What A Credit Card’s First Digit Means

what is a chargeback on a credit card

By Ben Popken January 22, 2007

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their shoes, and likewise, by looking at their credit card’s first digit. This represents the Major Industry Identifier, which is to say, the type of institution that issued the card. Here’s the breakdown.

1,2: Airlines

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homerjay says:

I had the ‘can’t ask for ID” discussion with an Apple store employee just this morning when he asked for mine for no particular reason.

If it was anywhere else I would have debated it but I’m a fanboy so I let it go. Now that I think about it, what the hell was he using that handheld deal for if the POS was right there? Ugh… I hope my digits wern’t stolen….

AgentMunroe says:

ValkRaider says:

Actually, they can require whatever they want. They can require a minimum purchase, show of ID, or for you to take off your shirt and let them tweak your nipple.

Although some places charge extra for that.

But the point is, you are welcome to leave and shop at another merchant which has a less restrictive policy. And you are welcome to inform the credit card company that the merchant is violating their terms.

However I know from experience that it does not matter. I have complained to the card companies several times about merchants and minimum purchase requirements, and the merchants never change their policy.

However I am not sure I understand the opposition to showing ID. I *like* merchants that would help prevent fraud. But maybe I am just odd… If you don’t want to show an ID use cash…

viriiman says:

Helvetian says:

Actually, they can require whatever they want. They can require a minimum purchase, show of ID, or for you to take off your shirt and let them tweak your nipple.

No they can’t, the rules are there to protect cardmembers and most importantly, the card association business. When you talk the talk, they almost always back down even small Mom & Pop places.

I did have one encounter that escalated. I was out of state, and left my wallet at a friends home but did have my minicard Visa with me. We went to the supermarket, it was just around $35 worth of food. The cashier asked for ID, I actually didnt have it but never said this. She pointed to a sign that said “All CC purchases require ID. Management.” She called the manager over, who insisted on ID. I said, “demanding ID as a condition of the sale violates Visa’s card acceptance guidelines. Would you like me to call Visa-911 Service?”

He said fine and took my card as payment. That whole situation took but 25 seconds. And I will call Visa-911, and pass them the phone and never had a problem.

Helvetian says:

ValkRaider says:

No they can’t, the rules are there to protect cardmembers and most importantly, the card association business. When you talk the talk, they almost always back down even small Mom & Pop places.

Yes, they can.

There is no law that requires them to accept you as a customer. They can have you ARRESTED for TRESPASSING.

You don’t believe me? Push the wrong clerk too far and you WILL be taking a ride in a police car.

In your experience you have been lucky. There is no requirement in any way shape or form that a merchant let you call Visa 911 and hand them a phone. None.

Now, you CAN complain to Visa, and let Visa take it up with the merchant. But that will be after you

post bail.

Once, in a mall in Alabama I was picked up by police because the Taco Bell would not accept a $2 bill. The ignorant clerk insisted there was no such thing as a $2 bill, and her manager agreed. I did not leave, they called mall security who took me to their office and transferred me to local police. After that the police agreed they were stupid, the officer apologized, let me go, and I called Taco Bell. However mall security would not let me come back in the mall that day (probably for fear I would throttle the clerk).

The people at Taco Bell lost their jobs – but I still got a ride in a police car.

The merchant merely has BUSINESS CONTRACT with another company for credit card services. Whether or not they are in compliance with that agreement does not impact their ability to refuse service to you for any purpose they see fit.

Now, in this day and age – putting your ability to accept credit cards at risk would be a huge mistake from a business viewpoint. But lets not confuse a contractual agreement between two separate parties, and a legal requirement.

I lost another similar battle once. If a place accepts checks, they have to accept a check no matter what it looks like. There is no law that says that a check HAS to look like what we commonly have in our checkbooks. So to test the theory, I tried to write my account number and routing number on a napkin, sign it and use it as a check. They would not accept it, no matter what. I contacted the bank and the bank informed the people that it would have been a perfectly valid check. At that point they decided to stop accepting checks for payment. But they still didn’t sell me the merchandise.

But wow this discussion went way off course. Maybe I should bring up Amy’s Ice Cream. ;)

Michael Bauser says:

ValkRaider, you’re so wrong about the ID requirement that MasterCard actually has a webpage on their website to prove you wrong: MasterCard’s merchant violations page. The standard MasterCard Merchant Agreement does not allow merchants to require ID. Period. (I suppose a store could negotiate an exception, but I don’t know of one. If a store told me they had, I’d demand to see it in writing.) Minimum purchase requirements and card surcharges are also prohibited by the Merchant Agreement.

Page 29 of Visa’s merchant agreement (Warning: Giant PDF) says that retailers can ask for ID, but can’t require it.

By the way, know what really sucks about that article: IT DIDN’T CITE EVERYTHING. Seriously. This is the World Wide Web. Somebody tell that guy he can link to things!

Helvetian says:

There is no law that requires them to accept you as a customer. They can have you ARRESTED for TRESPASSING.

I think you are being too dramatic about the situation. I would never engage in a transaction that would later escalate into a police encounter. You must prudent in your judgement, clearly you were not.

Your situation is sad, and it seems you let it escalate too far. And all over a $2 bill? I would not and would have just left the store. I realize that $2 bills are rare, and thus perhaps the person was ill-informed. So instead of escalating and getting arrested, I would have used another payment method or paid with a more common demonination of currency such as two one dollar bills.

Your two examples are poor, and make little sense. You certainly have too much free time on your hands to concoct that inane check story. Moving on.

Avery says:

Source: consumerist.com

Category: Bank

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