Should I Sign My Credit Card?
Key points about: signing a credit card
Technically speaking, your credit card is not valid to use until you sign it.
Signing the back of your credit card doesn’t make your card less secure.
Signing your credit card is one way to help prevent credit card fraud, along with keeping your card secure at all times and checking your monthly statements for any unauthorized transaction.
Should you sign your credit card after you recently received it in the mail? The answer is yes. Signing your card can help prevent your card being declined when you try to use the card at checkout in a store. There are other reasons to sign, too, including security.
Why you should sign your credit card
First, technically speaking, your credit card is not valid until you sign it. Some credit cards may come printed with the instruction that the card is “Not valid without an authorized signature.”
Second, merchants may decline a purchase when your card is not signed. Although many cashiers will accept your card without comparing its signature to yours, it’s always possible that they might choose to do so at any time.
What about writing “See ID”?
Some well-meaning cardholders have written “See ID” on the back of their cards. The idea behind this practice is to reduce the chance of fraud by requiring that cashiers cross-check the customer’s card against their driver’s license or another form of identification.
But unfortunately, this doesn’t satisfy the requirement to sign the back of your card.
And some merchant agreements may prohibit retailers from requiring cardholders to present identification as a condition of the sale.
Does my signature make the card less secure?
Some credit card users hold the mistaken belief that signing their card creates some sort of security risk.
However, your signature is far from a secret, as it exists on every document, check, and credit card receipt that you’ve signed. What makes your signature unique is your ability to effortlessly duplicate it upon command. In contrast, it takes much more time and effort to attempt to forge another person’s signature.
Merchants ask you to sign their receipts so that they can readily compare your signature against the one on the back of your card.
Other ways to ensure your credit card’s security
It’s important to consider the security of your credit card, and signing it is one of several ways that you can help to prevent fraud.
In addition, you should never loan your card out to others. If you need to extend your purchasing power to someone else, then you can request an additional authorized user on your account to be issued a card in their name. For example, Discover credit cards offer you the ability to add up to five authorized users to your account for no additional charge.
Also, you should keep your credit cards in a safe and secure place. Never leave your cards in your car, and make sure to store them in a secure place at home and at your workplace.
Finally, you should always check your monthly credit card statement for any unauthorized charge, especially for small amounts that can be a test charge for future fraudulent activity. Thankfully, some card issuers offer consumer protection services. For example, Discover offers $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee. You’re never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover Card account.1 So always let your credit card issuer know right away if you see something suspicious.
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