Is store allowed to make and keep a copy of my credit card?

Dear Consumer Ed:

I went to a department store to purchase some merchandise. The total came to $318. I gave the cashier my credit card and was told that when a credit card purchase exceeds $250, the store needs to make a copy of the credit card and keep it on file for two weeks. I refused to allow them to copy my card and asked to speak to a manager about the reason for needing to copy my card. The manager simply told me that it was the store policy. To avoid having them keep a copy of my card, I split the purchase into two separate transactions. But I’m wondering, is it legal for a store to have such a policy?

Consumer Ed says:

There is not a Georgia or Federal law that specifically states that a business cannot copy your credit card information when you are purchasing merchandise over a certain amount with a credit card.  Generally, merchants are allowed to create their own store policies regarding terms of purchase and terms for returning merchandise, including what information you may be asked to give them in order to complete a transaction or make a return.

There are some limitations to the information that businesses can collect when you pay for merchandise by debit or credit card.  Under Georgia's Fair Business Practices Act, a business may not require you to give your telephone number when you make a purchase by credit card.  Furthermore, merchants cannot print your card’s expiration date or more than five digits of your credit account number on your receipt.

While merchants are free to request information, ultimately the decision to do business with a merchant is completely up to you as the customer.  If you do not feel secure sharing your personal information with a particular merchant, you can always choose to say no, as you did.

Businesses that are found to be in violation of credit card laws are subject to fines.  If you have a complaint involving a violation of Georgia’s merchant credit card laws then you should contact the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division at or by calling 404-651-8600.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.

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