Personal Information Requests While Paying By Credit Card


Merchants usually want to get as much personal information as possible from their customers so that merchants can send them targeted advertisements. Merchants will often request seemingly harmless information from customers at the cash register or online, like a zip code. The problem is that merchants can combined the zip code with the customer’s name or other information that is obtained from customer or other sources to get the customers’ home addresses or a detailed history of their shopping habits


California law prohibits merchants from asking customers paying with credit cards to provide personal information, such as an address, telephone number, and zip code:

⇒ Merchants cannot request personal information from credit card paying customers

⇒ Merchants cannot record any personal information obtain from credit card paying customers

⇒ Merchants cannot use forms with pre-printed spaces for personal information

Merchants will often tell customers that the credit card companies require merchants to collect certain information from customers and that they cannot process the credit card transaction without this information. But that isn’t true. Major credit card company rules provide that merchants cannot make showing identification a requirement to accepting a credit card.


There are a few exceptions to this rule:

⇒ Merchants can ask for personal information if: the credit card is used as a deposit; the credit card is used for a cash advance; or the purchased product is to be shipped

⇒ Merchants can ask to see identification to confirm that the card belongs to the customer. Merchants, however, cannot record any information on the identification

⇒ Merchants can record the customer’s driver’s license number or identification card number if the customer pays by credit card but does not provide the card because they left it at home or otherwise does not have the card with them


If you were asked to provide any type of personal information during credit card transactions, contact us for a free consultation.