No I.D. required for credit card transactions?

“Can a store require an I.D. if I’m paying with a credit card?”

Next time you’re playing a true or false game at a party ask that question…and the answer is….

No! Legally, you never need an I.D. to use your credit card! Seriously?

A merchant is not allowed to require your I.D. for a credit card transaction.  Your signature is all that is needed.  Whether you’re buying Starbucks or a shopping spree on Rodeo Drive – you literally don’t have to prove you’re the person who owns the card! That’s the policy set forth by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover in their merchant bylaws and agreements, believe it or not.

Don’t buy it?  I Know, most stores would never believe this was true.  The authorities might not either if I were using someone else’s credit card.  But here’s the proof – straight from the horse’s mouth.  Let’s start with the world’s most popular credit card… Visa.  Below is an excerpt from their merchant rules:

“Although Visa Rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID, merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID. Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures.”

…and if you think I’m making this stuff up you can view the official policy pdf from their website here:

Not only can a store not require a drivers license or other I.D., but Visa actually discourages them for asking for it!  MasterCard also has an equivalent policy, which can be found here if you still don’t believe me:

American Express and Discover both have similar policies, and not only prohibit I.D. from being required, but also strongly discourage it.

Often when people hear of this, they are either delighted or discouraged.  I’ll address the later, first.  By federal law, you can only be held liable for up to $50 of fraudulent credit card charges.  That was enacted decades ago, and today, I have never heard of any credit card company, even the scummy ones, enforcing the $50 deductible.  Simply put, you’re not responsible for charges.  So before you blow your stack, remember it’s not your money that’s liable!

Now that brings us to the question “If a store can’t ask me for I.D. to use a credit card, wouldn’t that hurt the credit card companies?”  Well theoretically, yes, they take the liability.  But with modern automatic fraud detection techniques, such as unusual spending patterns or use of card outside of your normal areas, the crime is usually caught (as in new charges prevented) early on, even if the consumer doesn’t notice them.

Credit card companies want their products to be as user-friendly as possible, and they know requiring I.D. isn’t exactly user-friendly and could add friction to the process. God forbid the customer might reach for their debit card, cash or especially their checkbook!  Therefore, they’ve concluded they’d rather take the risk with their money than to impede the check out process. There is a very simple reason for this seemingly foolhardy business policy by the card networks. They make a massive fortune from merchant swipe fees (2 – 3% of every transaction) and this far outweighs the cost of fraud, which they’ve been able to hold steady at a fraction of a percentage point over the decades with increasingly sophisticated technology.

Personally, I am glad merchants can’t require an I.D. for a purchase.  There’s been countless times I don’t have an I.D. on me.  Also I think requiring an I.D. for smaller purposes is too much of a hassle anyway.  Plus let’s admit it, everyone nowadays has Photoshop and photo printers that can crank out a fake drivers license that would suffice anyway.  In reality, requiring an I.D. is no foolproof way to prevent fraud at all.  Criminals will simply turn to different avenues to use the stolen cards instead, such as on the internet.

Next time a store clerk asks for your I.D., you may want to point out the agreement they have with the credit card associations.  If that doesn’t work (because, in reality, not every store clerk knows about that kind of detail), and you really feel wronged, you can file a complaint with one or the other card networks:

Visa: 1.800.VISA.911
MasterCard: 1-800.300.3069

So, next time someone asks you “Do I need an I.D. to use a credit card?” you can tell them… “ID? I don’t need no stinkin’ ID!, or something to that effect”. Or, you could just tell them you are tired of big brother watching over everything. Even though it has much more to do with the four major card networks’ desire to remove friction from the card usage process, we all gain some privacy rights in the bargain.

Last updated on January 19, 2016

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

I had a furniture retailer request an ID for a Visa transaction. I handed him a US Passport Card. He took the ID and went off to confer with someone. He came back and said they would not do the transaction with that ID. They wanted a Driver’s License. I believe they are scanning Driver’s Licenses and putting the data into a database. I did not finish the transaction.

My, my, my, all these knowledgeable people on both sides of the issue! Did the simplest, most obvious questions ever occur to any of them? Namely…..

1.) Are clerks/cashiers well-trained handwriting experts? If not, what good does comparing signatures do?

2.) If a clerk is going to ask to fondle one’s credit card anyway, why is there a need for a card swiping machine? It’s just a redundant nuisance in that event, and anyway, no one’s signature ever looks like the real thing on the card swiping machine screen.

3.) If clerks are such poor, innocent, unjustly harangued creatures, why do so many of them wait until the customer has safely tucked her credit card in her wallet, placed the wallet back in her purse, and safely zipped up her purse before mentioning, by the way, that they will need to see the aforementioned credit card? I’ve always felt that this frequent delay in speaking up is a deliberate form of cashier-Schadenfreude.

I could go on, but you get my gist. It all boils down to common sense, of which there is a great dearth in our society today. As one person wrote…..THINK!!!

This… “you literally don’t have to prove you’re the person who owns the card!” is LITERALLY NOT TRUE and is a very misleading statement intended to shock and awe readers instead of actually educating them or publishing the truth.

You DO have to prove you are the owner of the card. You have to sign the purchase receipt in order to prove that you own the card. The merchant has to visual confirm that the signature on the receipt matches the signature on the card. Visa/Mastercard REQUIRE the back of the card to be signed before use. Signing the phrase “Ask for ID” is to be treated the same as an unsigned card. Signatures are a proof who somebody is. You use signatures all the time to prove who you are and enter into contracts. You have to sign the receipt in order to prove that you are the original owner of the card whose signature is on the back.

I have a question for everyone. Yesterday I was at an antique store and the lady slid my debit card and she said the amount went through. But then after she charged it she looked at the back of my card and saw it was not signed. She then said she needed to see my licence. So I showed het my licence. They said on a sign “No Refunds”. So what would of happened if I didn’t’ have my id. I don’t see how it’s fair to ask for id after you just charged my card.

I think that it’s ridiculous for people to be offended if their ID is checked when buy purchases using a credit card. I’ve been a victim of theft it really sucks all because when the thief used my card the merchant didn’t ask for an ID. I feel like it should be a law for all stores to check ID using a credit card. If it’s by pin than they don’t need to check. Stop freaking out about cashier’s that need to check an ID, they’re doing their job and it’s good! Because next time if you lose your card and the cashier didnt check their ID to prevent them from using it you’re basically screwed. Be grateful.

Did you not read the article? For VISA and MasterCard transactions they are not supposed to ask for ID if the customer’s card has a signature on the back. Furthermore, you won’t be screwed if you lose your card. Every VISA and MasterCard cardholder has zero liability for fraud if they’re account is not delinquent. You’re complaining about a potential problem that does not exist.

It depends on the credit card company what the requirements are. The stores sign an agreement with the credit card companies when they accept them. Master card and visa are to be denied if you do not sign them and require you to sign them before you use them. Fyi writting see id on a card makes it invalid. Discover requires you to check id for every purchase.i could go on but you get my drift. And honestly I would rather the stores check my id.

First off as a lawyer for master card I will simply say this no store is required to ask for ID to complete a charge period. This goes for every credit card in America NO STORE and some states make it against state law to do so also look up your state for that part. To the so called merchants out there you are not charged for a fraud or a stolen credit card ever period that falls under the customers agreement they are responsible for the first 50.00 charge not the merchant . The only time a merchant has a charge back from them is when they fail to live up to there terms with visa or Master card. Meaning the following if your store policy says you give no refunds but you accept visa or Master card then you have no choice but to honor a refund weather its store policy or not end of story you agree to these terms in your credit agreement that simple.So if a customer wants a refund in a store of so called no store refunds and complains to visa or Master card they will give a refund and then dock the merchant for not following the merchant agreement with card companies that simple. Second I seen some posts about not having ID when stopped by a cop that its a crime no where in the US is it a crime to not have ID , It is a crime if you can’t prove who you are meaning you can give your birth date and social number so they can verify you if they need to for a crime they might be investigating.

Brian, you mentioned that if a customer wants a refund from a store with a no refund policy they have to honor visa/master cards refund policy. I can’t find master cards refund policy’s. When I called my bank who issued my credit card they told me the refund policy was what the store says it is and if that’s a no refund well..I’m shit out of luck…

Brian, If you are a lawyer, you, or your secretary should proof read your posts. Your grammar is atrocious. I find it difficult to believe you are an attorney with the grammar in your post.

Utter nonsense. There is no such thing for the merchant as being guaranteed payment from the credit card companies. Even if the signatures match, even if the storekeeper has a video recording of the person making the transaction, even if a voice recording was taken from the customer acknowledging the transaction, even if all that, all the credit card purchaser need do is deny all knowledge of the transaction – the credit card company will side with the customer. The merchant’s only recourse? Sue the customer.

Brian B is not an attorney and not a credible source.

McDonalds just told me they need my signature for charge over $15 and asked for my ID. He took my drivers license and wrote the number down on the receipt. I am not happy about this. The bill was $20.41 or something.

Does anyone know what kinds of scams can be done with a drivers license number (along with possibly my credit card number which I will watch like a hawk). Thanks in advance and Happy New Year!!

Hi Anita I’m writing you this complain because this just happened to meet at McDonalds in san francisco for $50 purchase on 6/25/2016. I had with me all together 8 people my family members 3 adults and 5 children coming from an outing we stop over at McDonald it was a large order. I felt some way how the cashiers were all looking we made the order and then. I use a bank debit card and 2 cashiers asked me for my identification then 1 wrote down my identification number and said that it was for my own safety but I still have a gut feeling that it wasn’t right and on top of that where all African American do you think that was discrimination.

As of 15 May 2014, Mastercard does require photo ID be presented when processing an “in person” transaction (See page 3-2 of this document –

As of 15 Apr 2014, Visa does not require photo ID (See page 400 of this document –

As of April 2014, American Express does not require photo ID (See page 22 of this document –

The information about MasterCard is incorrect. That only applies to face to face unique transactions. Unique transactions are things that require Photo ID regardless of payment method.

You’ll see that the paragraph that you cited also requires that the customer’s personal information be recorded. This is illegal in most states for non-unqiue transactions. An important distinction.

As of 10/18/2014, MasterCard still forbids requiring ID for non-unique transactions. The guide that you posted was for the acceptance procedures, which doesn’t tell the merchant to check the customer’s Id, because they’re not supposed to (except in specific situations, which are spelled out). The proper reference, also dated 5/15/2014, is:

Specifically, see rule 5.10.4 on page 5-17, which states:

“A Merchant may request but must not require a Cardholder to provide
additional identification information as a condition of Card acceptance, unless such information is required to complete the Transaction, such as for shipping purposes, or the Standards specifically permit or require such information to be collected.”

I was at Wal-Mart yesterday and was buying around 7 movies, 4 candy bars, and something other little piece of candy for my son that was with me. I ran my card threw the reader and waited for them to finish running my items I had selected for purchase. The manager was sitting behind the casher and asked me for my credit card, so I handed it to her and the lady continued to scan my items. Then for no reason she asked me for my ID, I explained to her it is against Visa and actually against most CC’s companies to ask for an ID. She refused to complete the sale, and I walked out of Wal-Mart. I called Wal-Mart Corporate and told them of this and they were not happy about it at all, saying it is NOT their policy to ID people using CC’s, and they said it would be investigated and that it will not happen again “I am sure”. So I called the store locally and explained it to another manager and explained it again, what got me was this manager knows it is NOT VISA’s policy to make a ID a requirement and said it is Wal-Mart policy. I tried to explain to her that they have a contract with Visa and the other CC Companies that they cannot do that. I was told that it is Wal-Mart’s policy and she DID NOT CARE about Visa’s and was going to continue to do it… I asked her if she would be willing to call Visa and tell that to them “That she did not care about their policy and contract Wal-Mart has with them” and I was told “NO, that she would not do that”.

I was a victim of ID theft when I showed my ID, the guy memorized my information very quickly and had all my CC info… It was such a pain in the A$$ to get the charges off my card because all my info had been used to verify it as being me, and the worst part of it was that it was a guy working for Wal-Mart and used it to buy from another Wal-Mart in another state 900 miles away. I had to cancel my CC and they issued me another one, ever since that day I refuse to ID using my CC, I will not ever do it again.

Well to finish this story Wal-Mart Corporate is supposed to set the store straight on the contract they have with the CC companies and not decline the sale for refusal to show ID. I have also filed this with the BBB (Which will do nothing) and am sending the audio recording to Visa with the manager of the store saying she does not care about Visa’s and or other CC’s companies policy and contracts they have with them, and let the chips fall where they fall. But I am sure with the big stink I made at this store they will make sure they do not ever do it to me again and hopefully not anybody else either.

So it’s okay for you to worry about me or any clerk/cashier that you don’t know committing fraud against you by recording without your knowledge or memorizing your name, DOB, address, credit card number, and security code on the back of the card in the few seconds we are handling your card and viewing your ID but it’s not okay for me or any other cashier/clerk to imply that we don’t know who you are and therefore would like you to present identification as proof that this is your card?
This completely ignores the legal issue because it is pretty clear enforcing a “present ID policy” is at the least a violation of the agreement with Visa, MC, and AMEX. Instead this is a practical question to those who complain when asked for ID. Essentially, why is it ok for you to view me as a potential fraudster but it’s not ok for me to view you that same way? We usually have never met before so I have no idea if the name on your card is who you are. True, it is not for your protection but the businesses, does that mean people are wrong to try and make sure they get paid? The current system is rigged in favor of the CC companies because they prevent merchants from verifying identity while at the same time placing the liability for fraud on the merchant. It would be fine if Visa said “don’t check id, we will pay for any charge made where the card was physically present” but that is not the case.
Why get upset when most businesses are simply trying to get paid and have little recourse if they don’t check id, even though that is not allowed by the CC companies. It is convoluted and frustrating, a mess due to identity theft, and the result of piece meal legislation and regulation. The cashier is either doing as they are told or up to no good, either way they are still gonna ask for ID.
Why does absolutely no one complain about how much info is required for a check? It’s all the info on your ID plus an account number and it is written down.
Complaining does little to no good. If identity theft is a huge concern simply pay cash.
They will stick it to the merchant if they can because they hold merchants captive, a pawn shop is about the only place left operating cash only. So we can’t ask for ID, get stuck with bill, and piss off customers by trying to make sure we get paid…some system.

Bottom line, you don’t HAVE to show identification…but if a cashier asks for identification it means one of three things; 1) the business has a store policy in violation of the merchant agreement they have with the credit card company and they won’t be allowed to process the transaction without identification, by all means report these businesses so the CC companies can inform them that are violating the agreement 2) the cashier and or manager MISTAKENLY believe that number 1 is the case 3) the cashier has a photographic memory or is otherwise recording your personal info for future fraud. Whatever one of these three things is the case it doesn’t change the result, refusal to accept payment without identification. Cashiers are usually poorly trained and only following what few rules, policies, and procedures they are AWARE of. Complaining to them will at best result in a manager being called into the situation, and they usually backup the cashier. As for the potential dishonest cashier they aren’t going to care if you complain, their goal is fraud not customer service. So, at the end of the day complaining about getting asked for identification isn’t likely to change the situation. This leaves you with a few choices; pay cash, write a check, present identification and go about your business, present identification and call your credit card company to complain, or finally refuse to present identification and fail to make your purchase. So called “chip and PIN” cards should be standard by October 2015 in the US and these will eliminate this confusing and contentious issue

Just a heads up…the Businesses are the ones who end up with the “charge-back” for those goods purchased with a fraudulently obtained credit card, NOT the credit card companies. AND the credit card companies are the ones who come down harshly on small businesses, for “NOT doing their due diligence” for making sure that the card belongs to the purchaser; hence, the clerk or cashier is trying to do what is in their power at the time of purchase to make sure the name on the card matches the name on the card! Agree there is no need to RETAIN ANY info from a customers ID; but checking that the name matches a second form of ID is about the ONLY thing within a businesses recourse when a charge is questioned. Otherwise, those same major credit cards you are referring too, turn the other cheek. It’s a catch 22 for many businesses.


If you are a business owner, big or small, and you are getting screwed with “fraud” claims by the credit card companies, you have NO ONE TO BLAME EXCEPT YOURSELF.

Yes, I’m 100% sure that when you read that it makes you angry and defensive.

But hear me out. Because you’re about to learn a few things which could help you run your business more intelligently so that you KEEP MORE OF THE MONEY FROM YOUR LEGITIMATE CREDIT CARD TRANSACTIONS WITHOUT ALIENATING AND ENDANGERING YOUR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF!

Visa and MasterCard (and all the other big issuers) get a percentage (or flat-fee) of every transaction. As a business owner, you already know that.

But what in the hell do you think Visa/MasterCard are getting paid for? THINK A LITTLE BIT: Part of what you are paying for (and probably passing the cost onto your customers/clients) is FOR THE CREDIT CARD COMPANIES TO HAVE SOPHISTICATED AUTOMATED SECURITY SYSTEMS IN PLACE TO *PREVENT* FRAUD.

So you are either LYING in your comment above, or you honestly simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND how modern credit card fraud AND how modern credit SECURITY work.

I’m sure your blood is boiling right now, but stay with me for a moment, because if you really are a business owner I’m about to help you hold onto a lot more money from your transactions.


Remember the huge Target, Inc. credit card info breach? Think about it for a moment. What actually happened? Were millions of PHYSICAL credit cards stolen?


All that was stolen was the *INFORMATION* from the cards — in other words, things like credit card numbers. NOT actual physical cards.

So what the hell do you think the fraudsters do (or did) with those credit card numbers? Do you really think they just sat around in China, or Romania, or Russia, or wherever, ordering things online using those stolen numbers?

DUH. NO. Why not? Because if they tried that the “delivery address” would not match what’s on file for the particular credit card.

So *USUALLY* what the fraudsters would do is SELL just the credit card numbers to ANOTHER fraudster… a second fraudster operating in the same general physical area (for example, the U.S., or specifically Florida, or specifically Miami, etc.) as the credit card number’s originating store (a Target store in the U.S. or Florida or Miami, etc.).

THEN the “local” fraudster simply PRINTED (a.k.a. “embossed”) THEIR OWN FAKE CREDIT CARD *WITH A REAL NUMBER.*


In other words, only the NUMBER was/is real and working, the machines DON’T CARE what NAME is on the card.

So if the fraudster has a real (or fake) ID that says his/her name is “Pat Fraudster” they can simply print a credit card that also says “Pat Fraudster.”


Do you understand that????????

Okay. If you now understand ONE of the ways (one of the most COMMON ways) that MODERN credit card fraud works, now please try to understand how MODERN credit card SECURITY works:

It’s AUTOMATED and the credit card companies look for all sorts of PATTERNS… Dates / times / locations / amounts / types of stores / etc.

It’s much easier than you think, because people tend to be fairly routine (a.k.a. predictable) in many of those purchasing patterns.

Combine that with the ubiquity of cellphones and wireless coverage, and it’s now VERY EASY for automated fraud PREVENTION systems to flag an “unexpected” transaction. What happens next? If the credit card company has your cellphone number, they IMMEDIATELY call you WHILE YOU’RE IN LINE IN FRONT OF THE CASHIER, to verify it’s really you.

If you verify it’s really you there at the store making the purchase, the transaction is cleared, the cashier retries, and it goes through, done!






If some crooked cashier steals your credit card number, you simply CANCEL THE CARD AND DISPUTE THE CHARGES.




SIGN the back of your credit card. And always say "NO" when they ask for "additional ID" — it's ILLEGAL for anyone to require ID IF the back of your Visa/MasterCard credit card is SIGNED!!!!



A stolen credit card can always be cancelled and a replacement reissued… BUT THERE IS NO WAY TO REPLACE YOUR ENTIRE IDENTITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


COME ON!!!!!! THINK A LITTLE BIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm sorry to sound so harsh, but you really need to wake up. You obviously THINK you're protecting yourself, but hopefully now you realize you're actually EXPOSING yourself to much bigger problems than credit card fraud! STOP EXPOSING YOUR PERSONAL ID TO SO MANY RANDOM STRANGERS! You can be GUARANTEED that some of them WILL record your ID info, whether with cameras, or memory, or simply note taking.

I know you probably meant well, but please, open your eyes! And don't ever give people advice until you've really THOUGHT about what you're doing. Everyone who's been misled by your comment has had their identity unnecessarily jeopardized.

It all depends where you’re at and who the merchant is. Most of the time when they look at IDs it will be hard to memorize them and they are just looking to see if the names match. I’ve worked at retail so I know how it is. And now we have these inventions that you put your card and license under a sensor to see if they are fake. I know I sound vague but what are the chances of the cashier to take your information? What you’re saying sounds despicable and exaggerated. Get mad at me, call me mean names, anything you like I give no fucks.

This is actually incorrect.

When a chargeback is issued for fraud, the CC issuer asks the merchant what steps they (the merchant) took to verify if the card belonged to the customer.

If the merchant states, “The cashier inspected the signature on the back of the card to ensure that it matched the signature on the receipt, and they did match,” then the fraud charge is absorbed by the CC issuer.

If the merchant responds with anything else, to include, “we checked their ID,” that means that the merchant failed to follow the policies established by their contracts with Visa/MC/AMEX/etc, and therefore, the merchant absorbs the fraudulent charge. Next time, you follow the rules.

And if your store has a “convenience” rule where the customer doesn’t have to sign for purchases below a certain amount, that’s the merchant’s fault. They eat that as well.

Best Buy insists on inputting the CVV security code on the back of the card for even small purchases, putting their customers at risk. I’ve had my identity stolen by, as the police surmised, a clerk with a crackhead boyfriend.

Patrick Riker

For the Author,

I found your article to be quite informative and enlightening. I should inform you, however, that if you are stopped by police, whether you are walking, driving, or riding a bike, and have no ID, you can be charged with vagrancy.

in washington state you do not have to provide id to police if you are walking down the street or even if you are a passenger in a car that is pulled over for a driving violation

Gerry Shuller

Heather, the merchant agreement is a LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT. You feelings or those the “poor cashier” are irrelevant.

Your comment is irrelevant. Heather is right gtfo

Except that some company policies require that store clerks/associates ask for ID. In that case, they’re only doing their job and causing a ruckus about how credit card companies don’t require ID isn’t going to get you out of the door any faster. Screaming at the associate isn’t going to accomplish anything. All they can do is require a manager to be called, which holds up the line, which pisses off the other customers behind you because you’re making them wait longer.

Instead, state that you have a problem with their policy and ask for their corporate number or address so you can get in contact with someone who CAN make a change. That information is also available on most stores’ websites, so it’s also something you can take care of when you get home. Complain away, just don’t heap it on the sales associate because there’s absolutely nothing they can do without risking their job. It’s not fair to expect them to bend over backwards or make an exception for you.

Frankly, I am GLAD when associates ask for ID and I make a point of thanking them. They are going one extra step to protect both themselves and me, even though they don’t have to. I make it a point to patronize those businesses that do check ID. I guess it really isn’t an issue for me since I carry my ID and my cards in the same wallet, so it’s a matter of simply flipping my wallet over and showing them my driver’s license.

I suppose it also doesn’t bother me because I used to work retail. Have you? Do you know what it’s like to get a customer who complains over a company policy that you have no control over? Or the manager, for that matter? Take it up with corporate or the store owner, but don’t berate the lowly sales associate at the bottom of the ladder!

I have just spent the last two days tracking all the purchases/attempted purchases by someone known as “The Sucker Who Stole My Wallet”, or TFWSMW for short. They attempted to charge over $2300 between my debit card and my HSA card; fortunately, only $895 actually went through. I’ve called the police, my bank, and the issuer of my HSA card, and so far everybody has been very cooperative and willing to dispute the charges once they are processed – having a police report number goes a long way in banks understanding that these are unauthorized and fraudulent charges. But the question I found myself asking, If someone is making a big ticket purchase, say, $404 or 708 dollars, and their card is declined twice, so they use another card, is it unreasonable for the cashier or manager to check ID against the name on the card, at the very least? I wonder how quickly TFWSMW would have been caught if they were aware that s/he didn’t have ID that matched the name on the card. Just a thought.


Let’s say the name on your card was “TinaK.” Fraudsters generally don’t just use the card that they found. They’re either going to get a fake ID with the name “TinaK” on it, or they’re going to clone the card but with a different name on it (one that matches their photo ID). Both of these options are cheap, easy, quick, and completely bypass the photo ID “security” that cashiers attempt.

I like how you made a leap from ‘not required” to “Legally, you never need an I.D. to use your credit card!”

Visa Inc. is a corporation. Their rules have no bearing on the law of the state/country.

Also, they have many provisions that state you must check ID. Such as no signature, damaged card, suspicious behaviour, etc… So, even thou the merchant can’t make it condition for Visa acceptance they can offer many reasons for checking ID.

And just like you said:
“…and if you think I’m lying, you can view the official document here:

As most people will not read trough the link you provided and will just take your word on it. Same document states provisions for checking ID.
Visa even explains that in some situations you have to take ID such as Drivers License and copy the info on a receipt. Example: Unsigned Cards section of this exact document the you linked to.

So, next time clerk ask you for ID and you say ‘NO!”, they can just refuse to serve you.

Not to mention that some retail (such as liquor, tobacco, pharmacies,…) have to ask for ID regardless of credit card or cash.

Then there are different laws of each country or state. For example in Canada you can’t accept a credit card in person, unless the owner of that card is present (even if you know the chip code). So, unless your card has your picture on it you always have to show photo ID.

So, LEGALLY you may need an ID to use your credit card. However, credit card companies try very hard to make it a seamless process where you should be able to use it with out too much hassle. It is mostly dependant on your situation and/or location.

Geraldine Westfall

The US

The US is also a CORPORATION since 1871

is also a Corporation

I think you need to do some research because several states have passed laws where requesting personally identifying information while paying with a credit card, illegal.

Here’s a short quote from the current VISA rules: A Merchant may request Cardholder identification in a Face-to-Face Environment. If the name on the
identification does not match the name on the Card, the Merchant may decide whether to accept
the Card. If the Cardholder does not have or is unwilling to present Cardholder identification, the
Merchant must honor the Card.

I shopped at Wal-mart for many years and pay with American Express card. Never had a problem before or was asked for an additional picture ID, it has my picture on the back. The clerk refuse to accept the picture ID on the credit card and said she need a picture ID. What’s worse is her manager said that the picture ID on the credit card was not valid. I would think if the credit card has your picture that should be sufficient.

What is the legality behind credit cards having the users picture on it, the thread doesn’t mentioned anything this.

I’m trying to understand this…Even after the whole Target scam this agreement still holds up?

If I make a purchase with my credit card that is signed then the merchant is not allowed per agreement with the credit card company to ask me for my driver’s license?

I’m asking because I went shopping somewhere & was asked for my license. The employee told me that their company changed their policies that they now require me to show id. I told them that it was against the agreement with the credit card company (polite conversation as I was curious-showed id) but the employee said that if they didn’t ask that they would be disciplined that could lead to termination.

That’s crazy? Can a company fire an employee for that even though it is breaking it’s agreement?

Happens all the time. Don’t argue with the cashier as you’re just berating a low-level employee.

I’ve done it too, and I felt like an idiot for it. If they require photo ID for a credit card, you have three options;

1. comply
2. pay via a different method
3. thank them for their time and decline to make a purchase

In all cases, report the merchant’s violation to Visa/MC/AMEX. You can also be really zealous, if you want, and report them to the BBB or to the corporate office. In certain cases I have done this, and it’s gotten great results.

I’d like to hear more about your great results. The last time I tried to report a merchant who refused to accept my VISA I was told by VISA that enforcement was the responsibility of the card issuing bank. The card issuing bank told me I needed to talk to VISA. The written rules were quite clear, but I couldn’t find anybody who would take any action to enforce them.

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Your article left out the fact that Visa REQUIRES you to check ID if your card is not signed. You say”don’t believe me?” I didn’t, so I looked and you missed a lot of other paragraphs to try and prove your point. If your card its not signed or says “check id” then the HAS to check your ID. Read all the paragraphs!

At a loss for words

I am remarkably amazed at some of these comments. How many of you realize that you provided personal information just in participating in this blog? How many of you realize that every time you make an online purchase you provide your address, card number, exp date, ccvc, phone number, etc…or when you pay with a credit card at a restaurant and hand your card to a server who leaves the area out of your view for a few minutes? And many of you are on here complaining about having to (for a brief moment) display your ID so a merchant can verify your name and the name on the card match. Amazing!…ID theft by way of credit fraud is no joke. It has inconvenienced me and many people I know on more than one occasion, and no, it was not some (as many of you put it) some shady merchant who caught a brief glimpse of my ID…it was either a skimming device (which many criminals use to gather your card information from gas pumps, ATMs, or other reputable locations…or from an online purchase that was hacked…(much like VISA and MC)…google some news on your credit card companies for consumer information leaks and you will see. I now don’t wait for someone to ask…I just show my ID to every merchant, just as I would have to if I was purchasing alcohol or tobacco. Stop complaining because when you become a victim YOU WILL wonder why Walmart, TJMaxx, or other merchants allowed someone to use your card without looking at ID, and some of you WILL become hypocrites and blast the same merchants for not asking. Also remember, MC, VISA, AmEx, and other credit card companies ARE NOT judiciaries, they are companies who institute company policies and procedures. Only a judiciary can make something into law, so unless there is a state or federal statute or case law that states no merchant can ask for ID or require ID as a condition of sale using credit cards, all it is is a policy. Policies DO NOT supersede law…

Amen! Thank you!

It depends on the cashier’s personal situation.

I’ve worked in retail for over 20 years. I almost always ask for ID on CC purchases because 90% of the time the signature doesn’t match OR the CC holder has written “see ID” on back. People tend to sign their whole name on the card and then just scribble when making a purchase- OF COURSE I’m gonna ask for ID!

Those are legitimate reasons to ask for ID. So long as you’re following the policy, you won’t have a complaint from me.

I once had a cashier ask for my ID. I then went into my arrogant spiel (I’ve since wised up), about how they can’t. She politely and professionally replied, “Unless you didn’t sign the card.” She made me go through the proper procedure of signing in front of her and letting her take down my DL.

I left her a tip.

retired hustler

everyone concerned this much with their identity needs to not use these cards in the first place. I used to dabble in what you folks are so concerned about and this is a great attitude for a store to have if my intent is to use a stolen card or a self embossed card. Most people do not sign their cards when they get them so all i have to do is sign the back and im off. Sometimes people complain their way into getting burned. Fear without logic will ruin you

You know, there’s a solution. For a long time, one of my banks issued a credit card with your photo on it. Simple solution. For some unknown reason, they suddenly stopped doing it.

A photo credit card satisfies the ability to prove who you are when using it, while keeping any other data about you hidden. Why can’t all banks just do this ?

Of course, the other solution is to go to the way credit cards are done in Europe, commonly known as chip and pin. Instead of a signature, you enter a pin number, and instead of a easily forged magnetic stripe, a chip is embedded in the card.

Stores DO NOT lose money if they have proof the card was physically in their location and scanned

Ready to file a class action against TJ Maxx/Marshalls/HomeGoods

That’s not necessarily true. My business just had to absorb the cost of a purchase that a customer disputed. We had a copy of their receipt with their signature. Our mistake was not getting the customer’s name coupled with a look at their ID. Still not understanding how AMEX could deny us getting paid as the customer wasn’t claiming that the card had been stolen just that they did not make the purchase.

My concern when showing id when using a credit card is that a stranger will see my address. I don’t want some guy off the street knowing where I live. So what I did was made a copy of my license and covered everything except my name with white out and laminated it. I haven’t used it yet, but I’m hoping that the next time I get asked for id when using my visa that will be sufficient. If not, I’ll just take out the visa merchant contract I printed out and show them they cannot refuse a sale just because I won’t show id.

For those of you who want to be accurately informed about State Laws in Oregon and Washington, here are the laws:

Oregon Statutes – Chapter 646A – Trade Regulation – Section 646A.214 – Verification of identity in credit or debit card transactions.
(1) A merchant that accepts a credit card or debit card for a transaction may require that the credit card or debit card holder provide personal information, other than the personal information that appears on the face of the credit card or debit card, for the purposes of verification of the card holder’s identity. The merchant may not write the information on the credit card or debit card transaction form.
(2) This section may not be construed to prevent a merchant from requesting and keeping in written form information necessary for shipping, delivery or installation of purchased goods or services, or for warranty when the information is provided voluntarily by a credit card or debit card holder.
(3) Any provision in a contract between a merchant and a credit card or debit card issuer, financial institution or other person that prohibits the merchant from verifying the identity of a person who presents a credit card or debit card in payment for goods or services by requiring or requesting identification is contrary to public policy and void.
Last modified: August 7, 2008

RCW 19.192.020
Verification of identity by merchant/retailer — Prohibition on verification void.
(1) Any provision of a contract between a merchant or retailer and a credit or debit card issuer, financial institution, or other person that prohibits the merchant or retailer from verifying the identity of a customer who offers to pay for goods or services with a credit or debit card by requiring or requesting that the customer present additional identification is void for violation of public policy.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as: (a) Compelling merchants or retailers to verify identification; or (b) interfering with the ability of the owner or manager of a retail store or chain to make and enforce its own policies regarding verification of identification.
[2003 c 89 § 2.]
Findings — 2003 c 89: “The legislature finds that financial fraud is too common, and that it threatens the safety and well-being of the public by driving up the costs of goods and services and unduly burdening the law enforcement community. Further, the legislature finds that financial fraud can be deterred by allowing retailers to verify the identity of persons who seek to pay for goods or services with a credit or debit card. Finally, the legislature finds that some retailers are deterred from verifying their customers’ identity by contractual arrangements with credit card issuers. The legislature declares that such contracts violate the public policy that all citizens should be able to take reasonable steps to prevent themselves and their communities from falling victim to crime.” [2003 c 89 § 1.]

As previously stated, merchants in other states may want to check and see if their state has voided the Visa and MasterCard provision about checking for identification as well.

Under the federal constitution state are not allowed to impair the obligations of contracts. So the state laws attempting to override the VISA or MC contracts are null and void.

The merchants saying they are charged for fraudulent transactions–aren’t they incorrect? I have read many times that the card issuer eats those charges IF the merchant did everything correctly (and if the cardholder did everything like report the card missing promptly, for example). I don’t understand these things with merchants being told to pay for fraudulent charges–it makes me wonder if they are true, or if true, it’s because the card issuer held the merchant in question responsible because of a track record of violations like asking customers for ID.

I was asked for ID for a $5 transaction the other day. Went along with it and reported them to MasterCard. Why not check the signature on the receipt against the one on the card? My card is signed, after all.

retired hustler

here comes knowledge from the folks who do fraudulent things. First what are you doing charging 5 bucks lol. Second before I retired I loved when stores didnt ask for ID thats a field day for the criminal element. Trust me clerks are DUMB the ones smart enough to memorize your information at a glance are smart enough to grab the electronic floating data out of mid air. Truth is these big companies answer to a higher powered drummer that actually want Identity Theft to rise for their own sick reasons. But the average day Joe does not have the dishonest thinking capacity to even comprehend that these evil schemes exist.

retired hustler

sometimes stores have to eat charge backs, its like a mob protection racket lol. So many people use either a debit or credit that is visa or mastercard that if you dont accept them your going to lose a lot of business. So if you complain about having to pay charge backs then visa or mastercard might just pull your merchant account and your boned. Customers have no idea what goes on between merchants and these card companies.


I used to believe the above, until the first time i received a chargeback. It turns out that what the credit card companies do is take any chargeback funds directly from the merrchant. It doesn’t matter if my cashier does everything right – if the customer denies a charge, then the small business eats it. Simple as that.

I did not believe this until i heard straight out of a visa executive’s mouth: “the dirty truth is that when you let a customer walk out the door with items they paid for with a credit card – you are giving them an unsecured loan. “

Just so those of you who believe that this is a bad policy, or only for convenience, can be accurately informed, in reality, giving a store clerk an ID with your credit card is actually a very risky thing for you to do and is a major CAUSE of identity theft. Never do this! ALWAYS refuse, and turn in every merchant who asks.

I managed 5 retail stores for just short of 5 years and we lost $100’s per year to fraud with credit cards.

Local police departments told us to ask for ID whether the card was signed or not. 99.9% of customers were very happy to be asked for id as we heard horror stories on a weekly basis.

A few customers turned us in to Visa for violating the terms of their agreement and we received a notice that if we received two more warnings they would close our account. I found this information unacceptable and did some research and found that in Washington and Oregon laws had been passed that made it okay to ask for id as those states let the individual stores decide how to handle the issue. Those merchants in other states may wish to do research and see if laws have been passed in their states as well.

We posted a copy of the law in all of our stores and the few customers who had complained stopped doing so. For all of you who complain about this issue, please understand that just because you get reimbursed for fraud does not mean that merchants do too. Merchants have to pay the chargeback fees and don’t have the product either. If you want to keep your shopping choices available to you, cooperate or pay cash.

One quick story about fraud. A group of ladies stole employee wallets from multiple businesses in our mall and spent more than $25,000 in the mall and surrounding businesses in less than 2 hours. Had the staff of the stores asked for ID, those employees would not have had to deal with identity theft issues and the stores would not have lost the money.

Of COURSE they would have! They stole WALLETS! They HAD the IDs to go with the credit cards!

If a merchant follows the procedure to the letter tehy don’t lose a penny to credit card fraus–it’s all on the credit card company. Chargebacks indicate you failed to follow a procedure, and asking for ID will not keep you from getting chargebacks.

What I know is, if your business refuses to accept my card without ID, I will report you every time as you are perpetrating identity theft and in violation of your MERCHANT agreement.

You do realize ID’s have photos on them. Therefore, unless the thief just happened to have a striking resemblance to their victim, I don’t see how they’d be able to use the ID.

I’ll concede—the author is correct about forging. Even an amateur would likely be able to produce an ID good enough for a typical store clerk. Most aren’t looking for watermarks or other security features. That said, do you really think a thief is going to take the time to crank out a forged ID, and risk the card being reported stolen—not likely.

I personally put “REQUIRE ID” on all my cards. Although many merchants do not even bother to look at the backside of the card, the ones who do will immediately ask for ID. I notice it most often on bigger purchases (over $50). While it’s far from foolproof (doesn’t help for online/mail-order purchases), it does make things a bit more complicated for anyone who tries to use it.

One last point, I sincerely doubt a thief would start an argument with a store clerk over asking for an ID, especially, if it said “REQUIRE ID” on it, since presumably, the person using it wrote it.

what about when a male steals a woman’s purse than uses her credit card?

So consumers are not inconvenienced, nor made liable for fraudulent charges, credit card companies are protected, identity thieves are free to run rampant with no mechanisms to stop them, and the merchants are left holding the bag. Credit card companies will not honor fraudulent charges, nor support any business’ attempts to prevent such charges. There is a gaping hole in this system.

They most certainly do honor fraudulent charges if you have followed all procedures. MC and Visa prohibit demanding IDs because they know it is a BAD security practice.

retired hustler

spookiewon as a retired person who has “friends” that use to do this sort of thing breaking laws and stuff ill tell you this. That is like perfect you mean i can steal your card go to the mall and I can dare them to ask for ID lol. This is perfect for a criminal kudos to you. And stores do sometimes have to eat the cost of charge backs. But stores are held hostage because if you dont accept visa or mastercard nobody is going to shop at your store. So by default your forced to accept these cards. What you dont realize is that these large companies have a hidden agenda of actually encouraging identity theft. I know thats a really hard thing to even believe slightly possible. But unless you have a devious mind its hard to understand a lot of things that go on. They feed a lot of garbage to the sheepeople of this country and the public buys it.

Interesting article! What’s ironic is that nowadays with rampant credit card counterfeiting going on, presenting an ID for a credit card transaction is essentially irrelevant if the ID itself is fake as well. I wonder what VISA/Mastercard policies are concerning acceptance of credit cards that are “obvious” fakes.

Today I am officially a fraud victim, and I am devastated. :'( We work so hard for what we have and some creep was able to spend $500 of my money. One of the first things that came to my mind is why don’t they ever ID anyone? So much would be protected by that simple act. I do not wish having your money stolen on anyone. I would definitely feel so much safer if we were ID’d every time we used our cards.

Devastated over $500 charge that you are not even laiable for…I don’t get it?

This information is upsetting. Not only from a consumer perspective, but also a merchant perspective. The credit card companies ARE NOT risking their own money.

Fraudulent charges are the responsibility of the merchant, even though it is the credit card companies that are supposed to disprove or approve the validity of the charge(s). The merchant is charged back the fraudulent amounts found to be charged on a consumers acct. So the merchant loses the product, the payment and is often assessed a chargeback fee from ($0-$100.) Chargebacks can be crippling to small businesses and a costly nuisance to the giants like Walmart.

So next time, you’re asked about your ID, know that the merchant is not only trying to protect you, but also their business. The credit card companies are only protecting their own interests and take no responsibility for approving fraudulent charges.

David Fountain

Just today, March 12, 2012, the cashier at the Wal-Mart in my town told me she would need to see my Mastercard and driver’s license. When I questioned her, she said it was a new store policy as of today. I spoke to a manager, and she confirmed the new policy. She told me the policy was to protect me.

There is a new policy with major stores, i.e. Home Depot, Best Buy & Target — that I know for sure — who ask to see D/L when you purchase (which seems to be normal?) — but they require scanning of your D/L if you return something for store or credit card credit. Best Buy would not process my credit unless I allowed them to scan my D/L — it is their new corporate policy. Illegal? I think so. And argued the fact all the way to the manager. This policy needs investigation.

The Driver’s License policy at Best Buy has nothing to do with a credit card return. It is to prevent people from returning too many things in a period of time. They use a system that tracks how many things you are returning in a 90 day period; if you have exceeded that amount, it flags; and you are unable to return anymore merchandise for another 90 days. Again, nothing to do with your credit card. Simply to preven people from “renting” product.

Does anyone know if I have ordered something online from overseas, Germany to be exact, can they ask me to send them a copy of my ID and a copy of the front and back of my credit card, even after the transaction has gone through? I am worried I won’t get my product or my money back if I refuse. It’s a lot of money too, almost a $1000 (for a piece of electronic equipment).

I’m wondering if it they have different policies in Germany? I don’t see why they need it if they have already received the payment? It seems like they could use the pictures for something else. I really don’t feel comfortable with it.

if they just need the info to get your transaction resolved send it to them but do this on your id or dl mark thru the #s; just display your name and addr to verify its you n pic same with the cc let them only see it has your name but mark thru any #s they do not need the info esp if their funds have already been taken out of your acct; if they need the info the merchant can make their necessary calls which to me also sounds fishy… I know i do a lot of overseas purchases from ebay in China, Japan, UK, London and also Germany… but I’ve always used a pay pal acct…..

I used to work at Best Buy in California and we had a poster in the back of our break room that explained that it was in violation with all credit card companies for us to ask for ID. Why? Because it violated the privacy policy of the end user to ask for personal information to use their credit card. That’s why. Also, someone can verbally authorize a friend to use their card, now what good is an ID?

Best Buy put the poster in the store because we violated the privacy policy of two customers who reported the store. Each violation cost the store $1,000.


See my comments above. Thinking of contacting a local TV station for investigation.


Carol, I saw your comment below… wow, 3 times? I had my purse stolen about 10 years ago when I was in college, and the FIRST thing I did after filing a police report was report all my cards stolen. Whoever swiped me had my credit/ATM cards, my driver’s license, AND my SS card, because I had just started an internship, and needed it earlier that week for my W-4. Well, because I acted fast with cancelling my cards, there were no erroneous charges, but boy, did she get pretty far with my PHOTO ID and SS card. I requested a fraud alert with all 3 credit bureaus, and if it had not been for that fraud alert, MY PHOTO ID and SS card would have helped her open a new cell phone account, because they didn’t catch it until a few days after she submitted the contract.

I mentioned all that to say that photo ID’s are no fail-safes either, because as visually unique we would like to think we all are, someone with a similar skin tone and hair color can very easily pass for you if they have your cards and YOUR ID. Store cashiers aren’t studying features. Even if the hair is different, people change hairstyles all the time. People lose and gain weight. I think gender, race in most cases, and age occasionally are the only true tell-tale indicators on our ID’s, because someone who fits close enough to your profile can get over on a cashier who really only compares names. Think about it… if they don’t feel comfortable enough with comparing signatures, then what makes you think they’re going to know if the nose is wrong?

I don’t think any of you get get it. When the clerk says “may I see your photo ID”, They are really saying, “I don’t believe that credit card is yours and you must prove to me that is.”

Then the clerk tries to tell me that it is for “MY” protection. Really? MY protection? and exactly how is me showing him my ID protecting me at that moment? Protected from what?

I am offended by the request and won’t return to that business. Lately I have started using cash. I don’t need the credit card and I don’t need to be treated like a criminal for using it.

Andrew you are a dumb***, if the merchant is asking for your ID it is for yours and there protection because if it is not your card then the merchant is not being screwed out of their money. You know a credit card company will dip right back into the account to give you back your money if someone else used your card. Now what about the idiots that do not sign their card. You know merchants also have a right to refuse and if they do not know you and they want you to prove yourself and you refuse, well guess what at my store you can hand me cash or get the **** out of my store, I wont be ripped off by you.

You are wrong and are breaking the rules of the merchant agreement between your business and the credit card company. Do yourself a favor and read the merchant agreements on the websites for both Visa and MasterCard. You will see that not only do they discourage merchants from asking for ID but that merchants CANNOT make ID a requirement for purchase. Nor can the merchant arbitrarily refuse a sale when a customer refuses to present ID. I am astounded how you can conclude that because someone refuses to show ID that they are ‘ripping you off’. That statement speaks to your customer oriented attitude or lack thereof. The tone of your comments are childish, insulting and you should probably take a course or two in grammar.

I’m a business owner and if I get a fraudulent Visa, MC, Amex and Discover card charged in my business, none of the credit card companies will pay me. one person was doing business with me for 5 years and reported that I charged his card without authorization even though I showed Amex the UPS signature receipt that he signed for the package they refused to pay me.

you guys are unfair to business owners that ask for ID, you should be made to pay the full amount on fraudulent charges to your cards and see how us business owners feel when you knowingly charge some thing to your card and refuse to pay.

I have to disagree. I WISH stores could enforce photo ID to make purchases. I know the true fight is with the credit card companies. As a vitim of a stolen wallet, I had almost $500 worth of charges. Thankfully, I won’t have to pay, but it is a major inconvenience to have to start my life over… new military id, license, cards, etc…I can only hope the personallly identifiable information will not be used to steal mine, my husband’s or child’s identity.

(My reply is in response to Jeff Hansen above.)

This author is very naive: “But with modern automatic fraud detection techniques, such as unusual spending patterns or use of card outside of your normal areas, the crime is usually caught (as in new charges prevented) early on, even if the consumer doesn’t notice them.” This is not always the case. Just as the technology for detecting fraud gets better, the fraudsters get better at cracking it. These days, INFORMATION is also more valuable than the money actually illicitly spent. Fraud might not be caught until it’s too late to catch the thieves, and it can long-term repercussions.

Think of the TJ Maxx fraud, which, granted, was a case where the company had not installed strong enough controls to prevent identity theft. Hundreds of thousands of customer information records were stolen a few years ago, but banks are still reporting lists of fraudulent transactions in these customers’ names today! AND: the thieves have not been caught. They are very organized, and very good at what they do.

You cannot always depend on a company, whether as a whole or individually by employee, to establish and enforce controls that protect them AND you from fraud. If a store clerk asks for your I.D., SHOW it to them. Don’t gripe; VS and MC only “strongly believe” and “discourage” merchants from asking for I.D. It is not breaking the law: key words are “should not”; it’s a SUGGESTION. Concerning the part where you can’t make asking for I.D. a condition of acceptance of the purchase or can’t refuse to make the transaction just because a customer doesn’t provide I.D.: fine. I don’t agree with it; I admit if a customer doesn’t have a picture I.D. on him or her I usually let it go. But I think it depends on the nature of the products you are selling or the dollar amount of the sale.

People, don’t lull yourself into a false sense of security. My card information has been compromised twice, and luckily it was caught by the bank in time. However, I don’t believe I’ve seen the last of it. It’s not a matter of WILL you be defrauded, it’s a matter of WHEN will you be defrauded.

My issue with showing my ID is largely the annoyance of having to take out the ID. I have switched to cash to avoid this problem entirely.

What I HATE is the merchant attitude that this is protecting ME when it is really quite obvious that they are protecting THEMSELVES. Do I have a huge problem with flashing my ID briefly (pretty sure they don’t have photographic memory)? Not really – it is more the principle of that being not part of the point of sale methods. If my card is signed – you are not supposed to require ID. What if all I have is my card? What if I changed my name and my license doesn’t match my card yet? The convenience of the CC is no longer convenient to me so I no longer use it.

I just don’t like the fact that merchants are all sales-y – “I’m doing this for you. I’m protecting you.” Just be honest and say, “we want you to be able to use your card but Code 10 is not enough to protect our assets from fraud so we require ID.” Fine. Fair enough. I can shop there or not.

Finally, if the criminal is using my stolen credit card he probably has my wallet so has access to my ID. If he has a credit card manufacturing device I am sure he also can make a fake ID. I do not really think that showing ID protects much of anyone.

As a cashier I have seen at Wal-Mart not only they asked for your ID but also for your zip code. It’s been happening allot lately too. I can tell you it’s not for your protection it’s theirs. Because think about it if any thing ever happen to your card the bank calls you up immediately and stops your card from being used ever again.

So the question remains do the stores or gas stations have the right to ask you more private questions when using your card? My thoughts are if a hacker hacks and receives all this information how much easier is it for them to take your identity from you.

If anyone comes into my business and don’t want to show ID I refuse the sale and send them to my competitor, rip him off and put him out of business.

As a sergeant in charge of an Identity Theft Unit at a major municipality I am amazed at the ignorance of the people who have commented on this story. If you could see and talk to the victim’s of Identity Theft that I deal with on a daily basis (I receive some 40 cases every week) you would understand the absolute preventative nature of something as simple as a requirement to see your ID before a credit card transaction is processed.

Yes, you may get your account reimbursed. But it won’t happen quickly and it won’t happen until you have been seriously inconvenienced by having to file police reports and signing numerous affidavits of forgery (for every transaction that occurred). Count on waiting it out several weeks or months before you see your money again. Once you have been a victim of ID Theft, believe me, you will thank the clerk the next time they ask you for your ID when you go to use your credit card.

Read “Dan S” comment….it’s the only one based in reality. Folks, there is a reason the credit card companies have policy not to ask for ID – and it isn’t because they are worried that the clerk has an interest in taking info from your driver’s license (they have your credit card information right in their hand if they wanted to conduct ID Theft for god sakes – wake up!). They have the policy because THEY WANT YOUR MONEY. And they want to make it as easy as possible for you to use their product (their credit card) so that they can get more of your money more quickly.

Unfortunately, the American people (and I’m one of them) never cease to disappoint me with their ignorance….


Unfortunately, law enforcement never ceases to disappoint me with its hebetude and myopia ….

The policy motivating recent case law (calif., en point) is expressed within the opinion of the holding: the offering of *any* (zip, etc.) identifiable information ameliorates identity theft, not hinders it.

Anecdotally, my credit card was putatively stolen. Guess the culprit. Indeed, it was a snoopy merchant whom I had made a purchase from and was using my CC# to make overseas purchases. My liability was nil and my identity not stolen.

I completely agree with you; I work for a small business, and for the last week I have been trying to remember to ask for I.D. whether or not the back of the card is signed. As part of my accounting major, I have been taking a forensic accounting class and my professor believes the laws regarding asking for I.D. are ineffective in preventing fraud: a good preventative measure IS to make sure the name on the credit card matches the name on a picture I.D., whether or not you’ve signed the back of the credit card.

Yesterday I asked for I.D. for a less than $25 purchase, and the man expressed astonishment and displeasure at having to show it to me. He walked out saying he was going to check the VISA and MASTERCARD contracts. I tried explaining to his wife why I was doing it; she seemed to understand. It made me frustrated though-I don’t write down customer information-and unless I am acquainted personally with the customer, names or numbers are immediately forgotten (I see too many customers in a day to remember them all). I truly want to make sure that customers AND the store are protected from fraudulent behavior.

Fraud has always been a problem, but it’s only in the last four or five decades that white-collar crime has received more attention and awareness from companies, individuals, and the media. Identity theft can be very hard to recover from: it can destroy the entire infrastructure of a company or an individual person’s life.

Thanks Jeff, I put on the back of all my credit cards in the signature box “Ask for ID” and I never sign them.
I appreciate your enlightenment.

same here; never sign the cc

not signing the cc is stupid. becuase technically if they are not signed, they are not valid and they should be refused unless you sign the card. so if someone were to steal your card… and then sign it… it becomes valid.

Try having your credit card stolen and used by the thieves. Then would you want them to check ID? This recently happened to me and the back of all my cards says “SEE ID”. And if all the places my stolen credit card was used asked for ID, then I wouldnt still be searching for these good for nothing thieves. So why get mad if someone asks for your ID? They are doing their job and saving their ass in the long run and maybe yours.

If the back of your credit card says “SEE ID” but does not include your signature, the merchant should not accept the credit card. On the back of each of my credit cards, by the signature box, is the statement “Not valid unless signed.”

I know that it isn’t the consumer’s MONEY that’s at stake – but their time. Its a lot faster for me to show an ID than it is for me to issue and wait for a fraudulant charge to be disputed. Why has showing an ID become such an issue?

For the record, it is not the credit card companies money that is at stake. As a long-time employee of a small business, we have received several fraudulent transactions, which visa and mastercard have required us to pay for. Checking for photo identification is a simple precaution to protect customers and small business owners alike.

How is showing my ID (which is loaded with personal information) to a stranger protecting me?

Loss Prevention

Now do you understand why the credit card companies don’t require the merchants to check ID’s? Because they don’t pick up the tab! Wow sounds similar to the fat cats that got away with the mortgage bailout….OH WAIT THEY ARE ONE IN THE SAME. WAKE UP PEOPLE! WOW BUILD A BRIDGE SHOW YOUR ID AND GET OVER IT!

Loss Prevention

Of course all the complainers are customers and not merchants why:

with your worry of getting targeted with advertisements. All Merchants
are trying to do is protect their assets from being stolen. The credit
card company doesn’t pay when you dispute an item that was purchased
illegally on your card. They do what is called in the industry a
“CHARGE BACK” to the merchant who has to eat the cost of the theft.
Thus causing the merchant to charge more for their products or
services. Yes that’s right the complaining consumer, YOU, are the
loser. Next time, just get off your soap box and put your thumb over
your address and just let them see what they need to protect YOU and
THEM from theft: the picture to make sure it matches you standing in
front of them and the name on the Picture ID matches the credit card you
are using. Wow what a hardship….

Now do you understand why the credit card companies don’t require the merchants to check ID’s? Because they don’t pick up the tab! Wow sounds similar to the fat cats that got away with the mortgage bailout….OH WAIT THEY ARE ONE IN THE SAME. WAKE UP PEOPLE! WOW BUILD A BRIDGE SHOW YOUR ID AND GET OVER IT!

Wow there are a lot of foolish people on this site and blog. Gigi is 100% right! The credit card companies don’t care because if it’s stolen they will not cover the purchase which forces the Merchant (big or small) to cover the loss. So 2 things result, one the merchant has to charge more for products or services and 2nd this policy is in place by the merchant to protect them and you as the consumer as well. If your underage child took your cc and made purchase with out your permission would you want the store to stop it or not?

Wake up people everyone knows your name and address anyway! It only costs a couple dollars from an online search company. Help keep merchant/consumer cost down by showing your ID. You would think that they asked to see your genitals the way people are reacting!


This is not factually correct information above – it is not the credit card cos that are liable for fraudulent use of credit cards. The merchants take the loss. The cc co makes MORE $$ when a credit card charge back is filed by the card holder via a $15-$25 fee they charge the merchant.

So cc cos don’t care that not requiring id makes it easier for people to use stolen credit cards – in fact they like it. More $$ for them.

And to those who want to insist that the merchants around them all follow this policy – you know that this just makes it easier for credit card thieves. They will be declining to show id when they use their stolen card. Sadly, it is card thieves who stand to benefit the most from a policy like this.

You all do realize too that the chances that NOT showing your id to a cashier is going to protect yourself from id theft is slim to none? That is NOT how id theft commonly happens.

If you’re want to protect yourself, get a paper shredder and get your name taken off the lists for receiving pre-approved credit offers. This is likely to make a difference. Cashiers memorizing addresses off ids that are shown to them is an incredibly rare way for id theft to happen. Stealing your pre-approved card offer from your mail and going through your garbage ARE the most common ways id theft happens.

Use your heads people!”

FURIOUS THAT THEY WOULDN’T BE REQUIRED TO ASK FOR ID!!!! My card has been stolen THREE times. All three times the card company covered the charges but it required a great deal of stress on myself and time to file complaints, time for the company to research the charges and time for me to be notified of the acceptance of my claim. I would much rather show my ID (with billing address) to prevent theft!!!!


I agree, Carol! The rest of society must be inconvenienced to show ID because you can’t be more careful with you credit cards. Three times?!

[love your hubby, Sgt. Jeff is so hunky!]

I also was forced to give the card PIN code


Thems be “debit”, the card for the bootstrapping proletariat (to remind them of a time before Providian/Capital One & ARM’s).

I hope all of you get fraud charges,especially Pete Roth and Kevin Kass that obviously have never worked with the public (how dare you belittle anyone making minimum wage-like its a choice or working at taco bell) as a” minimum wage” working clerk most customers appreciate me asking for an id when the card is not signed. If you check the signature area on the back it actually says its void unless signed. Most people do not want to go through the hassle of fraud issues. I know I wouldn’t.

Provide a credit card with an I.D. which is more than likely your billing address. Theft prevention.

Sorry to hear no one wants to show proof they are who they say they are. That same clerk that you are so scared to show your ID now needs it for the proof of age. Also if you want me to stop asking for ID Sign your card. Cause now you dropped the darn thing and the dishonest person behind you picked it up and knows the disclaimer signs it and uses your card and other information on your card. Identity theft is running rampant. I’m not memorizing your Address in those few seconds I have it to compare names. But I’m sure that the skimmer that is attached to various machines that your so willing to use as a convience then by all means be the victim. I get thanked for asking ID it protects you the store and the card companies. When you write a check I get your phone number address and your ID number so there are always ways. Sometimes people can be just stupid. You dont even have to have the ID leave your hand. Visa MC and the others need to wise up. Also on your card It states that if the card is not signed it is invalid!!!!

Retail Employee

As a retail employee, it is a little frustrating when people tell you that you cannot ask for you ID. As Greatzky said, if the card is NOT signed… we have to ask for ID or you cannot make your purchase. I understand wanting to keep your personal information private, but we are also only asking most of the time because you did not sign your card.

If your card is simply blank, someone could take your card and sign your name in their handwriting and then we would not be required to ask for you ID. Something to think about…


Valid point.

However, the contention arrises from signed card transactions being aleatory on ubiquitous demands for identification–contravened above.

Tantamount to redlining, the requirement pervades california; not so much on the east coast.

Retail Consumer

Well Retail Employer, you are not the problem if you at least check for the signature first. I have had retailers ask me for I.D. before I even hand them my card, and even when I want to do a debit with my PIN. Photo I.D. w/ a PIN???? Ridiculous!

If you want to compare signatures for credit transactions, I’m all for it, but that’s where it stops. If retailers are so concerned about checking I.D.’s, then why so many self check-out registers and credit card options at the gas pump? They sure aren’t concerned with identification then, with the exception of the slim few who ask for a zip code from the card’s billing address.

Perhaps I wouldn’t mind showing my I.D. if I knew it was a policy applied across the board, but since retail employees can pick and choose when they require an I.D. from someone, I’m not going for the idea that I will be asked for I.D. 2 and 3 times more often when I am wearing sweats than when I am wearing business casual attire.

what you are all missing is that…
Your Credit Card MUST BE SIGNED.
This is written right on the back of your card “Void if not signed”.. The main reason that Stores/vendors ask for I.D. is because the card is not signed. So your choice is either show I.D. that the card is yours or they can deny your card because your care is “VOID”.

How many people are complaining because they were asked to show I.D. because of a Signed card? Most of the complaints are because of cards that are not signed.

Follow your end of the User agreement just as the Businesses are following their side of the Acceptance/Processing Agreement.

Visa and Mastercard both sent a letter to our Company telling us that we are required to ask for identification if a card is not signed. Technically we SHOULDN’T be accepting the card at all as it is VOID and obviously the person can’t read and is probably not of sound mind.


No, it’s regional. I have traveled in many counties where you cannot complete a sale without showing ID using a signed credit card. It’s loopy.

While that’s technically true (although I suspect there will be a federal law making it illegal for the credit card companies to make such a rule), NO store of any type (including mine) will ever follow such preposterous rules. The credit card companies can get bent.

So, why do they have this “rule”? Because here’s how it works- let’s say a customer comes in my shop, and buys $400 worth of stuff with a visa. If it turns out that the person using the card was not the person named on the card, the funds will be INSTANTLY taken out of my account. Meanwhile, the merchandise is also gone. I LOSE. The card company doesn’t care. They put the loss on ME.

So, I (and every other merchant) REQUIRES an ID. There’s nothing the card companies can or will do about it.


Chargebacks suck and instill a modicum of helplessness.

Yet, when I was a retail slave, I prevailed by ensuring an accurate signature and faxing it back with the chargeback notification.

The transaction procedure involves the merchant getting an approval of the transaction. If the merchant follows the procedures correctly and gets the approval, payment is guaranteed, even if the transaction was fraudulent.

I find it now quite unusual to be asked for ID when using a credit card. After all, it’s not part of the procedure.

First of all, thanks for the information, very useful.
I for one am appalled knowing this. What about a debit card? My bank will not cover my fraudulent overages. I think it should be required to present photo i.d. as a basis of using any card. And not all photo i.d.’s have to have your personal information so if you are seriously worried about identity thieves working at Taco Bell (Have you seen how smart these employees are nowadays?) you can show them something as simple as your Costco card, or state-issued-photo i.d. In my state it costs $3 for an i.d. with your name and picture (and nothing else).
Personally, I would rather have to drive all the way back to my house to get my i.d. to present it than have some thief using my card for who knows how many $$$$. Point is if you are a business owner and you or your employees ignore the SEE ID ALWAYS in the signature line of my card, you are going to lose my business, PERIOD.

Technically, See ID is the same as an unsigned card and merchants should FORCE you to sign it in front of them and then compare it to your signature on your ID before scanning your card. See ID provides no protection because if the card is lost or stolen someone else can sign the signature box either over “See ID” or by rubbing off the ink of “See ID” and signing the “blank” space.

Ron in Illinois

The real point here is:What are your legal rights and should you be FORCED to give up those rights.
Our local cable Co. (Charter) now has a sign posted at the counter declaring:You will be asked for an ID! Under certain conditions,such as opening a new account or changing an agreement with them,one should understand sound reasoning here!
However,to be asked for an ID simply to pay your bill with cash (WHEN YOU HAVE THE BILL IN YOUR HAND) is to me, very annoying! After all, I really do not believe anyone with half a brain would steal MY bill,and run down to the cable Co.and cough up fifty dollars (or even five dollars) ,while trying to aquire any of my personal information(WHICH THEY ALREADY HAVE IN THIER HAND WHEN THEY WALKED IN)!
Personally, I refuse to produce an ID and CHARTER refuses to return my bill stub! Of course they don’t have a problem with keeping the money!
May be I should ask the clerk to write me a hand written receipt containing their name and employee number.After all! Do I have the right to know who is taking my personal information?Where do they live? I AM SURE THEY WOUD AT LEAST TRY TO TELL ME”IT’S NONE OF MY BUSINESS!
I could rant here a lot more but the point for me and the reason for this entry is: WHAT ARE YOUR LEAGLE RIGHTS AND ARE THOSE RIGHTS PROTECTED UNDER THE LAW? Whether it envolves credit cards cash or checks,really doesn’ matter!
They’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me!!

The updated URL for reporting merchant violations to MasterCard is:

Never show ID with credit cards.

No ID required with credit cards. Merchants cannot require ID.

If a merchant tries to require ID, immediately call 1-800-VISA-911 to ensure they never do again.

VISA: 1-800-VISA-911
MasterCard: 1-800-300-3069

Also easily report merchant violations online:

Check the box that says “Merchant required ID”

Make sure your community is 100% violation-free.

No where in my credit card agreement says a retailer is NOT allowed to ask for id. I called my credit card company and they told me a retailer CAN set their own requirements for whether or not they check for id. My son stole my credit card and used it at a local retail store that doesn’t check for id. When I reported the fraudlent charge, VISA told me I was liable for ALL but $50. I contacted a lawyer and am still fighting with the credit card company after 2 years. So your information is NOT 100% correct. I wish all retailers would check for id. If your so afraid of the emoyee stealing your information, cover your address with your thumb and only show your name. Credit card reciepts by federal are only allowed to print the last 4-5 digits of your card for their records.

Those of you who are so afraid of an employee stealing your information, get a debit card or don’t have a credit card. I’m still fighting this charge. Why didn’t I just pay it, you might be thinking? It’s the principle of it. I didn’t authorize this charge and he is not on my account. The charge was over $2000, why didn’t VISA call me to notify me about this charge especially when it was done 4 states away from where I live and I haven’t used it in over a year.

These rules are not in the cardmember’s agreement. They’re in the merchant’s guide.

I am a manager at a pizza joint, I ask for ID every purchase most people are happy to provide it, a good portion thank me, on a rare occasion I get cussed out, you keep saying it’s not for your protection but guess what, it is, what happens when you get $1000 suddenly droped out of your account because some guys got a hold of your card and went on a spending spree in your town. yes you will probably get your money back after a week or so, but what happens to the bills you have to pay, the food you need on the table, the gas you put in your car in that time. I would rather show my ID for 2 seconds than risk someone charging my card while i’m at work or sleeping. do not hand them your ID, have it in your hand give them about 3-4 seconds to verify name and face and pull it back, unless they have a photogenic memory they won’t remember anything.

Your story doesn’t hold up. Charges on your account aren’t expected to be paid until the due date and even then you only have to pay the minimum. Paying the full balance is not required. Furthermore, when you report charges as fraudulent those charges are set aside and not required to be paid unless and until they are determined to be genuine. Of course, if they are found to be fraudulent as you reported you never have to pay them.

I hate to tell you, but a merchant CAN require ID for purchases with a credit or debit card. The merchant has the right to set policies for purchases made in their business. For example I work in the hotel industry (for 25 years now) and it is standard policy at any hotel to ask for ID to verify card ownership, charge backs on hotel charges are to easy to get and the industry to fight this is requiring IDing the card user, as well the processing companies require it. As or the credit card companies themselves, when I have spoke with them they have ALL said requiring ID is the correct procedure!


Sorry, can’t set policy that supercedes law.

I know, “But that’s our policy and the way we’ve always done it…” (a cookie for anyone who can name the logical fallacy!)

Argumentum ad antiquitatum. I will take my cookie now.

I work in the Credit card industry… there are two sides of the Credit Card industry. The Issuer (those that provide credit cards) and the Acquirer (those that take the credit card for payment). When you call your issuer, they do not have any idea about the rules on the acquiring side. I work on the acquirer side and deal with merchants and their service provicers.

That being said… there is nothing to stop a Merchant from ASKING to see your ID. Nothing to prevent you from giving it. But the Merchant cannot require it for completion of the transaction.

So, yes you might get asked for an ID… and a Merchant can ask…that is not a violation. But the Cardholder can refuse. But seriously.. why would you?

Different industries have different regulations i.e. hotels can authorize a hold of the expected cost of your stay even though the actual amount charged may differ at the time of check out. This allows for the hotel to make sure your card will cover the expected cost without knowing in advance how many phone calls you will make, data you will use if they charge for that, how many pay per view movies you will order, etc. However, a restaurant or bar can’t put a hold above the price of the meal/drinks even though a tip may be expected and then added later. Bottom line is retail merchants are prohibited, discouraged, and told not to ask for ID but will be on the hook for fraudulent charges if they did not do “due diligence” which can simply mean they accepted an illegible signature, highly likely if they have electronic signature screens. So you don’t have to show ID but the person asking for it is simply trying to ensure they get paid by the credit card company.

And yet the official written procedures say otherwise.

I went to Florida last summer and they ALWAYS asked for ID for credit card purchases Disney World and Universal Studios. While in Universal Studios ID is required for just ticket purchases, in Disney World it’s required for EVERYTHING, including one bottle of Powerade! While I believe they’re trying to reduce unauthorized credit card purchases, they’re just going too overboard with it and is too strict. And that was before I read this article (I don’t see how its prohibited to ask for ID (when companies are just trying their anti theft measures) but I can see how annoying it is. Many companies do ask for zip code, though.

Interesting. Yes it’s easy to perform CC fraud with ID info. When I use my CapitalOne MC some still ask for ID but most don’t since they know it’s blatantly against TOS to ask (whereas Visa merely discourages it). The big box stores know better mostly (except the naive employee or two) but small time stores are big culprits for the contract breaching by asking for ID. The following didn’t ask: Albertsons, Target, WalMart. These DID. Best Buy, Kohls, Macy’s. Look’s like it’s homework time to make some ppl get fired or learn to work RIGHT and understand what a written contract means. Screw “fraud prevention”. In the eys of the law the only thing that counts is what is on paper.


CapitalOne=America Online

Hope you never have to dispute a charge. [you’ve got mail!]

Asking for identification saves time, here is how: Whether or not a retailer is allowed to ask for ID, they can ask but can’t refuse the sale if you refuse and the card is signed, by making it standard to ask everyone for ID a mere few seconds are added to the time it takes to use a CC, if they don’t ask for ID but have suspicion of fraud they have to call the CC company for Code 10 and a process of up to 10 minutes from when they get off hold is added to the time it takes. If they can’t ask for ID and can barely read the electronic signature you gave, likely, then they have to call. So a few seconds or 10 minutes? Are there legitimate concerns about presenting too much personal info? Absolutely. Is presenting ID likely to result? Not if the information isn’t recorded in someway, and the clerk remembering your info isn’t likely. What is more likely is your card’s info being swiped from a skimming program that got loaded on to the credit card scanner that absolutely no one complains about using. Remember the beginning of credit cards…present id, sign the card, and an imprint of your card was made, if you want to go back to that keep refusing to present id. Or just pay cash until October 2015 when chip and PIN comes to the US.

Why not show ID? Say you are buying a $1500 HD TV at a store where the clerk is making $8 an hour. You have just told them where they can find it and either take it to their house or sell it for crack!

The protection is keeping your address out of the hands of ??????????????????

why does everyone care so much about flashing their drivers license anyway?!


Some retailers swipe it (ahem, target). Do you want all DL data stored in the same database as your CC#? Some of the more perspicacious states use your social for the DL#.

The reasons are manifold.

One recent decision was based on an invasion of privacy solely from a zip code request.

To noname,

The billing address (printed on your driver’s license) is what prevents unauthorized purchasers using your number.

Put another way, if you are a merchant and want to steal card numbers and make online purchases, set up a discrete camera on your side of the merchant counter to record card numbers/explorations and personal info off the ID (name/billing address).

Then, thank all the merchants who have made forfeiture of personal information common-place in stores.

My experience with credit card fraud came as $300 in shoes purchased from and – even though nobody ever physically stole my card.

A way to deal with this problem used to be to rent a PO Box and use it as the billing address for your credit cards. Then the address on your driver license is not the billing address and the scheme you describe doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, in the name of anti-terrorism, it is no longer allowed to use a PO Box as the billing address on a new credit card.

Your research isn’t thorough and your interpretation of what you have read is clearly biased by your point of view. As a merchant for almost 30 years, I have read all of our agreements. I have also been advised by the Visa/Mastercard company (First Data, the largest processor of Visa and Mastercard transactions) and AmEx to ask for information from the customer if the transaction seems dubious. They send tips to merchants annually and even conduct fraud protection courses with larger merchants. No, an i.d. cannot be REQUIRED but it is recommended, as is asking for a telephone number. Asking for telephone numbers or ids greatly reduces credit card fraud. Credit card fraud is expensive for everyone.

This message is to all credit card holders out there —-
Why is everyone making a big deal about merchants asking for your IDs when making a purchase with your credit card?????? Have you all consider twice about identify theft? Someone could be stealing yours or your spouse’s credit card and using it without you realizing it until you received your credit card statement….It doesn’t hurt to show your ID –just show it once and let the clerk finish his/her job.
So please stop filing complains when someone is trying to do his/her jobs….just for the safety of everyone. You should be glad they asked for your ID.

You might have understood the issue if you had read the posting.

Have to agree with Laurie in Chicago. Ignorance is usually the winner with this situation; even when trying to deal with the credit card companies. I called Visa to complain about a Best Buy employee refusing a sale because I wouldn’t show my ID. The rep I talked to said, “we actually require you to show id”.

Another time, I called AmEx to question this practice and the rep I talked to that time, with a strong Indian accent, just didn’t help.

The stores don’t care and the companies don’t care, so you are left with the choice of capitulating to the store clerk who think this is them going above and beyond for your protectioin, or doing without the convenience of the card.

Laurie in Chicago

I ALWAYS have to show id in order to use my card. Yesterday I called Citicard who issued my Mastercard and spoke with account mgr Joann id#MD0081 who incorecctly insisted merchants have a right to ask for id. I sent a secure e-mail on Citicard’s web site reporting her. Either she is enforcing Citicard’s policy to ignore the rule NOT to ask for id, or she is just that stupid. Either way Citicard needs to train their employees of the CORRECT policy. Needless to say she refused to contact the merchant to ask them to stop requiring id. This merchant actually wrote down my driver’s license info on their copy of the receipt. I crossed it out and they refused the purchase.

Most consumers have zero liability when paying with a credit card, so the prevent fraud – for your own good BS is meaningless. As a consumer using a credit card I’m more worried about the cashier memorizing my driver’s license and perpetuating some sort of fraud than I am about some one stealing my card and using it with out my knowledge. Merchants agree to the terms. If they don’t like the terms or are concerned about their own personal liability they shouldn’t accept credit cards. Signing the card and refusing to show ID is the best way to protect you from fraud.

My Amex merchant’s agreement said that you were NOT to ask for ID for an authorized charge under penalty of having your acceptance privileges rescinded. If it was a bad charge and Amex authorized it, you’d never know, because the retailer always got paid.

Most credit card fraud is perpetrated by unscrupulous sales personnel. It’s much riskier for people to show their ID, which has personal information, for every credit card transaction than the risk for the more limited instances of unauthorized credit card use. Do you think maybe that the credit card companies have thought about the best procedures for credit card use?

And to those who want to insist that the merchants around them all follow this policy – you know that this just makes it easier for credit card thieves. They will be declining to show id when they use their stolen card. Sadly, it is card thieves who stand to benefit the most from a policy like this.

You all do realize too that the chances that NOT showing your id to a cashier is going to protect yourself from id theft is slim to none? That is NOT how id theft commonly happens.

If you’re want to protect yourself, get a paper shredder and get your name taken off the lists for receiving pre-approved credit offers. This is likely to make a difference. Cashiers memorizing addresses off ids that are shown to them is an incredibly rare way for id theft to happen. Stealing your pre-approved card offer from your mail and going through your garbage ARE the most common ways id theft happens.

Use your heads people!

This is not factually correct information above – it is not the credit card cos that are liable for fraudulent use of credit cards. The merchants take the loss. The cc co makes MORE $$ when a credit card charge back is filed by the card holder via a $15-$25 fee they charge the merchant.

So cc cos don’t care that not requiring id makes it easier for people to use stolen credit cards – in fact they like it. More $$ for them.

Does anyone have an easy way to report AMEX violations on the web? I hate to sit on hold to gripe that they required ID to complete the transaction.

My clients are so stupid they probably can’t read the document anyway. They’d hand over their own mothers if it would get them their purchase faster. Absolute sheep. Of course, they have nothing worth stealing anyway.

I’ve gotten a couple merchants shut-off from accepting credit cards over repeat violations of this issue (they usually change their practice within a few hours of being shut-off; it really gets their attention).

To report, simply call 1-800-VISA-911, press zero twice, and ask to file an “incident report” regarding a merchant violation/merchant who required ID. Crooked merchants shape-up quickly to avoid suspension. Make sure your community is 100% violation-free.

I was forced to show ID today to use a Visa (after the lady in front of me was denied her purchase because she didn’t have ID). I would have fought the guy, but I was in a hurry and needed my purchase.

I’m on hold with Visa right now, and the woman seemed to think it was allowed. I had to read off the document to her before she’d allow a complaint.

Obviously it is a major security and identity theft risk, extreme invasion of privacy, and a no-brainer to keep your ID to yourself. No reasonable adult would hand over their ID to some violating cashier on demand. The most important thing is making sure it never happens again, so if any violating merchant should ever pop-up in your community, make sure they are eliminated/brought back into line immediately – 1-800-VISA-911.

Never show ID with credit cards.

No ID required with credit cards. Merchants cannot require ID.

If a merchant tries to require ID, immediately call 1-800-VISA-911 to ensure they never do again.

VISA: 1-800-VISA-911
MasterCard: 1-800-300-3069

Also easily report merchant violations online:

Check the box that says “Merchant required ID”

Make sure your community is 100% violation-free.


Thanks for posting the updated link for Visa. I changed it in the blogpost.

Thanks again,
C.C. Guru

Mastercard pdf link is also bad

I just gave my ID to get a $3 transaction processed on my Visa card. No more. Now, if any merchant tries again, I’ll tell them ID can’t be required. If, as I suspect, they refuse to accept my card, now I know how to report them. I relish them getting hammered by Visa!

Our credit card number contacted us about the bad charges and never said anything about further action on our part. When the charges appeared on my statement, everyone from the bank to MC to the card services company said that I would have to file a police report, fill out two forms and get them notarized to start the process of getting the charges removed.

So I wish Walmart and several other chain stores had asked for ID.


When you pay for merchandise with a Visa card, MasterCard, or American Express any store that accepts these cards should accept yours too, no questions asked. It’s part of the deal that merchants agree to when they become participating members.

They must check your signature and the card – electronically or by telephone – to be sure it’s valid. Once the answer comes up yes, they can go ahead and charge. They can’t ask you for any further identification – not a license plate number, Social Security number, proof of address, phone number or photo ID.

Your personal ID isn’t needed because Visa, MasterCard, and American Express all guarantee payment on cards that have been properly checked. If the issuer mistakenly authorizes a sale on a bad card, it should make good. MasterCard says that merchants receive instant settlement. The contract MasterCard merchants sign specifically prevents them from asking for personal ID.

Unfortunately, not all merchants play by the rules. Some, apparently, haven’t read them.


MasterCard wants to hear about merchants who break their rules. Send the name and address and an account of what happened to MasterCard WorldWide 2000 Purchase St. Purchase, NY 10577 or call 1-800-300-3069. The merchant’s bank will get a stiff letter, ordering it to investigate and bring the offending store into line – or pay a $2,000 fine. You may also report violations online:

Visa enforces the same rules as MasterCard. “When we hear about a violation, we ask the bank that signed the merchant to get together with the merchant and see that the practice is stopped,” Visa representative states. To report a merchant, send a letter to the bank that that issued your Visa card or call 1-800-VISA-911.

American Express also prohibits merchants from asking for IDs. “All a merchant is supposed to do is take an imprint, make sure the signature matches and swipe the card through the terminal, to get authorization.”

More people need to be aware of this and stand by their rights and refuse to show an ID. It is far more dangerous to give your home address, and birthday to every minimum wage clerk that requests it.

Visa Credit Card

I am always looking for good relevant information and latest news about Visa Credit Card . Just found your blog, thx for the info!

This is an interesting article, your a very good writer,keep it up.

Why did Lindsay put that stupid smilely face on such a pretty credit card?