Post Office Says It's Too Cool To Abide By Credit Card Merchant Agreement

Steve got into what J.K. Rowling would describe as a “row” with a Postal Service worker who demanded he show his ID to make a MasterCard purchase. This is a violation of MasterCard policy, but that doesn’t matter, according to the employee, because the Post Office is like the Fonz in that it plays by its own rules.

He writes:

Keith, the postal clerk, asked for a picture ID. I said I don’t have to provide it. Keith said he won’t accept the credit card. When I told him about the Mastercard rule prohibiting asking for picture ID, Keith said, “The Post Office dose not have to abide by MasterCard’s rules, we’re the Post Office.”

I told Keith I would be filing a complaint with MasterCard.

Keith asked what would I do if someone else was using my card.

I said I wouldn’t be responsible for the fraudulent charges.

One error the postal worker made is forgetting to add the word “bitch” at the end of his comments to Steve. “We’re the Post Office, bitch” would have been far more resonant.

Previously: Why Won’t Walmart Tell Its Employees They Can’t Demand ID For MasterCard Purchases?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Holybalheadedchrist! says:

    Fonzy had great timing and usually delivered, which would be an improvement for the USPS. He also seldom raised his fees.

  2. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    “One error the postal worker made is forgetting to add the word “bitch” at the end of his comments to Steve. “We’re the Post Office, bitch” would have been far more resonant.”

    I can’t imagine The Fonz would ever talk like that.

  3. Beeker26 says:

    I simply do not understand why some are so adamant about not showing their ID. Seriously, do you think you’re so important that the clerk really gives a #$Q@# where you live???

    So you stand up for your “rights”, and what does that really get you? Not being able to buy the thing you went shopping for. Bravo. The world is now a better place.

    • Nisun says:

      Yep, just like your pointless comment.

      • JamesBE says:

        I don’t think you understand how to reply to things “Just like your pointless comment” in the context of what he said, means absolutely nothing. What’s just like his pointless comment exactly?

    • Beave says:

      It’s a great example of people with nothing better to do getting indignant when a merchant is trying to protect that person and themselves from theft and fraud.

      These are the same types of people who like to file lawsuits against their school district because their child’s rights were somehow abused when a teacher made the mistake of handing out Christmas instead of Holiday cookies.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        The merchant is not looking out for the customer. The customer is already protected from fradulent charges by using his credit card. The merchant is looking out for the mechant, and only the merchant.

        So you benevolent message is completely inaccurate. Asking for ID in no shows that the merchant cares about you at all.

      • Delta1 says:

        No merchant, anywhere, is ever trying to protect a consumer. When they ask for ID, they are trying to protect themselves, period, full stop. You can argue all you want about whether it is appropriate, but leave the red herrings out of it.

        • Beeker26 says:

          But if a store winds up having to eat continued losses due to fraud guess what happens? Prices go up for everyone.

          So yes, they are out to protect themselves, but ultimately doing so protects those that shop there as well.

          • Dunkelzahn says:

            It’s easier to obtain a fake ID than it is to obtain someone’s credit card or use fraud to obtain one in someone elses name. Chances are, the person using someone else’s credit card has all the tools to make a pretty legit looking ID. Last time I checked, the only ones running IDs through the card machine is 7-11.

            It’s not required of them to check ID. They shouldn’t ask in the first place. Period.

          • Rachacha says:

            And if stores have to continue to eat losses they can decide to drop their merchant account and stop accepting credit cards. If enough stores stop taking credit cards, then the credit card companies will need to find something more secure.

            The cost of credit card fraud is reported to be approximately $0.07 per $100 or transactions, and while this collectively adds up to a significant amount of money, it is an amount that can be thrown into “the cost of doing business”. How often in this day and age do you think that a credit card thief is going to walk into a brick and mortar store to purchase something and risk being caught on camera using a credit card that was reported stolen? Online fraud rates are likely going to be higher where a fradulent user can remain relatively anonomous.

            • Putaro says:

              We’ve taken credit cards in our online shop for about 7 years now and out of around 15000 orders we’ve only just hit our first possible fraudulent order (we’re not sure if it’s actually fraudulent, but it’s been disputed and when we checked the address given it’s fake – but some people just like to do that for online orders anyhow). We do get 5-10 chargebacks a year but it’s usually people who have forgotten they they purchased something. It’s a huge hassle and it takes forever to get the money out of the credit card processor once a chargeback is started, even after the customer has written us a letter saying they really did buy the product.

              Overall taking credit cards has been one of the basic foundations of our business.

          • davidc says:

            “But if a store winds up having to eat continued losses due to fraud guess what happens? Prices go up for everyone.”

            Your assuming that “ID Checks” actually have a meaningful reduction on Fraud. You probably also assume that “Receipt Checking” likewise has a meaningful reduction on Fraud.

            You would be wrong in both cases. Furthermore, when I acquired my CC, I was told it would be hassle free. Showing my ID tends to be a “hassle”. I am not sticking up for the CC company, I am merely using the product as it was intended.

            Reality is that most clerks don’t do squat with your ID, they only look at it for the camera’s sake so they don’t lose their jobs. Then again, it’s not *most* clerks I am concerned about, it’s the 1 clerk that is actually reading my card that I am concerned about.

      • MMD says:

        Not even close, actually.
        There’s a legal document that tells the merchant how to act. That document is being ignored. Comparing breach of contract to a subjective argument over religious expression makes for a pretty weak argument.

    • Mike says:

      ZOMG,they could like steal teh information and buyz stuff!!!!! ID theft oh noes!!!!!!

      If you really want to protect your ID, use cash everywhere.

      I have to agree with you, people are terrified of ID theft, even though there are plenty of measures out there to help you catch fraudulent charges. I mean, they are free to freak out if they want, but seriously I had someone open up a credit card in my name to a fraudulent address. They charged $500, I found out, called the credit card company, got it cleared up on my credit report, end of story. Just because something can happen doesn’t mean a) It will, and b) it is the end of the world if it does.

      I had one house struck by lightening and burn down and another have the roof torn off and flooded by a tornado. That doesn’t mean I hide every time I see a storm. People really freak out at even the remote possibility of ID theft because they hear one scary story here or there. I am very happy to show my ID, especially for large purchases.

      • Flashed47 says:

        BAHA I like your attitude toward crappy events and that people really need to stop freaking out about this kind of stuff, BUT HOLY CRAP you have some CRAPPY luck.

        • Mike says:

          LOL. I didn’t even scratch the surface of some of the bad luck I have. Bouts with meningitis, my wife got SARS in China, I was in Zimbabwe during a financial breakdown, I was in Lesotho during a military coup.

          Although I never really look at it as bad luck, I look at it is great conversational material. :)

          • BigBoat2 says:

            I like and agree with your laid back attitude. However, not sweating trouble does not mean inviting it. Just as I’m not going to run around with sheet metal on the prairie during a lightning storm, I’m also not going to whip out my driver’s license wily nilly.

      • Rommel says:

        Like the everyone being terrified of pitbulls?

        Pitbulls themselves are not violent or vicious, it’s the owner. If you raise a pitbull like an actual dog, not for the purpose of fighting them, then they are nice dogs. I, for example, have a pitbull. It has not attacked ANY of the 50+ people he’s met. Of course, he doesn’t have much of a brain, but still. He’s nice.

        I would freak out about ID theft, provided everyone was getting hit by it or I knew about it and it was GOING to happen 100%. People just overreact.

    • Flashed47 says:

      I have never been asked to show my I.D. but nor would I want to. I personally use my credit card because its easier than everything else. I slide it and maybe sign and then I’m done. quick and easy.

      Showing my I.D. is just a pain and an extra step to have to take my wallet back out and dig around to find it. I might as well start writing checks if they are going to require I.D.’s that way it sucks for everyone, one has to take it out and the other has to write down the number or put it in the system.

      I thought credit/debit cards were suppose to make life easier and quicker? Having to show an I.D. doesn’t do that. You ever watch a woman dig around in her purse for her I.D.? I have and it fricken takes forever.

      I’m just sayin though.

    • MMD says:

      Actually, people who stand up for their rights routinely make the world a better place. Better, anyway, than those who just roll over and accept the erosion of their rights.

      • craptastico says:

        by “their rights” you mean the rights of Mastercard and Visa to put all the liability on the merchant?

        • Difdi says:

          No, the right to expect that if a company makes a deal, they will abide by it. Basic contract law stuff.

          • MMD says:

            Thank you – exactly that. I believe that everyone, whether it’s a company or an individual, should honor their agreements and should be held accountable when they don’t.

    • Zen says:

      Just because you would rather roll over than stand up doesn’t make people standing up for their rights (and yours) a bad idea.

      • sixsevenco says:

        I’m neurtal on this issue. But are you standing up for your rights, or mastercard’s? I guess its the presentation. I get the arguement for personal privacy, but when people use “a violation of merchant agreement” as the reason, it seems artifical to me. Why are people so concerned with defending MC and VISA?

        • MMD says:

          It’s not about protecting MC or Visa. It’s about expecting that a company will follow all regulations and laws that pertain to it. If a merchant ignores their merchant agreement with MC or Visa, what else will they try to get away with? Overcharging? Denying returns or exchanges? Bait and switch? Allow a business to get away with one problematic practice and more will surely follow.

          • Anaxamenes says:

            But the Post Office can receive the chargeback for fraudulent use of a credit card. The Credit card company doesn’t always just eat the charge. I think this guy was just being a jerk, and wasting everyone’s time in line. It’s the f-ing POST OFFICE for crissakes! They magically take you letter and travel it across the country for 50 cents! get over yourself or send it Fed Ex.

            • MMD says:

              The Post Office, or any other merchant for that matter, accepts that risk by accepting credit cards in the first place. The rest of your comment is immaterial.

      • Beeker26 says:

        Sure, when a.) it’s a right; and b.) it’s a right worth fighting for. Both of which this ain’t.

      • Griking says:

        A reasonable person wouldn’t look at it as “rolling over”.

        • Difdi says:

          Yes, a reasonable person would. Which kinda proves that “reasonable” is such a subjective term (usually applied to mean “people exactly like myself”) that it’s a useless term.

        • MMD says:

          The people who won’t “roll over” are the only ones with objective fact on their side. There is a merchant agreement that prohibits ID checks. That’s a fact.

          Can those who are against protesting ID checks explain why it’s ok for contracts to be ignored?

          • Griking says:

            Hey fine, if you want to take that stand then I expect not too see any more posts here about people upset that they can’t return a product after the posted return policy, complaints about anything in a EULA or any other contract for that matter. After all, we all accept these agreements when we purchase things or install things so we have no right to argue.

          • johnrhoward says:

            It’s also a fact that the credit card comanies don’t enforce those rules in cases like these.

    • El_Fez says:

      I simply do not understand why some are so adamant about not showing their ID.

      And if you don’t have any? Or don’t have it with you?

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    “We’re the Post Office.”

    Really? That is so the “do you know who I am?” line you get from D-list celebrities.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Answer to which is always “no, don’t you know who you are?”

    • kc2idf says:

      I had heard a story about someone pushing to the front of a line using that expression. The attendant at the front of the line picked up a bullhorn and announced to everyone else in the line, “May I have your attention please? This person has forgotten who he is. If you know him, please fill him in. Thank you.”

      • MountainCop says:

        That happened at a United Airlines gate at the old Stapleton Airport in Denver.

        A flight had been cancelled due to weather and the agent was trying to get everyone on that flight rescheduled. This ‘gentleman’ (and I use the term loosely) barged up to the front of the line, interrupted the agent and said “I need to be on the next flight to XXX, and it needs to be first class!” The agent politely said that she would be happy to help him but to please wait in line. He boomed out in an arrogant tone “Do you know who I am??”. Of course, everyone at the gate and around the gate heard this tirade.

        She smiled and got on the PA and said “Ladies and gentleman, we have a gentleman at gate xx who does NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone in the terminal can assist this gentleman, please come to gate xx. Thank you.”

        He stormed off in a huff – yelling and muttering to himself how he was going to have her job… to the sound of EVERYONE at the gate laughing and applauding the agent.

        Belileve me, it was great. I had just come off a plane near that gate and heard the whole thing – and I put my bags down and joined the applause. It made my day to see that arrogant jackass outsmarted wiht wit and style.

  5. AnonymousCoward says:

    Pay cash next time. It’ll be better for all of us in line behind you.

    • MMD says:

      Why should he change his purchasing habits because the merchant can’t honor the agreement?
      If you’re so concerned about the time you spend in line, buy your postage online.

  6. Wrayvin says:

    I do lots of transactions at the Post office by credit card. I have never been asked for my I.D and I do have a Mastercard. I wonder if this is once again improper employee training. The only thing I get asked for is what the last 4 digits are. I swipe my card at the terminal, and they enter the last 4 at their register/computer.

    • apple420 says:

      I wonder if it is improper consumer practices. Was the card this person used signed? You know next to where it says “not valid without signature”. If there is no signature they can check ID to verify the signature.

      • Doncosmic says:

        Why would they do this, it’s still not valid

        • RvLeshrac says:

          Technically, they’re supposed to check ID, have you sign the card, and, should you refuse to sign the card, collect the card for return to the issuer.

          • TheJinManCan says:

            Do you know how many people do not sign their damn cards? I want to say about 80% of people that come to my store have that box blank. 15% say “CHECK ID” and the rest actually sign it. If your thing says “CHECK ID” or has nothing on it, I will ask for ID to match that signature and that picture.

            Yes, “CHECK ID” is invalid on the card and all card issuers say so. I understand WHY people do this, and I get thanked every – single – time that I comply by their request. I’ve only had one person ever blow up on me about checking his ID. He didn’t have his card signed. His response was to go “Oh” … and slowly show me his ID, and then he signed it immediately after his purchase.

            Just because you THINK the merchant is just doing it for themselves is BS, also. I am a human being, and ID theft processes are a pain in the ass. Sure, at the end, everything is resolved. But do you really want to go through days and maybe weeks worth of hassle getting everything cleared up or does it really pain you to flash your ID within 30 seconds or less?

            I know, I know. “BUT MY RIGHTS, I AM STANDING UP FOR THEM.” Bigger ones are worth fighting for. Example, the government’s black listing of internet sites that “infringe”? Yeah, we should fight against THAT.

  7. packy says:

    “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the Phone Company.”

  8. apple420 says:

    I’ve always heard that the post office strictly adheres to credit card policies. Is it possible the card wasn’t signed? In that case they do require a photo ID, and that is in line with the rules. I’ve also heard stories of them refusing cards that say “See ID”

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If this were the case, you would think the OP writer would have mentioned that.

      But he didn’t, so no. That’s not the case here.

      • apple420 says:

        Can’t tell if you are joking like in the Best Buy thread :)
        But usually when people make a big point about making stores follow the credit card policies, they mention that their card is signed as that is an important fact. No signature, then ID check is proper procedure. If his card was signed, then he as a right to be annoyed (as I usually am when asked for my ID).

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          If the signature were the issue, the Post Office employee would have said that. But he didn’t, he states the Post Office is above the rules. That is the issue at hand.

          It seemed very clear to me a signature was not an issue here.

          • apple420 says:

            All he said was the ID was required. He shouldn’t have to go over the credit card agreement line by line with every customer who thinks they know the rules better.
            I do see your point, and his response was rather unprofessional. There aren’t enough details in the story either way.

    • Dover says:

      I found this story surprising, too, as I’ve always known USPS to be a stickler about credit card rules.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      Actually, the agreements read (at least when I worked in retail) that if a card is not signed, they cannot accept the card. The only verification that you were allowed was to compare the back of the card to the signature on the pad.

      • apple420 says:

        According to the Visa agreement ( the proper procedure is to check the ID, have them sign the card, and verify the two signatures are the same. I know the article talked about MasterCard, so their policy may be different.

  9. AllanG54 says:

    Another jerk who started an argument, held up the line and proved nothing. Does he really think that Mastercard is going to send the Post Office some kind of reprimand and not allow them to take the card.

    • JamesBE says:

      Yes he does. Because HIS OUTRAGE is far more important than anything else! Don’t you know that?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      And what consequences do you suspect will occur when no one fights for their legal rights at all?

    • cheezfri says:

      Yes, if you complain to Mastercard, they WILL send a letter to the merchant in question. This nearly always results in the merchant changing their policy. If they don’t change their policy, then they are in violation of the agreement they had to sign with their bank, and they will have to get a new bank, who will go through the same thing with them again. Why wouldn’t the bank just allow them to get away with requiring IDs? Because the bank has their own agreement with Mastercard, who can prohibit the bank from accepting any Mastercards at all.

  10. JamesBE says:

    You’re right, you’re not responsible for fraudulent charges. But those cost the time and money of the the credit card company, which increase rates for everyone.

    Mastercard just needs to abolish that stupid rule so people who are these real-life trolls without any real problems can just shut up, show their freaking ID and get the hell out of the damn line so people who actually have things to do can get on with their damn day.

  11. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    It takes 2 seconds to flash your ID, and have him glance back at your face to visually confirm you’re the named cardholder.

    Seriously. Find another cause. This one is old and tired.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Yours is pretty old and tired, too. The whole argument is pretty old and tiring.

      • Salty Johnson says:

        Well as long as douchebags feel the need to waste 5 minutes of my time because it’s against their moral code to show their ID to the cashier, this “argument” will continue.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Alternatively, as long as douchebag managers who don’t know how to follow the contract rules which they or their superiors signed, this “argument” will continue. Faster? Yes. But since all they are doing is fighting against a breach of contract, I don’t see why the hate.

          And the argument rages on…

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        His argument doesn’t hold up everyone else while we’re waiting in line.

    • Rachacha says:

      What benefit does showing an ID provide?
      – The signature on my license, and the receipt and the credit card do not match simply because of the space allotted to sign each document. How will someone who looks at my ID be able to verify that the signatures match with a quick 5 second look?
      – My physical appearance and the photo on my ID do not match. Since I last had my ID photo taken, I have put on a few pounds and gained some grey hairs. Also, I normally wear glasses, but when I had my OD phot taken, the agent had me remove my glasses because he could not get rit of the glare in the photo.
      – Fake IDs are easy to obtain. If I were a thief, I could easily obtain an ID that showed the same name as was on the credit card so everything would match.

      So with all that said, what benefit does showing an ID have? Provide me one good reason, and I will happily show my ID every time my ID is requested.

      • Beeker26 says:

        I’m betting your photo looks a lot more like you than it would a person of the opposite sex or race. Really Clark Kent? Do you think people are so stupid they can’t tell it’s the same person without the glasses??

        • Rachacha says:

          True, a few second glance at my ID will confirm that the user of the credit card (assuming I am not using a fake ID) should not be a female or Hispanic, African American, Asian or some other minority That leaves about 80 million or so caucasian males who might look like me. Still not great odds.

      • Griking says:

        What benefit does showing an ID provide?

        It’ll get you and everyone behind you through the line faster.

      • mcgyver210 says:

        How about the fact that just as you said your signature on your card, license etc most likely will not match your signed receipt gives the merchant the right to deny the charge especially with your attitude. As for merchant agreements they are very one sided & due to consumer abuse among other things Merchants are demanding change in this monopolistic industry which when it happens consumers may wish they only had to show ID sometimes.

        Trust me there are plenty of ways to not take your card if a Merchant so chooses. Consumers should praise a proactive Merchant that is only trying to protect the consumer (don’t for a minute think you wont pay for Fraud) & the merchant from possible Fraud.

        As for me I like it when a Merchant request ID being a victim of Identity theft a few years ago. No I wasn’t held responsible for the fraudulent charges but it was literally months getting it all fixed & all my money back.

  12. Kodai says:

    Wait a sec. I have “Check ID” on my credit cards along with my signature. My local post office won’t take my credit card because I did this (not that I need many stamps). Now they require someone to show ID?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Writng that does nothing, and does not change any requirements of the merchant.

      • hymie! says:

        Writng [Check ID] does nothing, and does not change any requirements of the merchant.

        The merchant is no longer required to accept it, and is in fact encouraged to reject it.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I was thinkign that too, but didn’t say so because I wasn’t sure. So his attempt at additional security harms him instead.

        • hymie! says:

          Sorry, I missed the part about “along with my signature”.

        • mcgyver210 says:

          All my cards have Check ID & I can say I have never had one merchant have any issue with it since it is ultimately a little more security for them & me. No it isn’t perfect but yes it is better than the current system everyone wants to argue about.

    • apple420 says:

      The post office requires you to show ID if the card is not signed. This follows the credit card agreement. They also strictly follow the agreement and sometimes refuse a card without a valid signature (i.e. ‘see id’)
      I am not saying this is the case here. This case could be an overzealous postal worker not following the rules. Can’t really tell from the article.

    • MMD says:

      Writing Check ID on the card is a futile gesture. Individuals on either side of the transaction don’t have the authority to override the merchant agreement. Period.

  13. DanRydell says:

    I love that no one ever cares about security because they’re not responsible for the charges if someone uses their stolen credit card. Nevermind that all of that money has to come from somewhere, it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t come DIRECTLY from me.

  14. Zeniq says:

    I’m really surprised at most of the comments on this article. The majority slam the OP for holding up the line and not just showing ID.

    Really, people? The OP is merely trying to get the clerk to follow by the rules mandated by their agreement with Mastercard. If the Post Office employee is the one breaking the rules, why are you bitching out the OP?

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Because his Brave, Bold Stand for HIS RIGHTS made me late to work.

      Okay, so it wasn’t him, it was some other fool who thinks arguing that point is taking a stand. But I was still late.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Why do you blame the victim of a breach of contract rather than the perpetrator?

      • Gtmac says:

        Actually he was standing up for your rights as well (assuming you have a MasterCard or Visa). the fact that he obviously cares about them more than you do is your problem, not his.

      • MMD says:

        You’re the one who tried to run an errand that could take an indeterminate amount of time before work. Own your responsibility on this.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You’re really suprised? You don’t read Consumerist much. This argument has raged on since the begining of time…. or Consumerist.

    • apple420 says:

      There is not enough information in the story to determine if they violated the rules or not. If the OP had provided more information then we could villify the post office. As I read the story I can’t tell who is at fault.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      At Consumerist, the business is always right.

  15. Gramin says:

    MasterCard, OP, et al vs. Post Office (a.k.a. U.S. Government). Hmm… I wonder who is going to win this argument…

  16. smbizowner says:


    if your card was signed so we could compare your signature….. I wouldn’t ask for ID bitch

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Oh, I guess I missed the part where he said his card wasn’t signed.

      Wait….he didn’t. RTFA. Pointless comment, move along.

  17. Zeratul010 says:

    You know, for everybody who says “Just show your damn ID, it’s a non-issue” – there are people out there for whom it’s not just a matter of principle, but an actual privacy and safety concern.

    For example – I’m transgender, in the early stages of hormone replacement therapy going from male to female. I live in an extremely rural, extremely small close-minded community. You can be damn sure that my ID doesn’t come out except when absolutely necessary. The sales clerk doesn’t need to know where I live when I’m buying clothing/makeup/other items that don’t conform to my birth sex. I don’t need raised eyebrows, nasty comments, or someone making a note of my address for “corrective measures” later. (And if you think I’m paranoid, we had a young man dragged off, beaten, and gang-raped for being gay not six months ago.)

    And while my example is at the extreme end of the spectrum, the principle transfers over to other people. There are unscrupulous people out there who would easily use the information on an ID to cause others problems, whether in the form of identity theft, stalking, or revealing private purchases. Yes, showing an ID could prevent fraud – but if someone uses my card fraudulently, I’m more inclined to handle the problem with the bank directly, as it minimizes the number of places I have to hand out personal information.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      While you have my sympathies for having to endure idiots and worse just for being yourself, I have to take issue with a few of your points. Showing ID isn’t so a clerk can ‘know where (you) live’, it’s to check your name, and possibly signature, against the one on the credit card. In addition, it’s highly unlikely that fraud or identity theft will occur based on a brief glance at your ID; a stolen credit card or card number is a far better way.

      • ARP says:

        But since he/she (sorry, you didn’t mention, which directions you’re transitioning) probably lives in a certain amount of fear, given his/her location, I would be reluctant to give anyone more information than they need for the transaction.

      • LandruBek says:

        Obviously the nominal purpose is not to facilitate assault, but it does that, so why should this person or ANYONE comply? The fact is, everyone’s privacy is something that should be valued and protected, not just those who have some particular reason to want to keep their private information private. This is why no one should show ID when asked for no good reason, even if it does make some people late for work.

      • Rachacha says:

        How effective is a brief glance at the ID and the credit card going to prevent fraud. The signature on my CC and ID don’t match to the casual observer, so how will it prove that I am the authorized user.

        Users of credit cards are responsible for their own security why/how? Very Simple: Sign the card as soon as you get it, this way, if the card is lost or stolen, your personal signature is on it. The merchant can compare the signature on the card with the signature on the receipt. Doing this is just as effective as looking at the signature on an ID and comparing it with the signature on the credit card.

  18. nakkypoo says:

    I believe the postal employee may be right. As a quasi-government agency, they do strike special deals with credit card companies. Government agencies are also allowed to levy a surcharge for using credit cards.

    • ellemdee says:

      There’s a 2% fee if I pay for my plate tabs with a credit card. There’s also a HUGE fee (maybe even as high as 3 figures) if I pay my property taxes with a credit card at the SOS counter. My city uses a third party company to process the tax payments but, since it’s on behalf of the government, I guess that’s how they get away with the huge fee.

      • nybiker says:

        I believe most state & local govts have those third-party processors, but IIRC, the fees are usually added when you’re paying fines or taxes. NY’s DMV doesn’t charge a fee to pay your registration value (at least not the last time I had to do it, which was 2008, IIRC).

        I think more people would use a credit card if those processing fees weren’t so high (2% is too high; I’m thinking more like half a percentage point – 0.5%). For a state contract, I would imagine the processor would still make money. Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  19. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Show your damn ID, show your damn receipt, people. And when a white person demands you move to the back of the bus, you better fucking move to the back of the bus.

    • Mike says:

      Show your damn ID,YEAH! show your damn receipt, people. YEAH! And when a white person demands you move to the back of the bus, you better fucking move to the back of the bus. YEAH! Wait, what?

      As someone whose family grew up in segregation in the south and had to ride in the back of the bus, I am lost as to the connection.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        It’s a jab at those who demand we do things that convenience them even when they are wrong. Segregation is wrong, even when laws supporting it were on the books. Even after segregation was deemed illegal, many still followed the practice. So you could either just move to the back of the bus – which was simply easier and faster – or you could stand up for your rights and say no.

        Demanding that the merchant follow the contract they signed is standing up for everyone’s legal rights, even if others don’t want you to. I know it’s not a comparison at equal footing, but I can’t think of a better parallel. I still don’t understand why a lot of people like to blame the victim of breach of contract rather than the perpetrator.

        • Mike says:

          I know it’s not a comparison at equal footing, but I can’t think of a better parallel.

          I understand your beef with the merchants who are violating the rules they agreed to, but in the future perhaps it would be best not to diminish the courage of Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights movement by comparing it to a dispute about a credit card agreement.

          But you are 100% correct, people are blaming the victim here.

          • LandruBek says:

            Although I don’t agree with your general attitude of compliance when merchants ask for ID, I do agree that we don’t want to make light of the courage of the civil rights revolutionaries who helped overthrow the American version of apartheid. What they did was incredibly dangerous and awesome.

            However, I don’t think Loias is trying to equate the two: it is (as you know) the use of exaggeration to make a point. I think Loias is saying that the path-of-least-resistance attitude of compliance and submission is sometimes not the right thing to do. My wish is that all Americans would put up a strong resistance to the trend of having to show ID or other documentation for quotidian purposes — to make purchases and to travel.

  20. wetrat says:

    And what of the Automated Postal Center? You can weigh your package, swipe your card, put on the sticker, and drop it in the box, 24 hours a day, all without ever interacting with a clerk. Certainly the APC does not check for ID. So it seems a bit silly that the clerk at the counter would check for ID…. a fraudster would just head straight for the APC.

    • raphaeladidas says:

      I would love to know how frequently stolen credit cards are used at post office counters.

      • humphrmi says:

        My first thought was, probably moreso back when stamps were legal tender, but back then credit cards also weren’t as pervasive. {shrug} Dunno.

    • apple420 says:

      I mentioned the APC in another article and everyone blasted me about how almost no post offices actually have them. Maybe this one doesn’t either.

    • TinaBringMeTheAx says:

      But the APC takes your photo….you don’t see the little camera there?

  21. aloria says:

    I was under the impression that most of England used the term “row,” not just that hack Rowling.

  22. raphaeladidas says:

    The point of this issue with me has always been that the businesses are VIOLATING their contracts with the card companies. If you make an agreement, you should honor it.

    How many of the persons here who say “Just show your ID” would be screaming bloody murder if they had a contract with a builder to construct a 20×20 deck and the builder made it 10×40 and said “Oh, I just decided to build it how I wanted to”?

  23. Macgyver says:

    Just show your damn I.D already, it only take a couple secs.

    Even if someone fraudulently uses your card at a place that doesn’t ask for I.D and put thousands of dollars on it before you realize your card is missing, you would have to prove that that wasn’t you.

    I don’t mind showing my I.D, (I wished more stores would ask) so what, what are they gonna find out, where I live? who cares if they know where I live.
    You got my driver license number on it, but you have to have a photographic memory to remember it. And what can they do with just your license number.

    • LandruBek says:

      Some people DO care if the clerk finds out where they live. It’s not for you to decide whether THEY should show their IDs.

      But by all means, go ahead and show your own ID to every person you meet.

      • bewiched2 says:

        uh, hello. We’re the Post Office. We already know where you live. And frankly we don’t care. Just trying to protect YOU even if you don’t want it. Also, as I stated earlier, I have been a clerk for 18 years and never was informed of credit card rules until 6 months ago. Not the clerks fault if the managers don’t inform them. Just trying to help you. Get over it and stop trying to create a conspiracy theory where there is none.

  24. mha63 says:

    We are the Post Office, soon to be “formally the Post Office”. Their rate increase request was denied today and for good reason. As more and more people use email and electronic means to pay bills, the PO better become more user friendly rather than less.

    As I stated in the last WalMart “row” and as the one who received the letter from MasterCard, retailers can ask for ID all they want, they just can’t refuse to process the transaction if the consumer refuses to provide ID, as was the case in the instance.

  25. VicMatson says:

    I have a better one! I went to court in Elliott City, lost, and tried to pay my fine with a credit card. Yep, they have fees for using a credit card and they are based on the total fine. My $72.50 ($50.00 plus court costs of $22.50) would have had a $8.xx Credit card fee!

    Some of the others in line paid $12.00-$20.00!

  26. framitz says:

    I have no problem at all with a merchant exceeding security requirements and asking for photo ID.

    • LandruBek says:

      Fine, but some people do have a problem with that, and they don’t appreciate the steady drumbeat of “Obey! Comply!” that they hear thumping all around them.

  27. tweeder82o says:


  28. sheriadoc says:

    Just show it, dang it!

    I never sign my cards. Just recently I found my real local post office (I had been going to a substation) and they actually have signs that say they do not accept cards that aren’t signed or say “See ID” on them. So, my boyfriend and I scraped some money together.

    The only other time I experienced that was when we went to the Upham’s Corner post office in Boston… the one with bulletproof glass, and you have to place all packages in the metal box, then close it, and the clerk opens it from the other side. They wouldn’t accept my card because it was unsigned. So I scribbled on it. They accepted it. Didn’t look remotely like my ID signature. OK.

  29. c!tizen says:

    “Seriously, do you think you’re so important that the clerk really gives a #$Q@# where you live???”

    Dude, it’s the post office… I’m sure they have his address already.

  30. Tim in Wyoming says:

    They do it at the local post office’s here. The employee’s response was “We’re part of the Federal Government, we do what we want” That is an exact quote.

  31. gedster314 says:

    What do people have against showing id? I want every merchant to ask for my id. I even have the signature on back ask them to check my id and half the time they dont even check the signature.

  32. HoJu says:

    Curious- WHY is it a Visa/Mastercard policy to NOT allow merchants to ask for ID? It seems like something V/MC wouldn’t care about either way.

    • consumer420 says:

      They are allowed to ask for ID, but they aren’t supposed to require it if the card is signed. They have a procedure to follow if they suspect the card is fraudulent.

    • mha63 says:

      It is not that they are not allowed to ask you for ID, at least in the case of MasterCard. It is that the merchant/retailer cannot refuse to process the transaction or make the transaction contingent upon producing the ID. In other words, they can’t deny the use of the card if you refuse to show ID as long your as your card is signed, your not shipping anything, or if there is some sort of age restriction on the product(s) you are purchasing, such as alcohol or firearms.

  33. dobgold says:

    The contract in question is between the credit card company and the seller. The consumer has the privilege to use the card subject to any and all agreements between he/she and the credit card company. The fact that the seller is not living up to the contract terms with the credit card company has no bearing on the customer’s use of the credit card. If the customer doesn’t like it, he has a few options. Forcing the seller to live up to the terms of a contract in which he/she has no standing is not one of them.

  34. Extractor says:

    Just show your ID? Whats the big deal, unless its not yours.

  35. gman863 says:

    I’ve noticed most cashiers who ask for ID spend about 1-2 seconds looking at it. This is barely enough time to see if the name matches the credit card, let alone look at your photo or verify it isn’t a fake ID. I cannot remember a time in recent memory when a clerk asked me to remove my ID (drivers license) from the yellowed, scratched window in my wallet.

    Another irony: I’ve never been asked for ID when I swipe my card in a self-scan checkout lane, even if the cashier overseeing the self-scan lanes had to clear out the “please place item in the bagging area” message a dozen times.

    Although I doubt I’ll ever actually do this, I think it would be fun to take a piece of removable tape and place a picture of my cat (or, if I’m feeling naughty, an X-Rated “beaver” shot) over my drivers license photo and see if a cashier ever notices. Doubtful. My only concern is if I ever get stopped by a cop who actually has a legal right to ask for it.

  36. gman863 says:

    One more note:

    If you have a scale or use Priority Mail flat rate boxes, pay and print your postage and labels at Unlike paying at the counter, you’ll get “Commercial Base Rate” discounts (usually about 5-8%) and never be asked for a photo ID when you enter your credit card number. :-)

  37. johnrhoward says:

    If MasterCard doesn’t enforce the policy, then it really doesn’t matter what the policy says. And since there are these sorts of stories on here all the time, it’s pretty obvious MasterCard doesn’t enforce it.

  38. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Why is it that the most recent stories about showing an ID are all involving Master Card? That makes me think that maybe Master Card has sent dispirit information to its vendors and customers.

  39. baxter says:

    The post office is not required to accept any credit card that is not signed so actually the clerk was wrong in that regard. The procedure is to ask the customer to sign the card and ask for ID to make sure the name matches the ID. If the customer refuses to sign the card then they must provide alternative payment method. Also, on the back of every credit card the phrase “not valid unless signed” is printed.

  40. edrebber says:

    I could see where some people might be uncomfortable showing their ID, because the cashier would then know their address and date of birth. It puts you at risk of identity theft or an unwanted visit.

  41. toddkravos says:

    My Post Office (w65st & Cleveland) refuses to accept plastic without an ID and the card actually signed. “See ID” is not valid and they continually bawk at customers with this kind of signature.

  42. Mike says:

    What I do is when they ask me If they can see my ID, I just say only if I can see ours. Or I ask them If they are an official of the State. If they show me theirs and they right my # down i write their # down. If they are willing to let me see theirs they aren’t going to be miss using mine.

  43. bewiched2 says:

    This topic is old and tired. Do you know how many credit cards out there say “see id” on the back (which we can’t take by the way) and I have to stand there and ASK for their id. If you put that on your card, have your dang ID ready for me and quit wasting my frickin time. Also did the guy here ever ever think that maybe the employee was just trying to PROTECT him and his credit card. There are too many fraudulent uses of credit cards out there. Be thankful he asked instead of just taking the card and not caring. Poor clerks are screwed if they care, screwed if they don’t. And BTW I have been a clerk for 18 years and had never ever been told about credit card acceptance policies until 6 months ago.

  44. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    Seriously dude? I would be GLAD to show my ID in spirits of fraud prevention.