Can you get a prepaid card without a social security number (aka SSN)? For reloadable prepaid cards with the Visa or MasterCard logo on them, the answer is no. Why not? After the attack of 9/11, the government passed the US Patriot Act. All prepaid card companies now follow the rules under the act, which require them to verify the identity of the prepaid card applicant. This is to protect Americans from future terrorists trying to remain anonymous with false identities and credit cards or prepaid cards that are untraceable to them. Hence, this is a good thing.
As authorized by the Act, The Department of the Treasury, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the seven federal financial regulators issued final rules that require certain financial institutions to establish procedures to verify the identity of new accountholders. Not only does this protect against terrorist financing, but also money laundering and identity theft.
However, you can get a prepaid gift card without a social security number. Perhaps the law needs to be stricter there as well, to prevent terrorists from buying equipment at Best Buy or Home Depot.
What do prepaid card companies and credit card companies have to do under the Patriot Act? 1) verify the identity of anyone trying to open an account. 2) keep cardholder identity information on file. 3) make sure the applicant does not appear on a list of known or suspected terrorists or terrorist organizations.
Financial institutions now gather such standard information as a customer’s name, address, date of birth and a taxpayer identification number (for U.S. persons, typically a social security number and for non-U.S. persons, a similar number from a government-issued document).
Believe it or not, a lot of people Google this question every day. Maybe they are illegal aliens. While it is possible, it is against the law, and it is getting harder and harder to do. Under the Patriot Act, financial institutions not only ask for an applicant’s social security number, but they also to take reasonable steps to make sure that applicants are who they say they are. Putting in a false ID when applying for a card just won’t work.
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