Shopping with a credit card: Do you have to show an ID?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you've used your credit card or debit card at the store, chances are, you've been asked to show an ID -- but is there a law the requires you to show it? And can you be refused service if don't show your ID? When using a credit or debit card do you prefer to be asked to show an ID?

Tina Holt, with the Consumer Protection section of the of the Office of The Attorney General, says consumers are mixed. Some like the added protection, others are skeptical about showing any private information.

"There are rules between the stores and credit card issuers themselves. If your credit card is signed on the back, then there is no requirement for you to show an ID but if is not signed on the back, then yes, the merchant may request to see some other form of ID," she said.

Bottom line, there are no Virginia laws or regulations that require you to show an ID. But remember stores can request it, regardless if your credit card is signed or not.

We also asked, can you be refused service if you don't show an ID?

"Not by the credit rules that they have with the issuers but there are some stores that have polices that they may request an ID and that is to deter identity theft and credit card crimes," Holt said.

You can find the rules by visiting your credit card companies website or contacting them directly. Both Visa and MasterCard say in most cases, customers can't be required to show an ID to use the cards. Ultimately, it is up the store but if you have been refused service or feel the store is in violation of credit card policies, you can file a complaint.

"Contact the store manager. Unfortunately, you may be dealing with an individual that may not be aware of the credit card rules and the manager may step in and make that correction. If you are still having some issues, contact the credit car issuer," explained Holt.

George Peyton, with the Retail Merchants Association says he encourages all stores to ask for an ID. For him, it all boils down to safety for the customer and the store.

"Once they have been taken by someone, they are the ones who are doing it. They are checking the ID and making sure the signatures matches," he said.

Peyton understands some people may not want to show an ID for privacy reasons but says most people understand why when it's requested.

"When you explain to them that I am trying to do it to protect you and myself, most often, they do it and it has not been a hassle at this point," he explained.

Consumer experts say if people want to see laws that regulate showing an ID while using a credit card -- they should contact their state representatives. Keep in mind for things like cigarettes and liquor an ID is always required. Here is more information on the topic:

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