Why Do Retailers Ask For Your Zip Code?
"Why does a store clerk ask for your ZIP code when you buy something with a credit card?"
Like most Americans, I had assumed the answer to this question was so that stores could figure out where customers are coming from, or that they were just verifying the billing address on the card. Turns out I was wrong on both counts.
According to MSN Money simply knowing your name and zip code allows retailers to find your entire address, send you junk mail, and even sell your info to other marketing companies!
They recommend just saying know when retailers ask for any personal info that is not
needed to make a transaction. MSN linked to this article from CreditCards.com that goes into detail, explaining exactly what retailers can ask you.
When you pay by credit card and a merchant asks you for your ZIP co
de, phone number, driver's license or Social Security number, do you have to show it to complete the sale?
In most cases, the answer is no. In some instances, asking for pe
rsonal information may violate store policy, credit card merchant agreements and even state law.
Now, before you lay into some poor employee in an angry tirade the next time they
ask for your zip code, just remember the clerk is probably just doing what they were told to do. A simple "no" should suffice.
And there are some instances where extra personal information is needed, such as an address for shipping, or a Social Security number to open a line of credit. And stores are within th
eir rights to ask for identification if it appears you may be using a card fraudulently.
Who would have thought those smiley clerks at Old Navy had such sinister motives? Ha ha. I suppose this could explain the ridiculous amount in junk mail that shows up in my mailbox.