Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty

Civil liberties concerns about bank fingerprinting

October 17, 2008 by  

Some people object to bank fingerprintingEach year, millions of foreign visitors to the U.S. are fingerprinted at the airport – but did you know that some banks may also require prints from American citizens?

Bank of America customer Pauline Pavlis told the Press of Atlantic City about her experience trying to cash a check at one of the bank’s branches.

Because she is not a customer, she was asked to give a thumbprint to prove her identity, a practice which Pavlis questioned.

"I feel like it’s infringing on my personal liberties. You hear all the time about misuse of personal information," she told the news provider.

Fingerprinting is a common requirement for noncustomers at larger banks, the article states. Five years ago, one of these people sued Bank of America because it would not cash his check without a print and a Maryland court of appeals sided with the bank.

Timothy Doherty of the New Jersey Bankers Association, said that banks have a right to give preferential treatment to customers and prevent identity fraud.

He added that "the issue of protecting identities outweighs the issue of people concerned about giving thumbprints."

The government began fingerprinting foreign visitors to the U.S. in 2004.

Personal Liberty News Desk

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “Civil liberties concerns about bank fingerprinting”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at

  • Bob Livingston

    Of course, this is nothing new.  Banks in my area have been fingerprinting for years when you try to cash a check.  This is just another example of the government collecting a dossier on every American.  A fingerprint here… a little information on your banking habits there… medical records, credit reports, credit card usage, etc., etc.  It all adds up to a complete profile on every American.  Everything is known. 

    You have to work extremely hard to maintain any shred of privacy in the world today.  Readers of The Bob Livingston Letter know this well and get regular updates on how to maintain as much privacy as you can, legally. –Bob

  • Mr Cash

    I had an interesting experience with a fingerprinting attempt by a bank.
     I sold some equipment to an equipment dealer and he paid with a check drawn on a local account. I went to the bank and they demanded a fingerprint and I declined stating” I am not going to be fingerprinted like a criminal”. They then refused to cash the check. I instructed them to call their customer and tell the customer they would not cash the check and I am coming back there, the deal is off.
     They called the customer, he told them to cash the check and that was the end of it.
     Since then I have refused to accept checks in any deal.

  • http://civilliberties Jo Arthur

    I carry a home  made “fingerprint” card,  I sell my fingerprints $50,000 each. If you want a fingerprint it’s cash up front.  (My fgpts are MY property and they are not a GIFT to anyone.) Be brave and free ,dont’ let the banks and  check cashing places get your fingerprint for nothing. So simple.

    • SSG Prasuhn

      I like your idea. Now, is that $50,000 per print or per ‘set of ten’ (full set of prints)??

      Wouldn’t to much good to ‘sell’ them to a bank these days….they’re strapped and have to borrow from the government.

      Still, it’s a ‘nice’ idea!!

    • Nina

      Love it… $50,000 each yes! lol :D

  • Frank Vozenilek, US Army (Ret.)

    Whether you realize it or not, most states already have your private property fingerprints on file anyway.  Almost every state in the union has gone at least a thumb or forefinger print, if not a complete, “ten set,” when you obtain your driver’s license or state identification card.

    If any of you have ever been in the military, your complete fingerprints AND both hand prints are on file through the Department of Defense, who by the way, provided a copy to be maintained in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s data base . . . just for your safe keeping.

    Ever been picked up for DUI ?  Shoplifting ?  Obtained a gun permit ?  Folks there are so many ways the government, through your state and other local official channels have obtained your information, it isn’t funny.


  • ec

    First of all, the fingerprint is not used for identification. It is  kept on file in case the check turns out to be fraudulent. That is the very definition of a warrantless and a priori restraint on my rights to privacy and due process in the absence of probable cause of wrong-doing.

    If your fingerprint is already all over the check when you hand it to the teller why does BOA require you to put your fingerprint on it before they cash it? Because it then becomes “voluntary”

    It has to be voluntary so that a few years from now when all of our fingerprints are loaded into a database and we no longer have any financial privacy at all, we can’t complain about it because we volunteered.

  • Kristi Gilleland

    Banks are NOT the govt.

    I will give my fingerprint to my govt. but I should NOT have to give my darn fingerprint to any bank in order for THEM to complete their contract of payment.

    Especially as I’ve already shown 2 forms of ID, been videotaped for several minutes, and the CHECK has been verified already on the phone.

    • http://SSCardsareAnotherAbuse Linda Kilbride

      The older Social Security cards had printed on the back that they were not to be used for identification purposes. The newer ones don’t carry that admonition. Now everyone you deal with asks for your Social Security Number. One more instance of government getting further into our lives.

  • Ron

    Went to Citizens bank to cash my paycheck. Same deal here was threatened with fingerprint before cashing. Check clearly states to pay to me and I had proper ID’s. Congress is the only one’s that are legally entitled to making a law like that, NOT A BANK! Policy is not law, therefore, I told the bank manager if he didn’t cash my check, I will call the police and have him arrested. Once more folks, bank policy is NOT LAW! They cashed my check and threatened next time I would be required.
    Next, I told my employer I refuse to accept future paychecks issued to me because of my rights being violated and they will have to pay me in cash. Since the employer was a big auto dealership and had millions in the bank, one phone call later and the problem went away!
    Don’t give away your rights to anyone. All checks are fingerprint sensitive and the Feds can easily lift prints if needed. The hidden agenda here is to give them a digital picture of your prints along with a face picture to easily share among others without your permission.

    • d f

      To Ron, your picture and print are not shared without your permission. All banks have security cameras, if you are cioncerned with being on film, don’t go intop a bank. If you are not cashing a counterfirt chcek, non of your info is “shared”.

  • George Orwell

    Citizens Bank not only requires finger printing for non-customers but in RI charges $5.00 in addition to cash a Citizen Bank check. They don’t required new customers to get fingerprinted so isn’t that discrimination? If you go into a Citizens bank and try to cask a Citizens Bank check for $5.00 and you are not a Citizens Bank account holder you are not only fingerprinted (like a criminal and treated with disrespect) but are robbed of your $5.00. I have convinced the person who gave me the Citizens check I cashed to close their account with Citizens. I suggest all of you to do the same. It is time to stop banks from stealing from people!!
    My present Bank does not do this and if they change to that policy I will close my accounts with them.

    • libertytrain

      George – there are many banks in different states that seem to have that name – which Citizens Bank are you referring to – what state —-

    • Donna Barrows

      I just found out about Citizen’s Bank getting fingerprints for cashing a check if you do not have an account with them. This is an infringement on our rights. Why is this being aloud. My daughter gets a gift check from her aunt and has to be fingerprinted in order to cash it!The manager was a total jerk. So I have told the person who wrote the check and they will be closing their account with Citizen’s
      as well as my mom who has a decent size account with them Although they have never asked to fingerprint me when I have cashed a check she has given me. Which suggests preferential treatment for wealthier customers.I don’t understand how this is legal.

  • bethluv

    If you want to cash a check you have to give a fingerprint. If you want to work, you have to give over your urine for inspection. Americans work more hours per year now than the average medieval peasant, and we now incarcerate more of our population than any other country in the world, and we continue to imagine we are free.

  • d f

    If you do not want to give out info then go to your OWN bank and deposit into your account.

    So many IDIOTS on here!

    • jrun

      If a check requires fingerprints, iris scans, saliva, tissue samples etc. and a fee to cash, it should say so clearly on the check.

      Who’s the “IDIOTS”??? Us, because we allow the states of government and Corporation so much power over us IDIOTS!

  • Dee

    Wells Fargo Bank also requires your fingerprint, if you do not have an account. My husband has the same account for a total of 50 yrs (merger)and I closed a pension account (merger)with Wells Fargo. I also have county, state, civic and drivers license identification, yet they still wanted my fingerprint, I refused, transaction was cancelled. As a former employee of a merger, I know they have my fingerprint and other personal information. This was not a check transaction. All they need is absolute proof of my identity.

  • jamamma

    Just give them fake prints, and, since they do not incquire as to the authenticity of your print, you are in the clear. Here is how you can make fake prints (for the template, just grab any-old-one off the internet)or just google it, dugh


Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.