ID This (or, Know Your Credit Card Rights)

If you’ve used a credit or debit card in the recent past, you’ve probably been asked to show ID with your purchase. I find this additional step to be somewhat inconvenient and recently discovered that Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover all expressly prohibit requiring ID as a condition of accepting the card. So you know what? I’ve been holding merchants to their obligations and now refuse to show ID when I use my card.

I’ve had some mixed results. The first place I tried it at was Harmon’s, a local grocery chain. I got some pushback, but the manager would come over and begrudingly approve it. After filing a complaint with Mastercard, they magically stopped asking for ID just a few short weeks later. Emboldened with my new-found success, I continued to insist that merchant credit card processing companies not be able to ask for ID. It amazingly works a lot of the time although you have to be willing to hold your ground and ask for a manager. It’s not always successful either. Shauna and I went to the movies a week and a half ago and the manager would not budge. He even had the audacity to say that they ask for ID because they don’t do the signature check required by Visa. I had to begrudgingly accept and filed a complaint with the issuing bank to get some payback.

There’s plenty of other cardholder rights that you have. Ever seen a sign that says a minimum purchase is required for a credit card? Major no-no. Filing a complaint can get their merchant account suspended. And merchants that charge more if you use a credit card? It’s allowed if they offer a cash discount, but prohibited if they charge a fee for credit card usage. This does even factor in things like automatic extended warranties.

I’m feeling empowered now that I can use my credit card as a weapon for better deals. How are you going to assert your consumer rights?

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12 Responses

  1. Misty Fowler says:

    The asking for ID just makes things easier for the merchant, when there is fraud, which is why they do it. And they ALWAYS do it more at Christmas time. It doesn’t protect the consumer, because we’re already protected against fraud with major credit cards, though it does sort of protect against headaches if cards are stolen. But, I agree….stand up to them because it’s annoying and makes the holiday lines longer, and it’s not like they actually look anyway!

  2. Kristi says:

    It was company policy at home depot, no ID, no buying. Managers said the same thing. So that’s interesting. I actually wish more places would check ID because Dana’s debit card was stolen once and used as a credit card. It all worked out in the end, but could have been avoided if they just checked.
    But that’s interesting about the minimum purchase thing. We have some stores with that policy we’ve boycotted. Time to go raise some hell.

  3. Sara says:

    I did know they’re not allowed, but I decided not to make a big deal about it. I figure I’ll be glad they ask if I ever lose my credit card (again).

  4. Karin says:

    The only places that I see with that request are small local places. I know the cut they are required to give to Visa and MC just for being able to accept cards and I choose to shop at those local places anyway. I choose small stores for a reason. I also know that they make a lower profit and need all the help they can get. I always try to remember cash at places like that, but when I don’t I’m happy to meet their $5 minimum.

  5. At my dry cleaner, they not only specify that a $10 minimum purchase is required for credit card, but when I presented my Discover card for payment (which they clearly indicated they accept) the owner asked if I didn’t have another credit card I could use. When I questioned her, she said she didn’t *like* to take Discover because it was more expensive than Visa and Mastercard.

    Funny, it’s not more expensive for ME. Should that really be the point?

  6. Bill says:

    I must be weird because of all the things I am required to do on a regular basis (seat belts, helmets, car seats, hands free cell phones, high occupancy lanes, taxes, parking meters, & toll roads) showing my drivers license does not bother me at all. I do not sign my credit cards and I guess the fact that the local post office will not accept an unsigned card bothers me a little. I guess one has to choose their battles because it is no fun to constantly be at war

  7. jeremy says:

    Where do you file a complaint, because I went to Sinclair and the big sign out side had one price but when I went to pay with my card it was 10 cents more a gallon, and the cashier said if I paid with cash or with their store card I would be given the price that was posted on the giant road sign.

  8. Jesse says:

    There’s a reason they’re supposed to do signature verification and not ID verification: it’s a lot easier to fake an ID than it is to cook up a fake signature. Credit card companies are smart enough to know what does and does not prevent fraud. If they think that requiring ID doesn’t help, then it doesn’t.

    jeremy: With Visa, you have to file the complaint with the issuing bank. With Mastercard, you can file a complaint directly. Don’t know about American Express or Discover.

  9. MAtt says:

    Just some random guy here…Why would you not want merchants to check your ID? It is to protect you. If someone go hold of your cards and went about town spendnig, you wouldn’t want a cashier to discover that it was not youusing the card? I don’t get your reasoning…

  10. Shauna (the other one) says:

    Wow, that’s really interesting. I had no idea. Thanks for posting.


  11. Mike says:

    By law, the gas stations have to clearly post that the lower price is a cash price. If not, they can get into BIG trouble.

  12. jeremy says:

    How do you go about reporting that Mike?

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