Originally Posted by charlituna
You and the card doesn't equal you are the owner of the card. Outside of the obvious situation where the card is in the name of Mary Guy and Gator is, well a guy, it would be hard to reject the card. Particularly if it was signed since the merchant agreements often state that merchants can't ask for an id as a condition of taking the card. Only Amex as I recall actually allows you to ask for an ID and take the card, the others actually state that you are supposed to refuse the card or, after verifying the id of the person, have them sign it in front of you (although no one generally follows this rule and just looks at the ID). Asking for the billing zip is really the only way to verify the billing address at least partially. And it quite possibly considered an allowed question since few to no one lives in an area where they are the only person in the zip
Have you been asked for the billing zip on your Amex anywhere besides an unattended gas pump or an on-line transaction? I never have, and mine is used nearly every single day, sometimes several times a day, and $Thousands every month. It might be perfectly above board for salesperson to ask for a zip code, but doing so would be really unusual just as I said.
In fact the only time my CC processor asks for a zip is when I key in a card # rather than swiping it. Oherwise if I were to ask for a zipcode it would be useless for verification purposes since the processor doesn't display it too me anyway. A salesperson keying in your zip matched to your name is almost certainly doing so for marketing purposes.
I can't think of another reason right off. Useless for verification because it's neither requested nor displayed by the credit card processing company when the card is presented in person AFAIK.
EDIT: California is another state that bans the practice.
"In a unanimous decision, the court said ZIP codes are “personal identification information,” which, per existing state law, businesses are forbidden from demanding.
From the L.A. Times:The class-action lawsuit against Williams-Sonoma Stores Inc. was brought by a woman who contended that Williams-Sonoma asked her for her ZIP code when she purchased an item with her credit card. She said the store used her name and ZIP code to identify her address and then stored the information in a database for marketing. She also contended the store had the ability to sell her information to other businesses.
Two lower courts rejected the suit, but the California Supreme Court said a ZIP code was part of a person’s address and therefore covered by the state’s Credit Card Act.Edited by Gatorguy - 1/20/14 at 12:28pm