Charge me!
January 30, 2011 2:41 PM   Subscribe

If I refused to give the retailer my drivers license when making a purchase with my discover card, what would happen?

Just curious what the repercussions would be for refusing to show my ID when making a purchase with a credit card. I understand they are requesting the information "for my safety," but they are more likely covering their own asses. If my card is stolen, I can recover my losses, however I believe the retail establishment is screwed.

So, if I say, "I don't have my Id," will they refuse my card? What else?
posted by TLCplz to Shopping (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The big 4 card issuers' merchant agreements preclude them requiring IDs for the card transaction. That said, they've got the upper hand at the register. About all you could do about it if they refuse you service is complain make a complaint to Discover.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 2:46 PM on January 30, 2011

If the card is signed on the back, they have to accept it without id (for Mastercard and Visa, anyway).

If it's not signed, they can ask for ID.
posted by orthogonality at 2:46 PM on January 30, 2011

If the guy at the register refuses, insist on getting the refusal (and full name) from the store manager. Who will likely back down.
posted by orthogonality at 2:48 PM on January 30, 2011

I'm in Canada and have never been asked for ID. If I was, I'd say, "What, you don't take credit cards from people who don't drive?"
posted by dobbs at 2:49 PM on January 30, 2011

"What, you don't take credit cards from people who don't drive?"

You can still have an ID without having a driver's license.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:55 PM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

With Visa, at least, if the card's not signed, they're supposed to ask you for ID and make you sign it right there. Otherwise, refusing to run your card because you don't show them an ID is a breach of their merchant contract.

The payment networks seem to try to keep their rules as close to identical as possible, so it wouldn't surprise me if Discover had the same rule.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:12 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

(a) They will very likely refuse your purchase, unless you make an unusually persuasive/well-reasoned stink about it.
(b) You will have no recourse except to complain to the credit card company, or to the upper management of the company at hand.
(c) Even if you complain to the credit card company or to upper management, they very likely won't do jack shit about it (as far as I can tell from reading the consumerist blog, where these stories are reported frequenty).
posted by astrochimp at 3:37 PM on January 30, 2011

(d) By all this I mean: what jamro just said.
posted by astrochimp at 3:38 PM on January 30, 2011

If the card was unsigned, or says "See ID" and you didn't have ID, when I worked retail I could ask you to please come back with your ID and/or refuse the transaction and my boss would back me up. I have no idea about the merchant agreements, but I definitely had a woman freak the eff out on me because I asked her for ID for her unsigned Amex. The other people in line, however, thanked me, and were almost giddy to show me their IDs.

Retail takes a lot of shrinkage in the form of theft and damage. Taking more on the backs of credit card fraud, where preventable, would just be stupid. It's not much of a barrier but it's better than not asking at all. Then again, I don't hassle people about this, having been in exactly their position before.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:38 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

My business went through the process of accepting credit cards not too long ago. Technically, they can't require ID for a signed card. But then, technically, a business can refuse service for any or no reason.

So, you'd get refused service for any or no reason.
posted by cmoj at 6:18 PM on January 30, 2011

So, if I say, "I don't have my Id," will they refuse my card?

If they choose to. And they would be within the rights of their merchant agreement with Discover to do so (see above), so there you'd be. (If it were another card provider, you could point to the merchant agreement to back up your stance.)

What else?

Nothing else. Either you'd pay with another form of payment, or they'd void the transaction.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:33 PM on January 30, 2011

I refuse to provide my ID for my Visa purchases all the time (it's signed). Usually the clerk just shrugs and carries on. I'm sure at some point someone will refuse it, and that's okay - I'll take my business elsewhere.

I refuse to show my ID because I had a shop clerk show up at my home at night, armed with a hunting knife, saying he thought I was beautiful and he wanted to go on a date with me. After I called the police and pressed charges, it came to light that he got my address when he asked to see my ID when I used my Visa card. Some people may feel better when they're asked for their identification, but I personally don't want to give anyone the ammo they need to steal my identity or show up on my doorstep.
posted by sephira at 8:06 PM on January 30, 2011

sephira, that sounds like a truly horrible experience, and I am so sorry!

One option for those who don't want to disclose their address but who wish to comply when required to give ID is to use one's passport or passport card.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:28 PM on January 30, 2011

I have the same experience as sephira - I routinely don't show ID, but I can't think of one instance where my credit card was refused (AmEx, Visa, MasterCard). I'm just super matter of fact about it "can I see your drivers license?" "Uhm, I don't carry one" shoulder shrug + smile. That said, I don't use Discover.
posted by VikingSword at 9:05 PM on January 30, 2011

When I was working at a retail store, I always asked 'May I see your ID, please?' Only once did someone decline, and I apologized and offered to hold their items until they could bring another form of payment.

The -only- reason I check them is to verify the name on the cards match, and the pictures match. If they do, no sweat. I probably stopped about ten kids from using their parents' credit cards to buy video games. (I've told people this, too.)

(To explain in more detail why I ALWAYS did this, as an experiment once I 'borrowed' my at-the-time-married Other Half's debit card and ran up about three hundred bucks on it without telling him until after the fact, when I handed him the cash. He didn't mind because we could afford it, but it was rather frightening how easy it was to just keep buying stuff, over and over and over. There was no way I would've gotten away with it if someone had checked my ID. I realize there's retailer/consumer protection, but it really was scary how easy it was.)
posted by Heretical at 1:39 AM on January 31, 2011

A long while back I worked for Card Services at a major bank and actually had a few conversations with people there about this topic - one of whom made sort of a hobby of hassling retailers about demanding an ID in violation of their contract with VISA. Anecdotally many will demure if you push the issue (although I guess given the above it is not a requirement with Discover) but some will not and will just refuse to carry out the transaction. At which point you could file a complaint with VISA or whatever and they probably would indeed hassle the merchant about it.

This is one of those minor stepping on my "rights" that I vaguely feel in some tiny part of myself I should do something about but in reality I'm thinking "I am willingly, sheerly for convenience, handing over exact, granular data on virtually all my spending habits to a massive corporation whose corporate motto, at least at one point, was One World... One Currency... Visa." Do I actually give a shit about showing my ID? And then I give them my ID. Papers please!
posted by nanojath at 10:18 AM on January 31, 2011

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