Cashiers often ask for ID with credit card purchases to make sure the right person is using the credit card, thereby preventing credit card fraud. However, VISA and MasterCard merchant-credit card agreements don't allow stores to require ID for credit card transactions. Merchants can ask for ID, but they can't refuse the transaction if you don't show your ID.
Baltimore Sun reports a man recently had his credit card was refused by Target employees because he didn't have his ID (which had just burned in a house fire). A Target spokeswoman later apologized and admitted the error was on the employee's part.
Consumerist has several stories of customers who have had their credit card refused when they wouldn't show their driver's license.
While merchants may ask for ID to prevent credit card fraud, your personal information is at risk when you show your ID. Remember that your name, address, driver's license number, and sometimes social security number are printed on your driver's license. This is just the information an unscrupulous cashier needs to steal your identity. Many credit card fraudsters are successful with just your zip code and credit card number.
Unfortunately, attempting to force an employee to honor the merchant-credit card agreement at the time of purchase is a losing battle. I've read several stories about employees who've refused credit cards because the customer wouldn't show ID. Store managers typically back up their employees.
Sometimes, though, when the stories reach national media, the higher-ups usually side with the customer - as in the Baltimore Sun's Target and Consumerist's Disney stories - and promise to retrain their employees not to require ID unless law requires it, for example with tobacco and alcohol purchases.
If a merchant refuses to honor your credit card because you won't show your ID, you can report to MasterCard online - Mastercard's Merchant Violation form - or report to VISA violations by calling the number on the back of your credit card.
- Your Rights With Credit Cards
- Times You Shouldn't Use Your Credit Card
- 12 Times to Contact Your Credit Card Issuer
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