Curious About Credit Cards & Zip Codes

By Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV

I’m curious…In my local paper (the Enterprise) there was a wire-service story stating that the California Supreme Court ruled that merchants can no longer ask for the ZIP codes of customers who make purchases with credit cards because such requests violate a state consumer -protection law.   (Zip codes can be used for “personal identification information”  What is the status of such “usage”  in Mass. The trend “seems” to be “growing ” here in Mass.  – Jack, Brockton

It probably doesn’t mean much here in Mass., at least according to consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky, the head of

The Calif. Supreme Court interpreted the Calif. law that protects personal identification information as including zip codes because you can tell where a person lives by the zip code.

However, Mass. law about personal information specifically spells out what is considered  “personal information” and zip codes aren’t among them.

Here’s the section of law that Edgar sent me, so you know what I mean:

“Personal information, a Massachusetts resident’s first name and last name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of the following data elements that relate to such resident: (a) Social Security number; (b) driver’s license number or state-issued identification card number; or (c) financial account number, or credit or debit card number, with or without any required security code, access code, personal identification number or password, that would permit access to a resident’s financial account; provided, however, that “Personal information” shall not include information that is lawfully obtained from publicly available information, or from federal,state or local government records lawfully made available to the general public.”

Of course the legislature can always change the law.

What do you experience when you shop?  Do the cash register people ask you for your zip code, phone number????  And what do you think about that?


More from Declare Your Curiosity
  • response

    if they ask for zip code, I give them the next town over. phone number…give them the wrong one as well……

  • Cynic

    The zip code is one way the credit card companies check for stolen credit cards.You will often be asked what zip code your statement is sent to. If you give the wrong zip code the Credit card company will decline the transaction.It’s an extra level of protection. In cash sales the store will often ask for your Zip code as a market survey to see where their customers are drawn from. This way they can determine their market area……Nothing sinister going on here.

  • sandy claws

    give them a zip from another state…

  • DStein

    The question is what are they using the information for? If it is to confirm that the user of the credit card knows the zip of the billing address for security purposes, than that’s a way to protect our cards from thieves. On the other hand, if the information is being used for the merchant’s marketing purposes than I don’t give it to them. If they insist, I give them any ol’ zip code to shut them up, but not my own! Same with phone numbers.

  • Zus reymonta wrocław

    With regards to two thousand in the past had not been obvious “JEE-zus.” (did you hear those bubbles break open) most students agree the typical words in the whole region has been Aramaic and that …Zus w angli

blog comments powered by Disqus
Taz Show
Download Weather App

Listen Live