I went to my bank the other day to deposit a check. (Have I mentioned that I hate physical checks?).  I don't know my account number because, well, it's not really the type of thing you need to know these days. Besides, it's just a detail and they can look that up.... :)

Recently, they've started asked for picture identification when you don't give them your account number.  I thought this was a fairly curious practice - after all, I was depositing a check made out to Timothy Marman in an account of the same name, and I've given you my banking card.

So as I was handing over my license, I asked her exactly why. “It's a security measure, sir, since you didn't know your account number.”

I confirmed this by depositing another check earlier today but making sure I had my account number. Sure enough, no identification necessary.

I might have bought it if she told me it was standard practice whenever dealing with checks. Or if I were trying to cash the check. Or if I were trying to withdraw money from the account. Or if I asked for a copy of the account number.

But, really, I was just trying to put Tim Marman's money in Tim Marman's account.

(Really, ask yourself - does it really even matter whether I was Tim Marman in this case?)

Obviously this is at most a minor inconvenience to customers and costs the bank a few seconds of teller time. Not a big deal. It's the reasoning behind the measure that really bugs me. It seem that, at best, this is being done to make people say “oh, look, they asked for id - my bank must be serious about security.”  In reality, this so-called security measure doesn't (appear to) address any real security risk.

(If I'm wrong, and there is a valid reason on why they do this, please share).

In other words, would we be at any more risk should the bank not ask me for identification in this situation?

As I walked away, I joked with her that - for future reference - if anyone else wanted to deposit money in my account, she should let them and not ask for identification....


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