Should You Sign The Back Of Your Credit Card?

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

Many savvy credit card users have adopted a new stance in recent years. In an effort to reduce the chance they will become a victim of credit card fraud, they refuse to sign their credit cards. Some will leave the signature line blank altogether, while others will write "see ID" on the signature line.

The theory here is that criminals with an eye toward your credit card will be less able to either use your card (without a signature and a matching ID) or won?t be able to falsify your signature if not given an example on the back of the card.

This can be a tough decision for many of us when we get a new credit card ? do we sign it or not?

Here?s the thinking on not signing your credit card. If you sign the card, it would be very easy for someone to get a hold of your credit card and use it for a variety of reasons. True, if they purchase things online or by phone, your signature is not necessary but if they purchase something in a store, they can easily forge your signature on the receipt with your sample as reference.

In addition, if you sign the credit card, there is always the minor possibility that criminals could use your signature (and any other information they are able to glean about you) to acquire more credit.

If you don?t sign your credit card, you can write ?see ID? on the back, which has become a popular option for some credit card users. In this case, then, the store clerk will ask to see your ID (likely a driver?s license) and they can compare your driver?s license signature with the signature you provide on the charge receipt.

You can also choose to leave the signature line blank, which might also prompt store clerks to ask for your ID.

So, what?s best? Among credit users, there doesn?t seem to be a solid consensus about how to handle the ?do you or don?t you?? question about credit cards. Many argue they would never sign a credit card, and will always ask the store clerk to ask for their ID. But here?s a consideration ? many store clerks don?t ask to see ID. Many don?t turn the card over. Sure, they are supposed to, but many don?t. Are you protected then?

The credit card companies advise consumers to always sign their credit card. In fact, they say that store clerks are not authorized to accept credit cards that are not signed and if they aren?t signed, they are supposed to require you, the consumer, to sign the card in their presence before they finish the transaction. They also have the authority to deny you the purchase if you provide an unsigned credit card.

But honestly, how often do store clerks check your signature? If clerks don?t check the back of your credit card as a rule, then you are not protected, whether you sign it or not.

Perhaps the best rule to follow, then, is the rule of careful. That is, sign your card just to be safe and to follow the credit card company?s recommendations, and then don?t lose your credit card or wallet. Certainly if you lose your wallet, you?ll be concerned about the effect that will have on you and your credit, and whether or not you signed your credit cards won?t be the major issue.

Creditors also say consider getting a card with your picture on it. These credit cards give you additional protection since it?s unlikely you and your credit card criminal will look alike.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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