When opening a merchant account, due to its complexity, a social security number is required. A great deal of money is in the process of being moved through various financial institutions; subsequently many risks for both the bank and the individual may arise.
Set forth in the Patriot Act of 2001 it is required of business owners to provide identification. Banks and companies like Visa and Mastercard have a legal obligation to verify an individual. All companies operating in the United States require a social security number to open a merchant account.
A social security number helps banks know their customers. It limits the amount of fraud or money laundering that takes place.
Banks also need your social to check you against the Terminated Merchant File, which is a list of people who have been revoke because fraud or high amounts of charge backs.
Presenting your social protects you from many risks and problems. It prohibits others from opening an account with your name and stops future tax problems.
Of course it is different for public corporations like Apple, whose $740 billion net worth and history may not require the board to submit Tim Cook’s social but rather the federal EIN. Although before Apple really had anything to show for, Steve Jobs was likely to have submitted his social.
It is just an important aspect in protecting banks and yourself, while also limiting fraud, embezzlement, and other problems.
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