What’s in Your Wallet?

My Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO) has initiated legislation to make if legal (whatever that means) for financial institutions to swipe and read the strip on the back of your dirver’s licence if you want services from the financial institution.  That prompted me to wonder what information is on the strip?


Scott –

As a result of your actions initiating H.R. 1457:

To establish requirements for use of a driver’s license or personal identification card by certain financial institutions for opening an account or obtaining a financial product or service, and for other purposes. 

I decided perhaps I need to know more about what is on my Colorado driver’s license magnetic strip. Evidently the State of Colorado doesn’t recognize the fact that I may be interested in what information the State knows about me that the State may include in that magnetic information.  My search through Colorado’s state web information indicates to me that Colorado does not publish that information – or if they do, it is not easily accessible.  My searching did result in finding out what several other states put on their license magnetic strips and I found at least one firm that provides software for reading the information contained within those strips – Vor Software.  As Vor Software describes in their website:

The magnetic stripe on your drivers [sic] license or ID card contains the same information that is printed on the front of the license.  Most states follow the standards promulgated by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

However, according to Vor Software, Colorado does not follow the AAMVA standards.  I realize that may just imply Colorado’s formatting of the information may be different from the standards but it could mean Colorado is not limiting the information contained to the AAMVA standards.  In either case, I think that the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that issues Colorado Driver’s Licenses should make it easy for someone to find out exactly what personal information is contained on Colorado’s magnetic strip.

I am going to send a copy of this letter to the Colorado DMV asking them to make the information contained on the Colorado Driver’s License magnetic strip quickly and easily available to the public.  Because your bill is national, you may want to support similar efforts in other states.

We’re watching.

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado




1 comment

    • Tom on February 3, 2018 at 6:22 AM
    • Reply

    Wow! The State of Colorado was quick to add the Drivers License magnetic strip info to their Q&A section after receiving my letter. Maybe that’s the first time any of my 400 plus letters actually accomplished something. Thanks to the Colorado DMV.

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