When using a credit card to make a purchase, it’s common for cashiers to ask you to confirm that you own the card. They try to reduce the risk of credit card fraud and matching your ID information with the information on your credit card and matching the image on your ID to your face.

Merchants suffer considerable losses when thieves make fraudulent credit card purchases.

By checking IDs, merchants are simply trying not to lose money.

Can merchants ask for identification?

Can merchants ask for identification?

In many cases, merchants are not allowed to require an iD to purchase a credit card. They can ask for your ID, but they cannot refuse to accept your credit card unless you show your ID as long as your credit card is signed. Here’s what each of the major processing networks says about ID requests.

Visa : Merchants cannot ask for identification if a credit card is signed. However, if the credit card is not signed, the merchant may ask you to show your ID card and sign the credit card on the spot.

MasterCard : Merchants cannot ask for identification if a credit card is signed. However, if the credit card is not signed, the merchant may ask you to show your ID card and sign the credit card on the spot.

American Express : Merchants should verify that the user is the actual cardholder, but there are no specific requirements for (or against) the ID.

Disclosure : Merchants can request identification if they believe the credit card is not valid. For unsigned credit cards, a merchant can request two forms if identification, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID.

Why you don’t want to show your ID

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While merchants may request identification to prevent credit card fraud, your personal information is at risk when you show your ID.

Remember that your name, address, driver’s license number, and sometimes your Social Security number are printed on your driver’s license. This is just the information a dishonest cashier needs to steal your identity. Many credit cards are only successful with your zip code and credit card number.

What to do if a merchant refuses to receive a credit card

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While major processing networks state their policies regarding credit card purchase identification requirements, many cashiers are unaware of these policies and refuse to accept a credit card without displaying your ID. They are often inaccurately trained to ask for IDs with their purchase.

Unfortunately, trying to force an employee to honor a merchant credit card agreement at the time of purchase is a losing battle. I read a few stories about employees who refused credit cards because the client would not show the ID. Store managers usually support their employees. If you plan on reusing your ID, make sure your credit card background is signed.

However, sometimes, when stories reach the national media, senior levels usually work with the client and promise to train their employees again not to ask for an ID unless required by law, for example, by buying tobacco and alcohol.

If a merchant refuses to honor your credit card because you will not display your ID, you can report to MasterCard online – MasterCard’s merchant form – or report VISA violations by calling the number on the back of your credit card.

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