State of California California Department of Consumer Affairs

Checks (Privacy Rights)

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CHECK (PRIVACY RIGHTS)

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(Civil Code Section 1725)

Any person accepting a check in payment for goods or services sold or leased at retail is prohibited from:

  • Recording a credit card number.
  • Requiring that a credit card be shown as a condition of accepting the check (the card can be requested, but not required).
  • Requiring the check writer to authorize the merchant to charge the check writer's credit card amount if the check is returned for insufficient funds.
  • Contacting the check writer's credit card issuer to determine if he or she has sufficient credit available to cover the amount of the check.
  • If a credit card is voluntarily provided, a merchant can record only the type of card, issuer, and expiration date. Recording other forms of identification on checks, including name, address, telephone, and driver's license number is not prohibited. The only information expressly prohibited from being recorded is the credit card number.


A retailer can do any of the following:

  • Require the check writer to produce reasonable forms of identification.
  • Require the production of a check guarantee card, even if the check guarantee card is also a credit card.
  • Require the check writer to produce a credit card, and record it, if the check is given solely in exchange for cash.
  • Require a credit card number instead of a cash deposit as security (for example, to secure a hotel reservation).


Department Publications: None are offered by the Consumer Information Center

Other References: Credit Cards and Checks (Privacy Rights) Bank complaints/Information

Other referrals: None




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