Retailers and merchants have very limited restrictions regarding the information that may request from a customer when accepting a personal check for payment.  Major merchants and retailers that accept personal checks will generally establish a comprehensive check acceptance policy that is designed to help identify and avoid losses from bad checks.  Some of merchant check policies require that the customer provide proper identification before processing the check payment will be processed.  Most retailers are also well aware of the public’s concern about privacy and will usually avoid recording information such as the customer’s date of birth or social security number. 

The store has the right to set whatever rules regarding customer identification it wants to for accepting checks as payment, as long as they don’t conflict with state laws.  It is not uncommon for retailers to record identification information from a driver’s license or other ID source when they accept a check for payment. 

Some states have enacted laws that restrict the type of personal information that can be recorded by merchants however; most state laws have place greater emphasis on restricting data used for credit card purchases over purchases made by check.  Among the laws prohibiting the use of personal information by merchants the most common prohibited practice is the recording of the customer’s social security number on a check.  Some state laws also bar retailers from recording the customer’s date of birth with the check and some laws prevent the merchant from requiring a credit card number to be recorded along with the checking information.  At this time, the majority of states do not have specific laws protecting the personal information and privacy of customers making check payments.

While it is necessary for retailers to acquire basic identification to minimize check fraud losses when accepting checks, putting personal identification information, such as an individual’s date of birth or social security number on a check is a bad practice all around.  Customers always have some control over the situation and can limit what happens to their personal information by exercising their right to take their business to another retailer.

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