FinCEN Seeks Input on Banks’ Collecting Partial Social Security Numbers for Customer Identification Programs

On March 28, 2024, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in consultation with the U.S. banking agencies and the National Credit Union Administration, issued a request for information (RFI) regarding the customer identification program (CIP) requirement for depository institutions (referred to herein as banks) to collect tax identification numbers (TINs).Comments are due by May 28, 2024.

The RFI results from public interest expressed by banks, trade associations, and members of Congress about the Social Security number (SSN) collection requirement. FinCEN also recognizes that since it adopted the CIP requirement in 2003, there has been significant innovation in the way customers interact with financial institutions and receive financial services as well as significant innovation in the customer identification collection and verification tools available to financial institutions. Providing greater flexibility to banks in collecting SSNs would put non-credit-card products, including credit products offered through fintech partnerships, on a level playing field with traditional credit cards in terms of CIP requirements.

FinCEN is seeking information on the potential risks and benefits of permitting banks to collect a partial SSN (e.g., last four digits) from an individual for CIP purposes and using a reputable third-party source to obtain the full SSN prior to account opening. FinCEN also is interested in views regarding appropriate safeguards against identity theft. Under the current CIP requirement, a bank must collect the full SSN from an individual prior to opening an account, except with respect to credit card accounts, in which case a bank may obtain a SSN from a third-party source prior to extending credit to such individual.

FinCEN is also interested in comments from the public on whether permitting collection of partial SSNs by a bank prior to account opening may promote, with appropriate safeguards, increased accessibility to financial services for a broader population.

The RFI solicits responses to a series of specific questions and requests comments on suggested uses of FinCEN authorities, or changes to FinCEN regulations or guidance.

189 Fed. Reg. 22,231 (Mar. 29, 2024).

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