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What are the rules for using someone's credit/debit card with permission?
Old 02-24-2014, 05:45 PM   #1
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What are the rules for using someone's credit/debit card with permission?

What are the rules for using someone's credit/debit card with permission?

Today, I was shopping for my sister (she wasn't with me at the time) at Wally World, so at the checkout I swiped her debit card (I have permission to use her card). The clerked asked for ID and I gave it...then she pointed out the my name is not on the debit card. I said, it belongs to my sister (same last name).

The clerk then left her station and went to flag down a supervisor. After awhile,
she said "it's ok" then accepted the purchase.

So, going back to my original question.. is it up to the store to decide if they want to process a transaction? Kinda like the TSA, checking out someone who they think is suspicious?

Or should the clerk have taken my word for it?

Or should the clerk have not processed the transaction?

I used to think only the person who owned the card could make a purchase. But what if the owner (such as a person who can't get around) says "can you run to the store and pick up my mediciation, here's my card"?

Also, what about situations where the name is different... (a spouse's card, folks living together but not married)?
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:57 PM   #2
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I have two experiences with this issue - the first one was when I was traveling, and hired a petsitter to care for my cats, one of whom often required vet treatment at a moment's notice. I left a credit card with her, and a very detailed letter addressed to my vet, stipulating that I authorized the petsitter to charge any vet expenses for the cats in my absence. Mind you, I knew this petsitter very well and trusted her completely not to abuse the card.

The second experience was decades ago when my father was traveling abroad all summer and I was house sitting for him in Maine. He left a credit card for me to use for any household related expenses (repairs, etc) which might arise. We did share a last name, but I did not live in Maine, and none of the merchants knew me. I never had a problem using the card the few times I needed to, but that's probably because it was a small town and people there had known my father for 20 years.

edited to add: People did know I was his daughter. I am actually kind of surprised the supervisor approved your transaction without something in writing.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:44 PM   #3
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In point of sale transactions the retailer has the right to ask for an ID, but it is not required. However, I seem to remember reading somewhere that in the case of fraud, the retailer may have more exposure if they did not ask for an ID.

In the case of internet or mail order purchases, obviously there is no way for the merchant to know whose card it is, so you can use any card you want.

And recently, I had a somewhat strange experience at Costco. I had a family member with me who wanted to purchase some sunglasses there. She was with me at the time and gave the cashier her AMEX card to pay. He asked to see my Costco ID, and then informed me that I would have to pay for the purchase on my card since I am the member. I have no idea why they cared, given that both of us were there. Just a Costco policy I guess.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:29 PM   #4
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In point of sale transactions the retailer has the right to ask for an ID, but it is not required. However, I seem to remember reading somewhere that in the case of fraud, the retailer may have more exposure if they did not ask for an ID.
If you allow someone else to use your credit or debit card, you are usually in violation of your credit card agreement. Now, as long as the bill gets paid the card issuer isn't really going to care.

The store is opening themselves up to fraud by allowing you to use the card.

In some cases if the store is suspicious you could find yourself talking to the police. I worked in a grocery store during college. I saw this happen. Lady was using her elderly mothers card. ID didn't match. She spent twenty minutes in the "holding room" waiting for police. Then she got a ride in the back of a police car home to sort out the details. She didn't get her groceries and she had to make arrangements to come back and pick up her car from our parking lot. She made a lot of noise when she came back. Certainly not common, but it does happen.

Normally something triggers an ID check. Today buying a gift card at the grocery where I shop, is one of the things that triggers the check.

My wife occasionally uses my MIL's card when shopping for her. If this were to become a common thing, we would get a card issued to my wife on her mothers account.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:59 PM   #5
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If you allow someone else to use your credit or debit card, you are usually in violation of your credit card agreement. Now, as long as the bill gets paid the card issuer isn't really going to care.

The store is opening themselves up to fraud by allowing you to use the card.
Sounds about right, but I was thinking there was a recent change regarding small dollar amount transactions. In the last few years it seems like whenever I purchase items for less than $25.00 I'm not even asked to sign my name anymore, so I'm thinking they may have waived the requirement to check for ID or require a signature for transactions below a certain dollar threshold.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:09 PM   #6
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My boyfriend and I use each other's cards interchangably, half the time we don't even know whose card we're using, they're next to each other in the wallet and whichever one slides out first gets used.

Neither of us have ever been carded for it, no matter how big or small the purchase. I've never even had someone scan the card themselves to see the name, nearly all the card scanners around here are on the customer side of the desk and the cashier just rings the items up and bags.

On a side note with fraud, we took a road trip last year across the country without notifying our bank and splurged in various cities, and we had no issues with our cards, no call from the bank, no holds placed. I was actually pretty surprised, and a bit worried! The behavior was entirely suspicious and I would've completely understood if the bank needed verification.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ready View Post
Sounds about right, but I was thinking there was a recent change regarding small dollar amount transactions. In the last few years it seems like whenever I purchase items for less than $25.00 I'm not even asked to sign my name anymore, so I'm thinking they may have waived the requirement to check for ID or require a signature for transactions below a certain dollar threshold.
It's all store policy. And the stores agreement with the card networks. And how closely the store does what the card network wants. In my experience Amex and Discover want more careful checks. While Visa and MC just want you to put the transaction through even if the customer refuses the ID check. Visa and MC are the ones that have the "no sign" below certain amounts policies. But if any problems occur all the networks will jam the store for not checking IDs when the card is used fraudulently. i.e. the store/seller eats the loss.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:37 PM   #8
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On a side note with fraud, we took a road trip last year across the country without notifying our bank and splurged in various cities, and we had no issues with our cards, no call from the bank, no holds placed. I was actually pretty surprised, and a bit worried! The behavior was entirely suspicious and I would've completely understood if the bank needed verification.
I don't fully understand how their fraud analysis software works.

I used my Discover to buy a Bose home theater system and large HDTV at a local store about 7 years ago. The next day my Discover was flagged for fraud and shut down until I called their fraud department. The purchase was made at a store where I frequently bought my computer systems. (at least one per year for the prior decade) The amount of the purchase was about twice my typical computer purchase, but that still wasn't very much.

When I built my current house 2 years ago, I furnished the new house rather 'quickly' and had things done to the old house to prep it for sale. This involved maxing my credit card and then paying it in full every two weeks. Same card, love the cash back bonus. I charged and paid off almost 100K in 2.5 months. Not a peep from them. My average monthly charge back then was 2K, so that 2.5 months was a very abnormal spend pattern.

I have no idea why one was an issue and not the other.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:01 PM   #9
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I had a late friend whom I used to help out (get groceries, go to Home Depot to get supplies). Though our names were totally different not once was I questioned. Even for large purchases.

In the current situation with my sister, I help out as she isn't able (doesn't drive, can't get around well, but needs medication or supplies from the store). In fact, I actually had her put me (and another sister) as a signer on her checking account for the very reason that if I someone goes all "Barney Fife" on me, that for the record I do have authority.

Maybe next time I'll print out a copy of a bank statement and leave in my pocket as proof just in case if a clerk says "citizen's arrest".

I suppose with identity theft in the news, folks get more suspicious. Or I have a more suspicious look as it's been too cold and I'm overdue for a good haircut by about 5 weeks.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gozer View Post
I don't fully understand how their fraud analysis software works.

I used my Discover to buy a Bose home theater system and large HDTV at a local store about 7 years ago. The next day my Discover was flagged for fraud and shut down until I called their fraud department. The purchase was made at a store where I frequently bought my computer systems. (at least one per year for the prior decade) The amount of the purchase was about twice my typical computer purchase, but that still wasn't very much.

When I built my current house 2 years ago, I furnished the new house rather 'quickly' and had things done to the old house to prep it for sale. This involved maxing my credit card and then paying it in full every two weeks. Same card, love the cash back bonus. I charged and paid off almost 100K in 2.5 months. Not a peep from them. My average monthly charge back then was 2K, so that 2.5 months was a very abnormal spend pattern.

I have no idea why one was an issue and not the other.
They're basically going to be looking for similarities with other fraud cases. I doubt many people using stolen card numbers are going to be using it to buy housewares/furniture (too hard to convert to cash). So even though the amount may have been high, it probably wasn't a high risk category.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:15 PM   #11
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They're basically going to be looking for similarities with other fraud cases. I doubt many people using stolen card numbers are going to be using it to buy housewares/furniture (too hard to convert to cash). So even though the amount may have been high, it probably wasn't a high risk category.
Makes sense. Leather couch is good. Vegas hotel, hookers and beer is bad.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:17 PM   #12
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Back when I used to do this, my understanding was that I needed a signed letter from the card owner giving me permission to use it. The store might or might not look at it.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:12 AM   #13
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I used to send the boys out to buy lunch on my debit card all the time when I worked at the chandlery. No one ever questioned them at grocery stores, restaurants, or gas stations when they used it.
I think the Costco policy is only the card holder can charge things, any guests have to pay cash.
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