Why did Bank One require my Driver's License to sell me a money order?

Before starting a nasty pit thread about this, I figured I would get a GQ answer. Today, I went to a Bank One branch and purchased a money order for $250. I do not have an account there, but I have purchased money orders there for various amounts as they are close to my work. I have NEVER been asked for ID for a small money order purchase such as this. I handed them cash for payment.

Ohio DL’s have the social security number printed on them. I asked the teller if they were entering my Social into their database. He said, “No, only the DL number.” I told him I object and that I strongly resent this policy. However, I needed that money order.

Is this a standard policy? Their can’t possibly be any “Homeland Security” issues will a purchase of a $250 money order.

I’m pretty sure banks are under certain restrictions due to the (FDIC) that requires them to be able to make an identification for EVERY transaction. No, acceptions.

Where as a place like 7-11 doesn’t have to abide by these guide lines.

What really surprises me is that a bank you don’t even belong to sold you a money order in the first place. I’ve tried this (with other banks) and they pretty much told me to get lost. (technically, they told me if I didn’t have an account there I couldn’t buy a money order.)

Funny…last time I tried to buy a money order at a bank, the teller told me that I could get one cheaper and with less hassle if I went to the liquor store next door. So I did. Saved myself $4.00 and didn’t have to show anything.

SHAKES has it, methinks. Bank policies can be Byzantine at times.

CTR= Currency Transaction Report.


I worked at a bank for a while (too long) and I know that the FDIC does not require ID to purchase a money order for that small of an amount. This leads me to draw one of two conclusions:

  1. This is yet another one of Bank One’s policies that is sure to drive every one of their customers away at some point in the near future, or,

  2. The bank teller had some reason to be suspicious about your transaction, and requested your information so as to report you to the proper authorities (no joke).

Of course, reason number one is the more likely candidate. But possible reasons for suspicion include large cash transactions, or purchasing multiple monetary instruments (possibly over the course of several days) individually under the CTR limit, but whose total exceed the CTR limit. Since you said yourself you do not have an account there, this is unlikely in your case.

Not much to add, but just sharing.
When I buy things on eBay, I use money orders, because I don’t have PayPal.
I always buy my money orders at the post office, and they’ve never, ever asked for ID. I’ve never bought one over $50 or so, but still. I’d be a bit put off if they asked for my DL, too.

It’s not like you’re getting a cashier’s check or certified check. It does seem a little odd.

I recently purchased a money order for $300 at a US post office, and was not asked for ID. US postal money orders cost 90 cents, and can be cashed at any US post office. I highly recommend this, if there’s a convenient post office near you.

When renewing your Ohio driver’s license, you may request that your SSN be left out. My Ohio license doesn’t have an SSN on it.