Prepaid card - How do you have to identify yourself?

When do you have to identify yourself?

You can identify yourself upon the purchase of the prepaid card (e.g. in a point of sale) or later (e.g. when you buy the prepaid card in a point of sale unable to identify you). You will then have to identify yourself later through the operator’s website.

Determine the identification method(s) proposed by your operator.

Each operator selling prepaid cards has to offer his clients one of the methods aimed at by the regulation and presented below.

Your operator will inform you of the identification method(s) he offers.

Identification in a point of sale

a.      Whether or not to identify oneself in a point of sale

Following identification in the point of sale (whether or not it is one of the operator’s) where you buy the prepaid card, you will either leave with an activated card or with a card that will soon be activated (depending on the time the operator needs to confirm the reliability of the data you have provided to the point of sale).

You can always choose not to identify yourself in a point of sale. In that case however the prepaid card will not be sold to you or will not be activated and you will have to provide for the identification yourself through an identification method from a distance (e.g. online) to activate the card.

b.      Which identity documents have to be presented in the point of sale?

You identify yourself at the point of sale by presenting a valid identification document. Documents regarded as valid identification documents include: 


You always have to present the original identity piece (not a copy) and that document has to be legible and legally valid. If this is not the case, the operator must refuse the document.

Bear in mind that the regulation determines that the point of sale is allowed to copy your identification documents but must not keep any identification data or documents, which are thus forwarded to the operator’s central computer system.

c.       Do I have to enter my PIN code?

Upon electronic reading of the Belgian identity card the point of sale may ask you to enter that identity card’s PIN code. If you are asked to do so but you do not want to do it, the point of sale may refuse to sell you the prepaid card or may sell you a non-activated prepaid card.

Online identification and electronic signature by means of the electronic identity card

You can identify yourself by connecting to an Internet application of the operator or by electronically signing a document of the operator. This method requires the use of the electronic identity card and the entry of a PIN code.

Provider of an identification service

Your operator can also identify you based on an account that already exists or that has to be created with a provider of an identification service for which your identity has already been verified. In other words: you identify yourself with a provider of an identification service, generally online, and the latter will provide your operator with your identification data. Before being able to provide his identification services, the provider of identification services has to have developed a similar application allowing access to a digital application by the government services and this similar application has to be approved by the Federal Public Service for Information and Communication Technology.

Online payment transaction

You can identify yourself by purchasing a prepaid card online or by recharging and paying with a debit or credit card, provided that the provider of payment services is subject to the Act of 11 January 1993 for the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorism financing. In that case the regulation requires for a new identification to take place within 18 months following the payment transaction relating to the prepaid card.

Product extension or migration

If you have already subscribed to a product with the operator, for which you have been identified (you have for example a subscription) and you wish to buy a prepaid card or to switch to a postpaid formula, your operator should in principle be able to recover your identification data assembled in the context of the postpaid formula.

Your operator however has to ensure, one way or the other, that the person identified in the context of the postpaid formula is indeed the same person requesting the activation of the prepaid card (for instance by asking you to present an identity piece).

The method for renewal or migration of a product will not work if the operator has only identified a legal person in the case of a postpaid formula (your non-profit organisation, your company, etc.) and this legal person wishes to purchase prepaid cards. In that case the operator will have to identify the natural person who will request the activation of the prepaid cards within the legal person.

Verification by the operator of the identification data communicated

Certain operators allow you to identify yourself by communicating your identification data (at least your name, first name, date and place of birth, as well as your residence) through the communication channels he has provided for (e.g. via an online form). Following verification of those data your operator will send you your SIM card and activate it.