More on Showing ID When Paying With a Card

Here's why you should think twice about handing over identification when paying with a credit card -- and what to do if the merchant won't accept your card if you refuse to show ID.

In my last column I wrote that merchants can’t refuse (in most cases) to accept your MasterCard or Visa if you refuse to show them identification. However, many merchants aren’t aware of this. In fact, some stores require sales clerks to ask customers for ID when they pay with a credit card.

So what do you do if your card is rejected because you didn’t want to hand over your driver’s license? “Raise a fuss if it’s something you believe in strongly as a consumer,” says Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer information and advocacy organization. Stephens says that whenever a sales clerk has refused to accept his card because he wouldn’t show ID, he asked to speak to a manager -- and his card was accepted.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor,

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.