A Former Bank Teller Reveals Answer To Your Number 1 Question

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As a current branch employee (and former teller) with Bank Independent, one of the most common questions I hear from our customers is, “Why do you always ask for my ID?”

It’s a fair question!

After all, many of us tellers and bankers have known our customers for a while and feel more like friends than employees/customers. Still, as a bank we're entrusted with a very important task: to always protect your funds and financial information to the best of our ability. To do this, sometimes we have to see an acceptable form of photo identification.

Here are four of the most common reasons why Bank Independent team members may ask for your ID:

  • We're following the laws set forth in the Patriot Act. September 11, 2001, is a day etched into all of our memories. Just hearing the date, I’m sure many of us instantly remember exactly where we were, what we were doing, and who we were with when we first heard of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. After the attacks, President George W. Bush signed into law the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, more commonly known as the USA PATRIOT Act. Under this act, banks and other business are required to verify the identity of customers in an attempt to prevent terrorist financing, identity theft, money laundering, and other means of financial fraud.
  • More specifically, we are following the Customer Identification Program (CIP). A requirement set forth in the Patriot Act, this program specifically states that banks must obtain, verify, and maintain current information on our customers, including name, date of birth, physical street address, and some form of a government-issued identification number (like a Social Security number). This is one of the reasons why we ask for ID on a continuous basis: to make sure that the information we have in our system is up-to-date.
  • We are trying to help prevent fraud and identity theft. As we get to know our customers and become more familiar with them, we are also becoming more familiar with their banking activity. Sometimes we spot transactions that may be out of the ordinary based on what we've learned about that customer's banking behavior. To try to protect our customers and their funds, we'll ask for ID to make sure that the person we're helping is actually who they say they are. Understandably, this may frustrate some customers who have been with Bank Independent for a considerable amount of time, but we're looking out for the best interest of our customer and always want to make sure their funds are safe and sound.
  • We are a growing family and welcome new tellers often. Many of Bank Independent’s employees start their careers as tellers and grow from there into other positions (like I did), which is really great for everyone involved! This does result in turnover in the branches, though, so we're welcoming and training new tellers pretty regularly. We train each of our new tellers to get to know their customers and to follow the guidelines explained above. This includes asking for ID and ensuring the identification of our customers. If you are in one of our branches and a new teller asks for your ID, please know they are simply trying to get to know you. A handshake and an introduction would be awesome!

You may have noticed other businesses asking for ID when you use a debit or credit card--they're doing it for the same reasons: to protect you. We understand it can sometimes be an inconvenience, but we just want to do everything in our power to make sure you, your information and your money are safe.

Above all else, we are so honored to serve you here at Bank Independent!


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Bank Independent does not endorse, nor is responsible for the content in the linked 3rd party websites. Bank Independent's privacy policies do not apply to these linked websites.