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Bank Accounts - Identification

Is it legal for the bank to request my fingerprint to cash a check?

Yes. Most banks use fingerprinting as a security measure and a way to combat fraud.

Federal banking laws and regulations do not prohibit national banks from requesting that you provide a fingerprint to cash a check.

I want to open a new account. What type of identification do I have to present to the bank?

Financial institutions are required by law to have a Customer Identification Program for the creation of new accounts. A new account may include, but is not limited to, a deposit account, an extension of credit, or the rental of a safe deposit box.

The minimum information that a bank must obtain when opening a new account includes—

The bank must then verify the accuracy of the information via a review of documents such as a driver's license or passport. Or it can verify the information by comparing the information you provided with information from a credit-reporting agency or by checking prior bank references.

The bank required two forms of picture I.D. Can it do that?

Yes. The bank can require two forms of picture identification. Federal banking laws or regulations do not prohibit national banks from asking customers for additional identification.

Can the bank require me to provide my Social Security number?

Yes. A national bank is required to obtain an identification number for several kinds of transactions:

For a U.S. citizen, a taxpayer identification number is defined as the individual's Social Security number or employer identification number.

Someone stole my identification, then used it to withdraw funds from my account. The bank closed my account. Can it do that?

Yes. Federal banking laws and regulations do not address the closing of deposit accounts by banks. Therefore, a national bank can close an account at any time and for any reason.

Generally, a bank would close your account for your protection—to prevent more fraudulent withdrawals.

This area is governed by the deposit account agreement that you received when you opened your account. Take a look at that agreement and contact the bank directly for more information.

Can a bank require a beneficiary to provide a Social Security number?

Yes. National banks may require the beneficiary to provide a Social Security number for monetary transactions. In addition, bank employees are required to ask for the customer's Social Security number when opening an account.

This requirement also ensures that funds are distributed to the correct designated individual when a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract is negotiated.

An unsolicited bank contacted me (by phone or e-mail) and asked for personal information to open an account. I had not inquired about opening an account.

Never provide any personal or financial information in response to an e-mail or telephone call.

If you have done so, consider closing any accounts that may be at risk. We also recommend that you contact one of the three major credit bureaus listed below. Ask that a fraud alert be placed on your reports in case anyone tries to open accounts in your name.

Equifax Contact Us page, or call 1-888-766-0008

Experian Contact Us page, or call 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion Contact Us page, or call 1-800-680-7289

Copyright 2007 by Mark McCracken , All Rights Reserved