Why Do You Need My Social Security Number
Why do I need to provide my Social Security Number on the Merchant Application?

The US Patriot Act (the “Act”) created new regulations for the finance industry regarding customer identification. As a result, when you complete a merchant application, the officer signing must also provide certain identifying information. First Data’s underwriting procedures require your social security number. The Act itself does not specifically require a social security number.

What it requires:

The Act requires that financial institutions develop a Customer Identification Program (CIP) that implements reasonable procedures to:

1) Collect identifying information about customers opening an account,
2) Verify that the customers are who they say they are,
3) Maintain records of the information used to verify their identity, and
4) Determine whether the customer appears on any list of suspected terrorists or terrorist organizations

Collecting information:

As part of a CIP, financial institutions will be required to develop procedures to collect relevant identifying information including a customer’s name, address, date of birth, and a taxpayer identification number. Foreign nationals without a U.S. taxpayer identification number could provide a similar government-issued identification number, such as a passport number.

Verifying identity:

A CIP is also required to include procedures to verify the identity of customers opening accounts. Most financial institutions will use traditional documentation such as a driver’s license or passport. However, the final rule recognizes that in some instances institutions cannot readily verify identity through more traditional means, and allows them the flexibility to utilize alternate methods to effectively verify the identity of customers.

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