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Why did bank teller ask to see my ID?

I went to my local branch to exchange $4K in 20's for $4K in 100's and the teller asked to see my ID. I called the bank's customer service # a few days later and all they would tell me "it's at the branch's discretion." She kept repeating that same line when I asked for clarification. She then transferred me to the branch and they told me they don't exchange currency for non account holders, which seems really weird to me. Why would it matter? And, the teller didn't ask me if I was an account holder, she just asked for my ID. Seems fishy to me.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Some banks will not exchange money for you if you are not a customer so they ask for ID to verify if you are or are not a customer. Good example is, say someone brings in a counterfeit 20 and wants 2 10's back. If the teller doesn't realize that the 20 is fake and exchanges that money for a non-customer there is literally no way to find the person that just stole from the bank so then the teller is responsible for paying that money back. They ask for ID to protect themselves from a loss. 

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  • 2 months ago

    It matters because they like to know who they're dealing with, nor do they have to do business with non customers. Entitled much?

    • Darin2 months agoReport

      You're so right; they can refuse business to anyone; one reason is, it's theirs. This poor guy....hahaha

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  • 2 months ago

    Because $4k is a lot to have in cash and they want to know whom to send the police to arrest if they discover later that the money you exchanged was counterfeit or stolen.

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  • audrey
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    If you weren't doing anything illegal, why are you so upset about showing your ID?

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  • Don G
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    But why are you still arguing the point? What's wrong with asking for your ID?

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  • 2 months ago

    It would have taken less than 30 seconds for her to put your name into the computer to see if you're an account holder.

    They also probably made a record of the transaction as a legal precaution. if they get a notification from the police that some guy just cleaned out a local business and demanded all the $20 bills from all the cash registered, they'll let the police know that you just waltzed in with $4000 worth of $20 bills looking to exchange up. Doesn't necessarily mean you'd be charged with the crime but the police would have some questions for you.

    If you didn't steal the money then why does it matter?

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    • A Hunch
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      if you want "privacy" don't go to one of the most regulated industries in the country to do this transaction.  When you are at the grocery store ask them if they can flip one for you - or come to my house, I'd much rather have $20s than $100s and so I don't have to deal with the acceptance issue. 

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  • DEBS
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Fishy? What possible motive could the bank have for asking for your id that is fishy?

    A bank is not a charity. They do not provide services to random people who aren't paying customers. Why would they? Bathrooms are for customers only all the time. It's a service. You using the teller's time is no different.

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    • DEBS
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      @JimmyP: Exchanging money is an obvious service. So they verified who you were (possibly looked your name up to see you had an account), and then they proceeded spending their time (time = money/service) helping you.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    The bank is under no obligation to perform any transaction for you without knowing who you are.

    Exchanging 4k in cash for 4k in cash would be an unusual transaction.  There's some pretty good counterfeit out there.  

    The teller probably thought that if you were willing to present a valid ID that you are less likely to be up to something illegal.

    ETA:  "Are you saying they record who they got the 20's from?"   I do not know what the bank did or didn't do with your ID.   However, if I were the teller, that would be my thought process.   I wouldn't want to be the employee who gave away 4k to an anonymous person or who can't tell the police who just brought in a big *** pile of 20s and traded them for other cash.

    • Jimmy P2 months agoReport

      Are you saying they record who they got the 20's from? That would make sense. I just wish they could have told me that (the truth) if that's the case. 

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  • A.J.
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Banks are required to report any large cash transaction. If you don't like it, use the $20's. It's part of the anti-terrorism. There is no requirement for a bank to change money. The bank's answer to you is as good as any. Whether about terrorism or counterfeit or IRS, it's part of large cash transactions.

    Per comment, although banks are only required to report individual transactions of  $10,000 or more in cash, they also are responsible about patterns exceeding $10000 in short periods of time. It is also part of a cooperative effort IF you get under investigation of the IRS, they need to have a record of responsible tracking. And it could be if any counterfeit bills are found, they need to track sources.

    States with sales tax (almost all) and income tax, almost all, and the Federal government give extra attention to cash businesses. Banks can deny non-customers.  They do not report THAT transaction, but if you do it three or four times in a month, they are supposed to.

    And per DEBS comment, correct. The single transaction is NOT reported. It is only a pattern that they are supposed to also report.

  • 2 months ago

    The problem was that you seemed fishy to them.

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    • Jamie2 months agoReport

      Ok, I would love to say that not every bank teller is going to be able to remember every single customer they help. You have to realize that there will be people that do not know you and for them to help keep your account secure they need to verify that you are who you say you are. 

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