.

          • Dover says:

            When the cashier looks at the ID, a pinhole camera the cashier is wearing records a photo of it. You may not think it’s plausible, but it’s very easy technologically. Even easier (and more covert) than installing a skimmer on the card reader.

            I am also suspicious when the card readers don’t work and I have to give the card to the cashier. A friend of mine used to work in retail, he would tell people the customer-side reader was broken to get their card and then swipe it on the register and through his own skimmer to get their card info.

      • jaya9581 says:

        There was a recent issue with video game company Blizzard’s decision to make their customers real names mandatory on their online forums. Within 3 days of this announcement, they retracted the decision after people who were incensed at it took the name of a real Blizzard employee – given as proof that he felt safe with the information out there – and found out quite a bit of personal info, including home address and telephone number.

        And that was with just his NAME.

        Also, do you really think it’s that hard to remember an address? You don’t have to instantly memorize every bit of info on an ID, but it’s not hard to remember a street number, name and city.

        • Destron says:

          That’s true, but I hate to tell you this, but your name is part of your CC info. So if I want your name, I can just grab it when it flashes by on the screen, or if its a newer walmart with the touch screen POS, I can wait until you walk away and scroll back up the list of transactions and grab it. Or I can just say “Sorry the debit reader is not working, I need to swipe that for you ” and get your name. Or go to work at a smaller chain that does not have debit readers and has to manually swipe every card. Or work in the TLE dept and get your name when you have your car serviced, or jewelry when you send you ring to be sized, or bakery when you have a special order cake made, or photo lab when you order pictures, or electronics when you do a pre order, should i go on?

          • jaya9581 says:

            I think you missed the point. I wasn’t arguing that someone could get my name off my credit card. But without a point of reference (in my example, people obviously knew where the Blizzard employee worked) they’d be hard pressed to figure out exactly who I am. Once you add an address into the mix it becomes a no-brainer.

      • Southern says:

        I guarantee you I can look at your drivers license for 2 seconds and remember the address long enough to write it down after you leave the checkout line.

        Generally irrelevant, though – with sites like ZabaSearch out there, even if you aren’t forced to show ID, all the clerk has to remember is your name (which is right on front of the credit card), and they can generally find out where you live. Or with a small monthly/yearly subscription, you can find out where pretty much anyone lives by looking up their cars license plate..

        Privacy is non-existant in the United States.

        • Bill610 says:

          “…with a small monthly/yearly subscription, you can find out where pretty much anyone lives by looking up their cars license plate…”

          Google “Driver’s Privacy Protection Act”. There is no legitimate business that offers a service anything like what you describe without requiring credentials (such as a private detective license) and a “permissible purpose” for the search, such as law enforcement, safety research, etc. I can tell you from my own experience that DMVs do audit requests for vehicle information.

    • curmudgeon5 says:

      Part of the problem is security — there have been many episodes of unscrupulous checkers writing down or memorizing key ID info and using it in identify theft later.

      Another part of the problem is simple principle. They have a legally binding contract with Mastercard saying they aren’t allowed to require ID, they’re violating that contract, and they’re inconveniencing customers in the process.

      If you WANT to show your ID, by all means, do. But people who choose not to, backed up by a LEGAL CONTRACT with the credit card company, should not be lied to and told they are required to.

      • parsonsdj1 says:

        I’m much more concerned with the “many people” who steal credit cards and then use them as if they were their own. Kudos to Walmart for ensuring that only the card holders get to use them. It’s about time that Visa and Mastercard followed Discover’s lead and changed the “binding contracts” to deprive folks of this absurd crutch upon which to rest their misguided opposition to sensible fraud prevention policies.

        • myCatCracksMeUp says:

          I don’t understand why you’re more concerned about “many people” who steal credit cards and then use them as if they were their own.

          The customer doesn’t have to pay for the items charged to a stolen credit card, so it’s not helping the customer.

          The stores do lose out, but the total amount of money lost this way is very minimal when compared to all the money charged legitimately by credit card customers.

          As soon as it’s realzied that a card is stolen, it can’t be used by a thief, and in fact, if a card is in the system as stolen, the police can be called to come arrest a person trying to use the card.

          As others have pointed out – a person’s drivers license contains information that the store clerk does NOT need to see.

          I personally don’t mind if the clerk asks what the billing zip code is and compares it to what’s in the system. I know they can see that and not the whole address and it’s a pretty good way to double check that the right person is using the card.

          • Tim in Wyoming says:

            There are a couple stores where I live that are doing that, ask for the zip code and match it to the billing address during authorization of the card. One time I gave them my PO BOX zip code and it denied the transaction, gave them my real and it worked, so I know that is a very real option to put in stores.

        • davidc says:

          Have you even checked up on where / how CC fraud takes place? like 95% or more of it happens in a “card not present” transaction. Over the phone, over the internet, etc, etc.

          Rarely does a professional CC thief (the type you have to worry about) waltz into a location (that has video camera’s) and try to walk out with a TV using YOUR credit card.

          Also, those clerks don’t actually *check* anything. They just stare at your card for a second. They are just doing it for the store camera’s.

          So yea, many of you need to stop drinking the Koolaid and actually be informed.

    • makaze says:

      VISA was running ads showing how you didn’t need to show ID for check card purchases when using the VISA portion of the card. Yet the stores come up with their own rules about requiring ID.

      I guess thats why these people work at walmart though..

    • jaya9581 says:

      My two stand-by examples:

      1. You are dropping several grand on an awesome new home theater setup. Clerk asks for ID. Sees where you live. Clerk now knows where you live and that you have money AND a ton of awesome new electronics… Let your imagination fill in the rest.

      2. Clerk REALLY likes kids. You go in with yours. Clerk asks for ID. Sees where you live. Now knows where to find your kids again…

      Alarmist, maybe. But I’d personally rather be safe than sorry. I don’t have a problem with stores asking for ID, nor do I have a problem with people showing it. But I personally refuse to show it because of my beliefs and concerns over my safety and privacy.

      • PupJet says:

        Your two standby examples are pathetic at best. I have just one standby example for yours:

        Paranoid much?

        • dolemite says:

          Ok, how about: They have your credit card #, security code, and a copy of your signature to forge (from your credit card). Now they have your mailing address, billing address, birthdate and driver’s license number. A person can do a lot with those items.

          • Jezz1226 says:

            The problem is though if you give me your name and credit card number, I’m quite confident that with a computer with internet connection and five minutes I can find that same information (the only one that might be a problem is the drivers license number but I can count on one hand the number of times that information has been requested so I’m not sure how useful that information is in identity theft)

        • AwesomeJerkface says:

          Eh… the burglary one isn’t so unrealistic.

          1. Remember some guy’s name.
          2. Pretend to be hot a girl and friend them on Facebook.
          3. Check their statuses around the holidays.
          4. Rob them blind.

          And before you say this is unrealistic, please use Google. Or read this report put together by an insurance agency in England:

          The pedophile scenario is more unrealistic.

      • ZenMasterKel says:

        I’m calling BS on every person here that complains about this issue yet shows their ID when buying alcohol (and don’t tell me that you pay with cash when buying alcohol).

        • jesirose says:

          Whether you pay with cash or not it doesn’t matter. They ask for your ID to buy alcohol for LEGAL reasons. There’s an age restriction. They are actually allowed to ask for that by LAW. It has nothing to do with form of payment.

      • CBenji says:

        In a related story that is how my father met my mother. It was 1968. He sold her a color television & then he delivered it. Of course then she couldn’t get rid of him until she agreed to date him. She put it on her Sears card, and later I became history…

    • evnmorlo says:

      I keep my card next to my buttocks, so I suppose showing those to the cashier for inspection is no problem either.

    • AwesomeJerkface says:

      Personally, I care because I worked with a identity theft recovery company, and the numbers are depressing.

      While it’s more common for a identity thief to steal info in other ways, it’s pretty common for cashiers to steal your info. Just google “cashier steals identity”.

      It’s a lot easier, and free, to have your credit card company reverse a fraudulent purchase.

      Recovering your identity can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars and can take years to accomplish.

      I guess it’s your choice of what you fear more, but yeah, I’d personally rather deal with a wrongful purchase than identity theft.

    • Kryndar says:

      Well since I didn’t see anyone post this one for you yet, aside from my passport I don’t have a photo ID and I’m going to carry my passport on me at all times. So in my situation if you need to have photo ID for a credit card then you need to have a drivers licence. That being said I love the cards that have a photo on the back, none of mine do, and I don’t understand why more don’t do that.

  8. Skellbasher says:

    Wal-Mart is a corporate behemoth. If they are in fact going to follow through with not requiring ID, it’s going to take months to work all the way down the food chain to stores.

    Regardless, this is one of those fights not worth fighting. Mastercard isn’t going to stop dealing with Wal-Mart and lose out on the billions of transactions worth of fees.

    If you don’t like their policy, don’t shop there. I think this policy is stupid too, but it’s going to take a lot more than some Consumerist posts and strongly worded letters to make them change it. For every 1 person that complains, there are probably 20 million who don’t.

  9. myCatCracksMeUp says:

    This must be an individual Wal-Mart store thing. I don’t shop at Wal Mart often, maybe a fewtimes a year, but I’ve never been asked for ID or to show my receipt.

    Of course my local Wal-Mart is between BJ’s and Target and across the lot from Best Buy, and two stores down from Toys-R-Us, and there are many other stores in the same shopping center. It’s likely because of all their competition that they don’t do these things, and also why they are usually pretty clean, well stocked, and reasonably staffed.

  10. homehome says:

    I don’t understand why ppl are still bringing this up when they know MasterCard isn’t going to do anything. Only thing the consumer did was waste their own time.

    It doesn’t seem like ppl want a solution, you just want a fight. And if they didn’t check IDs, you’d be bitchin about something else they do.

    Quick solution to your problem, stop shopping there. If you’re not willing to do that, then just shut up and stop complaining. Obviously, MasterCard and others have received many complaints, they just don’t care. Basic arithmetic, your $6 versus Wal-Mart’s billion. You even thinking you’re gonna win show that either you’re naive, stupid or just like fights.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Really, people! What are you doing here complaining about the treatment of customers? Don’t you know there are whole web sites devoted to consumer issues?? Why do you have to come here and do that???

  11. backinpgh says:

    I’m presuming it will take the company at least a few weeks to create a CBL (computer based learning) module about credit card procedures and get every single cashier they hire to take the training.

  12. Kazbar says:

    Dear USA,

    It’s called Chip and Pin. Jump on the bandwagon already…

    -The World

  13. Urgleglurk says:

    Juat another of the many reasons I avoid WalMart as much as possible.

  14. Urgleglurk says:

    Just another of the many reasons I avoid WalMart as much as possible.

  15. Talisker says:

    Hitler made the Jews show their ID when they used their debit cards, and look what happened to them.

  16. stephent says:

    Is this really an issue for the bbb. Sounds like this person has too much time on their hands. Or needs to pull something out of somewhere.

  17. Jesse says:

    I guess one could carry a laminated copy of the generic merchant agreement with them like some of the cool kids do but that’s just silly. Personally, I would rather take 3 seconds to show ID versus wasting minutes throwing a fit. It’s not the cashier’s fault but usually a management policy to check ID’s on card transactions. If it’s that bothersome, one has the right not to shop there again.

    Although, I do agree that the practice of checking ID’s on credit card transactions is on the same asinine level as using those worhtless iodine “counterfeit detector pens.” Instead of management taking the time to train their employees, they’re using ineffective methods to detect fraud that seem to be better but they really aren’t. But in the end it’s not the poor cashier’s fault, don’t take it out on them.

  18. gnubian says:

    Wow .. you wiped out the 80+ original comments on the original posting of this.

  19. gnubian says:

    section 5.8.4 of the Mastercard Rules from 12 May, 2010 —

    5.8.4 Additional Cardholder Identification
    A Merchant must not refuse to complete a 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

    and the link to the .pdf .. http://www.mastercard.com/us/merchant/pdf/BM-Entire_Manual_public.pdf

  20. deleted2 says:

    I was at a BassPro store a few weeks ago and they asked for my ID, too.
    After a discussion with the manager and a call to MC , they decided it wasn’t necessary.

  21. PupJet says:

    The only problem I have is actually with Mastercard…there, I said it, I have a problem with the card company themselves/itself.

    I actually think (and I slap myself for thinking this) that Walmart is doing a GOOD thing by asking for ID because it prevents fraudulent charges, which in turn saves people a ton of headaches. So what if you have to show ID, BIG DEAL! At least they’re protecting you!

    • Tim in Wyoming says:

      Again they are protecting themselves not us. Since I am helping the merchant reduce their risk, what do I get compensated with? Nothing.

      Visa and MC say I don’t have to show my ID, that signature on the back of the panel is to prove I accept their terms. This is one terms or condition I will fight back on with a merchant.

      • homehome says:

        Why shouldn’t a company be able to protect themselves? Are you gonna pay back the money they lose on fraudulent charges that happen every day? Again, if you’re so concerned about someone using your info, just use cash, it gets around all those problems.

        • Liam Kinkaid says:

          Why should a company be able to willfully ignore certain parts of an agreement that they entered into in supposedly good faith? If they’re unwilling to abide by the terms that they agreed to, they should either have the terms changed or not enter into the agreement.

  22. physics2010 says:

    ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’
    There is a tremendous amount of apathy in our society. We let people get away with things because “it isn’t worth our time”. Thank goodness we can lazily submit things to the consumerist and feel that we’ve done something. It really cuts down on the shooting sprees.

  23. sopmodm14 says:

    i find it funny that the cc companies can lose so much money from ID theft that they DON”T require it

    • Dover says:

      The credit card companies don’t lose money, the merchants are on the hook for fraudulent purchases. I agree that this sucks, but it’s a risk they take just like the risk that they accept a fake bill or a bad check.

      • physics2010 says:

        Yep. The merchant loses out. I really think not checking the id is stupid, however its part of the agreement they signed. Renegotiate it. Just be consistent. As far as id checking goes though it is fairly useless as id is very easily forged. I don’t believe anyone has come up with a foolproof method yet, as even the biometric data stored on passports has been hacked.
        In regards to chip and pin, fraud did go up 25% after it was implemented, but thats only because the cards were back compatible for places like the U.S.and APAC, which is where all the fraud took place. Of course the British version of chip and pin was compromised awhile ago. I haven’t looked to see if the newer version the French were using, with its dynamic signature, has been cracked yet.

  24. Destron says:

    I think some of these come from a miss-communication of what the register prompts mean. When a walmart register process a CC transaction, It immediately returns that information back to the CC company and they can flag the register to ask for ID. The most common occurrence of this is when you make a purchase outside your normal spending habits. For example, you rarely ever used your card, but now your using it for your third time in 4 hours, all on high dollar purchases.

    The most common prompt however is to verify the card signature. In this case the person should look at the cards signature to make sure it is similar to the one on the receipt.

    The ID requests are VERY VERY rare. And given the amount of complaints recently, I think some people are confusing the prompt to check the signature as a prompt to check ID.

    The cashier should NOT clear the prompt until they do what it asks, so if you have any question tell them to SHOW YOU the register prompt. (In some cases you may see it on the other side). The only time they CAN ask for ID is id the register prompts. But they STILL CAN NOT refuse the transaction. If they really feel the transaction was suspicious they have a Suspicious Activity report they can fill out and fax to home office to investigate.

    • Dover says:

      Isn’t the signature supposed to be checked for *every* credit card transaction? Anyway, at my Wal-Mart, it’s SOP to ask for ID for every credit/debit card customer according to my experience and the store’s management, whom I discussed the issue with.

      I get a kick out of how the local Bed Bath and Beyond handles things: they ask everyone for ID but are perfectly happy if you flip the card over and hand it back to them so they can see the signature.

      And, a CSB: once, a woman in front of me at a register was taken aback when the cashier asked for ID until the cashier showed her the signature strip on her card where she’d written “See ID”. I guess she wasn’t accustomed to people asking her even though she requested it.

    • mha63 says:

      you may be right, in the two most recent cases, the WalMart employee said it is “store policy” to ask for ID. However, just because a cashier says its store policy, doesn’t mean it is, doesn’t mean its WalMart’s corporate policy, and doesn’t mean its allowed or legal. In fact, as the letter from MasterCard that was posted last week clearly states, retailers are not allowed to ask for ID as a matter of general store policy.

  25. poco says:

    Why would you go anywhere without your ID? Also, I’m thrilled to see Wal Mart actually carding people. Last year my father’s wallet was stolen and the thieves charged $800 to his credit card at Wal Mart before he was able to cancel it. They didn’t ID the criminals then even for a huge purchase.

  26. ahow628 says:

    I think I’m going to carry a redacted copy of my driver’s license around.

    “We need to make sure the names match.”
    “Ok. Here you go.”
    “Sir, your address, date of birth, and driver’s license numbers are blacked out.”
    “Um, yeah. Duh. My name certainly isn’t.”

    • Destron says:

      Actually, to be a valid ID it must be unaltered, so by law, they would not be able to accept that as a valid form of ID.

  27. SecondGuesser says:

    True, chances are that this is a silly waste of time. However, if it is not YOUR waste of time, then we should have no problem.

    The point of credit card associations like MasterCard is that they provide GUARANTEED payment for merchants. If merchants follow the rules in their agreement, then they get paid. Those rules may include capturing a signature, verifying the signature on the back of the card, or capturing a PIN.

    So if you’re of the “waste of time” argument then you have an equal beef with Walmart for wasting everyone’s time needlessly. It’s a PR ploy to ask for ID and it has no material impact on Walmart getting paid, assuming that they’re following the other rules.

  28. mha63 says:

    First, both organizations are rather larger. I spoke with General Counsel of WalMart, and he seemed rather genuine in his assurance that when these brains farts (my language, not his) take place at the store level and are reported up the food chain, they are and will be corrected. Second, MasterCard also indicated that its not like they have a direct line to one person for instaneous correction of said brain fairts.

    With that said, if there is a belief that MasterCard will not enforce its Merchant Agreement against larger retailers, such as WalMart, then that leaves a few options. First, a concerted effort by card holders to switch to cash or some other form of payment, which is probably unlikely. Second, and one that I will begin exploring, is some sort of class action suit to provide relief. I do think that there an actionable class action suit here, but what is not clear is what damages can be proven.

  29. StrangeEmily says:

    Oh my gosh… the fight for people not wanting to buy a better wallet so its easier to get out ID is still going on!?!
    My friends, we must help these poor unfortunate souls buy finding them cheap wallets so they won’t get wallet-carpal-tunnel syndrome!

    • jamar0303 says:

      Uh-huh. And it has nothing to do with the fact that this policy is full of holes. With my Chinese DL I’ve had people either reject it or just assume it’s OK even if the card doesn’t match it.

  30. Destron says:

    The thing that makes me laugh about all the moaning and crying people do about showing their ID for a credit card purchase, and yet there are a ton of transactions people do every day that they ARE required to show ID for and actually have their ID analyzed to complete the transaction.

    99% if the time, when you show your ID on a CC purchase, they barely look at it.

    • Tim in Wyoming says:

      If they barely look at it than why ask for it? I said in another topic I am all about the least possible information. If the states will issue secondary IDs that just state my name and have my photo, I would be open to publicly showing that ID. Stores and their employees do NOT need to see the information on my driver’s license unless there is a statutory or federal law stating I have to… Only two I can think of is alcohol and guns.

  31. ossuary says:

    Was it a Mastercard credit card? Or a Mastercard debit card? I am guessing there could be a difference based on bank policy.

    Now if someone could just do something about that damned receipt policy…..

  32. n0th1ng says:

    I have a question about credit cards: So the rules are that they are not allowed to ask for ID? I have always been wondering why my boss would send my teamleader to the store with his credit card to buy stuff and how he was able to use it.
    So what protects credit card users from abuse? Someone could buy a bunch of shit and you wouldn’t know till the end of the month.
    I am wondering since i got my first credit card about 2 months ago. and is it useless for my aunt to give me her ID to go to the store to buy groceries on her credit card?

  33. macruadhi says:

    I agree that harming animals is atrocious, but animals usually have some ability to defend themselves by means of tooth and claw.

  34. Dallas_shopper says:

    Kind of wants me to pile a cart high with crap, then leave it there at the register when they demand ID. With my luck they wouldn’t though! ;-)

  35. thor79 says:

    Sounds like Walmart is handling it on the store level. I’m sure they’re leaving it up to each store manager to decide their own story policy regarding this type of thing. So the store managers who have had more credit card fraud will likely choose to check ID’s. Mastercard and Walmart both say they don’t require an ID for a transaction, but they also don’t forbid asking for one.

  36. dush says:

    Clearly this no ID rule is in the merchant agreements.
    Does anyone know exactly why? What is its purpose?
    Customer privacy? Not to hassle the card user?

  37. mha63 says:

    As the original sender of the prior WalMart – MasterCard story https://consumerist.com/2010/09/mastercard-confirms-walmart-should-not-have-demanded-id-for-purchase.html, I think its time to make a clear distinction.

    Specifically, it appears that based on both the Merchant Agreement and the letter sent to me by MasterCard and posted in the above referenced posting from September 23, 2010, a retailer can ask for ID. However, a retailer cannot refuse to complete a transaction solely because a Cardholder, who has met other requirements (such as signing the back of the card), refuses to produce ID. Both the Merchant Agreement and letter from MasterCard unequivocally say that a retailer cannot refuse to complete a transaction if you, the Cardholder decide not to provide ID.

    The moral of the story is that if asked for ID, you may decline the request. If you so choose to be inconvenienced or can rationalize giving into the cashier, that is your perogative.

  38. ReVeLaTeD says:

    ID, I don’t matter. What bothers me are places (mostly taco shops and delis) who charge me a fee to use my MasterCard. I boycott such places as it’s clearly against policy and they don’t care. My co-workers are more than happy to pay the fee repeatedly.

  39. kewpie says:

    When I lived in a larger city I was able avoid Wal-Mart entirely, but where I live now I have to drive 30 miles to get to a real grocery store. I do actually drive that far (or farther) to do my regular shopping, but for quick trips to pick up a couple items, I don’t have any other options.