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Ask for ID? Grrrrr…

July 19th, 2010

As a self proclaimed “industry guru”, there are certain things I come across in everyday life that as a consumer really irritates me.

While many consumers may unknowingly think its protocol or just good business, I suspect there are a lot more consumers that find having to fork over an ID when presenting a credit card is just plain annoying. Not to mention, in our fast paced society, a giant waste of time.

The fact is, as a consumer we are protected against all unauthorized transactions, so I have little concern about my card being stolen. What’s worse is when I challenge the clerk and refuse to provide my ID; they state “It’s for your protection”. Well… no… it’s not. I’m already protected, but thanks :). Really, they are attempting to protect themselves from fraud–i.e. a stolen credit card.

So you say “Wait a minute there Mr. Guru—who’s side are you on here? Isn’t this blog for merchants? I want to prevent fraud. I don’t want to accept a stolen credit card and lose my money and merchandise. As a credit card processor, don’t you want your clients to stay safe?”

To which I say, I am on your side. I want your customers (which could include me) to have a great experience at your business and I want you to stay safe and follow the rules set forth by Visa and other card issuers.

As you will note on page 30 of Rules for Visa Merchants—Card Acceptance and Chargeback Management Guidelines prepared by Visa:

“In most cases, merchants may not ask for an ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures, either when a valid card is first presented or to complete a sale.”

By “most” they mean there are certain circumstances in which you can ask for ID, which is outlined within the guide, but normal sales do not apply.

So you may be wondering how you stay safe. Well, that’s the good news. You already are. As a retailer, your obligation is to verify the card appears valid, swipe the card, ask the customer to sign the receipt, and verify the signature on the card matches the signature on the receipt. That’s it! Congratulations—you are protected.

“But wait; what if the card isn’t signed or says See ID”, you ask? Well, for that you will either need to consult a future post or read Rules for Visa Merchants—Card Acceptance and Chargeback Management Guidelines.

In all my years as a Merchant Service Provider, this is one of the best and easiest to read guides for merchants I have ever seen. It covers all the basics including, accepting cards safely, minimum charge requirements, charging for accepting cards, handling chargebacks and retrieval requests and so much more. This is a very fast read that any owner or manager of a retail store should carefully review from cover to cover.

Hopefully you will find it as informative and helpful for your business as it was intended to be. Let me know what you think!

Entry Filed under: Rules and Regulations

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