SAN FRANCISCO — California retailers may no longer ask credit card customers for their ZIP codes, except in limited cases, according to a ruling last week by the California Supreme Court.
The court said ZIP codes are "personal identification information" about which merchants cannot ask under California's consumer privacy laws. An attorney for the plaintiff in the case said the decision would help protect consumers from credit card fraud and identity theft.
The ruling said retailers can asked consumers for a driver's license for identification purposes but may not record the personal information on it. However, the ruling does allow ZIP codes to be collected under certain circumstances, such as at a gas station pump where the information is requested for security reasons; in transactions involving shipping; and when a credit card is used for a deposit or a cash advance.