Limitations on the Acceptance of Credit Cards

Written by admin - 7 Comments

Here’s a quick rundown of things that merchants cannot require when it comes to credit cards:

They cannot require you to provide personal information (phone number, driver’s license number, etc.)

They cannot require you to present an ID.

They cannot require a minimum charge (though many do).

They cannot charge extra for using a credit card. Credit card companies levy a processing fee on the merchant, and they cannot (directly) pass this on to you.

They cannot require you to present a credit card as ID when writing a check.

If you run into trouble with a merchant that violates these terms, you can report them to Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Letters can be sent to the following addresses:

Visa USA
Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 8999
San Francisco, CA 94128

MasterCard International
Public Relations
2000 Purchase Street
Purchase, NY 10577

American Express
Customer Service
PO Box 297812
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl 33329-7812

Or… You can call AmEx between 8AM and Midnight EST at:

1-800-297-1234 (U.S.)
1-336-393-1111 (collect)

But the most effective thing that you can do if a merchant is uncooperative is to simply shop elsewhere.

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Published on June 9th, 2008 - 7 Comments
Filed under: Credit Card Facts

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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. I actually have written “ask for ID” in the signature portion of my credit cards to help guard against usage if the card is stolen or lost. Interestingly, nobody ever asks for it around home (NYC suburbs), however, when our family recently took a trip to North Carolina, EVERY SINGLE cashier asked for ID. I found that very interesting.

    Comment by CF — Jun 9th 2008 @ 9:15 am
  2. CF: We do the same thing… There’s an article on that coming soon. :)

    Comment by admin — Jun 9th 2008 @ 9:24 am
  3. OMFG! I am SOOOOOOO turning in a ton of places that do this! Starting with the rude bastards at that Russian Deli I went to on Winchester just passed Hamilton Ave.

    If memory serves… There is a fee to use your cards at Wendy’s too…

    Comment by Monty — Jun 27th 2008 @ 12:51 pm
  4. One thing to remember: If you have “Ask for ID” on the back of the card and it is NOT signed, the card is not valid. When I was in retail, many people got upset when I would refuse their card that did not have a signature; however, it states on the back of the card that it is NOT valid unless signed.

    I personally would NOT want people to see my ID; if they remember the information on my ID, then not only do they have my CC info, they have my name, address, drivers license number, and other information. That would lead to more problems with ID theft than simply having the card itself.

    Comment by Steve — Jun 30th 2008 @ 6:33 am
  5. I had written “Ask for Photo ID” on the back of a credit card. When I went to use it at the local post office, the woman behind the counter got irate and asked for something with my signature on it. I gave her my drivers license but that didn’t have a signature which didn’t make her happy. I ended up writing a check (and use wrote my drivers license info on it). Just for kicks I asked to see her procedure as to what was acceptable when taking a credit card. Her procedure was from October 1987. I pointed out to her that it was twenty years old and at that point she acted like my aunt’s Chihuahua and I left.

    Comment by Maire — Jun 30th 2008 @ 9:00 am
  6. …card users are NOT permitted to alter their credit-cards, other than signing the card when it’s issued. Period.

    Check your formal ‘user agreement’ — the fine-print that comes with your card.

    Adding things like “Ask for ID” on your card is a violation of your contractual agreement with the credit-card issuing company.

    Of course, you can voluntarily give merchants all the ID you like… including your birth certificate & ATM password.

    Certainly, every clerk or cashier anywhere can be fully trusted with your ‘extra’ personal information ??

    The whole point of credit-cards when they were invented (..Diners Club Card was the first) — was that they would be instantly accepted at participating merchants… with no need to prove one’s identity. That’s still the rule with all major credit cards.

    Comment by Ricart — Jun 30th 2008 @ 2:41 pm
  7. First to the comment by Ricart . Your statement, “The whole point of credit-cards when they were invented (..Diners Club Card was the first) — was that they would be instantly accepted at participating merchants… with no need to prove one’s identity.” is pretty dated. When cc ’s were invented merchants didn’t worry about if they were stolen or not good any good-declined, as much as merchants do now. As a business owner I don’t understand why I shouldn’t be able to ask for ID with a credit card. I own a bar an as a courteousy we let customers run tabs. We do ask to hold a dr license or credit card for our protection. We have been burned so many times on walk-outs (they leave without paying their tabs). We check the cards expiration dates to be sure they are valid but we lose out when they are stolen or declined. The initial transaction goes through and they deposit part of the sale amount minus the many fees (transaction, % of the sale, plus more of a % on speciality cards ie. rewards, etc.) in our account. If the card was stolen we get a charge-back where they deduct from our account the full amount of the sale (so now we are out the sale amount plus the fees), unless we can send in a valid charge receipt w/signature . Of course, there are no signatures if someone walks out since the card was stolen . If someone walks out on a card that ends up being declined, I lose the amount of the sale and still have to pay transaction fees even if the card is denied. This can cost (and has in my type of business) a lot of money, not only in fees but loss on sales to pay for my overhead (rent, salaries, electricity, water, etc) and the inventory (liquor, mixers, straws, etc.) plus I need money to get new inventory to be able to try to make money to cover my losses and fees. How am I supposed to survive? What is so bad about asking for ID when someone is using a charge card, it protects you the consumer and me the small business owner. As far as someone getting your personal info and having your cc #, you give that info ( plus the v-code, which is supposed to be extra security) over the phone verbally or online for purchases, what’s to stop the people whom you are telling it to from using it. Now a days it is so easy to get info on anyone it is ludicris. I know cause I am an ID theft victim, and it wasn’t from cc info or dr license info.

    Comment by business owner — Nov 13th 2008 @ 7:37 pm

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