Showing ID When Paying With a Card

Kip Tips

Showing ID When Paying With a Card

Do you have to hand over your driver's license when a merchant asks?

Think back to the last time you paid for something with a credit card. Did the merchant ask to see a photo ID? Did you hand it over or balk at the request?

Usually I'm glad when a merchant asks to see my driver's license because I had a credit card stolen from my wallet once. If merchants had asked to see the thief's ID when he used my card, maybe his spending spree would've been stopped quicker. Or maybe not.

You see, merchants ARE allowed to ask customers for identification when they use a credit card. However, merchants usually CAN'T refuse to accept your Visa or MasterCard if you don't show ID (the exceptions are when you're buying alcohol, tobacco products or certain drugs), according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

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So if you don't want to show your driver's license -- which lists your birth date and address -- to a stranger, you can say "no" the next time a sales clerk asks for ID. And some experts say it's better to sign the back of your card than write "see photo ID" because it's easier to create a fake ID than fake someone's signature.

Take our poll to let us know how you feel about merchants asking for ID when you pay with a credit card.