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Veteran's Identification Card - Valid for Banking?
Answer by Dana Turner and Andy Zavoina, BOL Gurus
Guru Bios

Question:   Would you consider the Veteran's Universal ID Card an acceptable form of ID for any financial institution to accept? I found this website with a copy of what the card looks like.

Answer by Dana Turner:   Before I make my recommendation, let me tell you what I found out when I called the Department of Veterans Affairs this morning . . .

  • The card in question is called the VIC (Veterans Identification Card).
  • Printed on the card is the admonition, "The VIC cannot be used as a credit or an insurance card and it does not authorize or pay for care at non-VA facilities."
  • The data stripe on the right hand face of the VIC contains personal, medical and financial data -- and the stripe may only be read by a VA reader.
  • The application for a VIC may be received in the mail or downloaded from the VA's website but the photo must be taken of the applicant at a VA facility.
  • The VIC is issued to persons actually and currently receiving care at a VA facility -- if the person stops receiving care his/her record (including the application data) is automatically deleted from the VA system.
  • There is no expiration date evident on the VIC.
  • The VIC is also used to allow the person to receive special discounts at retailers and restaurants -- and other special veterans'-only perks.
  • The VA acknowledges that a veteran's service papers may be stolen and used to apply for the VIC, resulting in an offender's face being printed on the card containing an identity theft victim's data.
  • The VA doesn't recommend that any business accept the VIC alone as a form of identification to allow a person to open accounts, cash checks or to perform other fiduciary tasks.
  • Local law enforcement officers are not able to obtain any information regarding the VIC holder by traditional means (subpoena or search warrant) because of the medical information involved -- and even federal agents may be stymied, depending upon the circumstances.

    I use particular definitions to describe what is -- and what shouldn't be -- considered valid, appropriate identification that is accepted by credit union personnel:

  • "Valid" means that the document contains information that was validated and verified by the issuing agency when the application was completed -- and that the document is within its expiration date; and
  • "Appropriate identification" is that personal observation or document comparison that is acceptable, logical and reasonable for the transaction.

    Based upon the information that I obtained from the VA and my own experience, I don't believe that the VIC -- offered without other appropriate, supporting documents -- should be considered as an acceptable form of identification. The VA's validation and verification process can be compromised; there's no visible expiration date; it's not designed to be used to conduct financial transactions; and it may be difficult or impossible for a law enforcement agency to retrieve applicant data if a crime occurs.

    Answer by Andy Zavoina: I would second the advice of Dana. This is especially the case because there is no expiration, control and issuance may be in question and the VA doesn't recommend you use this as a primary source of ID. It may serve as a secondary, much like a utility bill can.

    I spoke to two individuals who have one of these in their wallets. Each indicated that to obtain it, they presented their retired military ID cards. No other verification was required and data to complete the form to get it was pulled from the VA system, not asked of or verified by them.

    First published on BankersOnline.com 4/24/06







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