A secondary credit number can be used for identification in place of the social security number. The number is intended to be used to protect the privacy of citizens, though some have used these numbers to establish a new credit file.
In 1974, The U.S. Department of Justice passed a privacy act that states, "It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State or local government agency to deny to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of such individual’s refusal to disclose his social security account number." Due to this privacy act, organizations cannot deny credit to people who refuse to disclose their social security numbers. Consumers who do not wish to disclose their social security numbers can apply for a secondary credit number, also called a credit privacy number.