Banks can require U.S. citizens to provide social security numbers on credit card applications, despite accepting alternative forms of identification from foreign nationals

In Howe v. Bank of America N.A., plaintiffs, on behalf of a putative class of “individuals of U.S. national origin and/or ancestry, as well as naturalized individuals,” sued Bank of America and other companies. They alleged that Bank of America and other defendants had discriminated against the class in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51 et seq.) by requiring that United States citizens provide a Social Security number to open a particular type of credit card account, while allowing foreign nationals to open such accounts with only alternative forms of identification.  Slip op. at 2.  The trial court sustained the defendants' demurrer.  The Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate District, Division Three), affirmed, finding that Bank of America's actions were facially reasonable in that they complied with federal minimum identification regulations.