A large number of Americans use their credit or debit cards to make purchases each day. And consumers do not think twice about showing their identification proof when the merchants request for it during the time of the purchase.
This may be because the people are becoming increasingly aware about the security issues concerning credit cards or it may be because they are doing it because most others around them do it. However, one aspect that the customers are not aware of is that there is no need for them to show this proof of identification to the merchants. According to the rules mentioned by Visa and Mastercard, the two financial majors who process most transactions, the customer cannot be denied a sale just because they do not wish to provide the ID proof.
After knowing this rule, the case of Alex Rostorotski will sound really frustrating.
Alex Rostorotski is 30 years old and resides in Bowleys Quarters. He was among the few whose live was thrown off track when a fire destroyed his apartment early this month. In order to replace the essential goods that he lost in the fire accident, he took his debit card that was issued by Red Cross to one of the stores in Middle River called Target, and used it to purchase the products he needed.
Unfortunately for him, the clerk at the payment counter rejected his card since he could not show his driver's license as proof. Though he showed the passport he managed to save during the fire, the clerk was not satisfied.
He said "I was just so upset about it. That's how they support a victim of a fire. They kind of turned me down when I was already down."
The rules laid down by the companies issuing credit cards are clearly outlined. The spokesperson for Mastercard, Tristan Jordan, clearly mentioned that though the merchants can ask for ID proof, they cannot deny the transaction due to the lack of it. However, he went on to add that there were a few exceptions.
When the consumers use their credit cards in locations like the self serve gas pumps, Jordan said that address verification is a must. While purchasing alcohol or paying for a few drugs at pharmaceutical stores, they have to show their ID to prove that they are aged 21 and above.
Kathy Grannis, the spokesperson for National Retail Federation, said that merchants prefer asking for identification proof since it helps overcome credit card frauds. She said that the merchants have the tedious task of establishing a delicate balance between protecting customers who are innocent and preventing fraud.