Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

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quantAndHold
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:05 pm

kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm

2. If a thief stole both your signed card and checkbook, she could copy the signature and write a check to drain your account.
What is his checkbook thing you speak of, and where would a thief get one from?

Oh, wait...I think I have one in the bottom of a drawer somewhere.

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:14 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:01 pm
kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:59 pm
Doom&Gloom wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:49 pm
So it wasn't actually a question but a statement of your belief?
kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm
... I now believe that ...
Ah! Thanks.
Thanks for sharing your comment earlier in the thread.

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:14 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:05 pm
kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm

2. If a thief stole both your signed card and checkbook, she could copy the signature and write a check to drain your account.
What is his checkbook thing you speak of, and where would a thief get one from?

Oh, wait...I think I have one in the bottom of a drawer somewhere.
Haha, good one :)

neilpilot
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by neilpilot » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:41 am

kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm
I posed the original question based on two premises:

1. A signature on the back doesn't offer any real protection:
- No one checks if it's there, nor compares it against a receipt.
- Increasingly the card never even leaves the user's hand (owner or thief)

BUT

2. If a thief stole both your signed card and checkbook, she could copy the signature and write a check to drain your account.

So based on this, I conclude that it's better (even if slightly) to leave a card unsigned. To put another way, not signing won't hurt you (nor would signing protect you in any special way), while it can prevent someone from copying your signature.

Since a signature can compromise your check, I now believe that it should not be left visible/vulnerable on the back of a card. Especially these days when people have multiple cards. It should be reserved for government/official documents, and not everyday receipts.
I fail to see how a card marked "Photo ID" isn't safer than a card with the signature line blank. I'd prefer that a lost or stolen card not be easily signed by the finder/thief.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:29 pm

It's not like banks are checking signatures when checks are submitted.
This week's fortune cookie: "You will do well to expand your horizons." Ow. Passive-aggressive and vaguely ominous.

quantAndHold
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:58 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:29 pm
It's not like banks are checking signatures when checks are submitted.
Surprisingly enough, they at least spot check signatures. In 2014, I took over Dad’s finances and started writing checks on his checking account. It was a joint account, so I didn’t think there was a problem. I got a call from the bank soon after, saying that they would pay the checks I had already written, but I didn’t actually have checkwriting privileges, and here’s the form dad needs to sign before you sign any more checks.

azurekep
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by azurekep » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:21 pm

We used to pay maintenance and repair people by check because they don't take credit cards. Now we prefer to pay cash. It wasn't always that way. But the Equifax breach brought up the consequences of having account and routing numbers in the hands of digitally smart criminals, so we're happy to pay cash.

I know there have been threads where people have said they would never pay anyone in cash, thinking that it would be used for tax fraud, but I think the tables are turning.

The only problem is when a repair job takes place over more than one day. What do you give the guy for a down payment? If you pay cash and he doesn't return, you're out that amount of money. If you pay by check the first day (with cash used as the balance the second day), you've already given out the account and routing numbers.

Life is complicated. :D

Doom&Gloom
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:05 pm

azurekep wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:21 pm
We used to pay maintenance and repair people by check because they don't take credit cards. Now we prefer to pay cash. It wasn't always that way. But the Equifax breach brought up the consequences of having account and routing numbers in the hands of digitally smart criminals, so we're happy to pay cash.

I know there have been threads where people have said they would never pay anyone in cash, thinking that it would be used for tax fraud, but I think the tables are turning.

The only problem is when a repair job takes place over more than one day. What do you give the guy for a down payment? If you pay cash and he doesn't return, you're out that amount of money. If you pay by check the first day (with cash used as the balance the second day), you've already given out the account and routing numbers.

Life is complicated. :D
I can't recall the last time I gave a repair or service person a down payment--if I ever did. If a guy doesn't have enough capital to begin a job, I'm probably going to find someone else. I suppose that could vary according to location though.

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:25 pm

azurekep wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:21 pm
I know there have been threads where people have said they would never pay anyone in cash, thinking that it would be used for tax fraud, but I think the tables are turning.
Can you provide the summary version of why they would never pay cash? I can't imagine how it could be used for tax fraud :?:

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:47 pm

kayanco wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:25 pm
azurekep wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:21 pm
I know there have been threads where people have said they would never pay anyone in cash, thinking that it would be used for tax fraud, but I think the tables are turning.
Can you provide the summary version of why they would never pay cash? I can't imagine how it could be used for tax fraud :?:
The tax fraud is easy. Don't report the cash as income.
This week's fortune cookie: "You will do well to expand your horizons." Ow. Passive-aggressive and vaguely ominous.

azurekep
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by azurekep » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:55 pm

kayanco wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:25 pm
azurekep wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:21 pm
I know there have been threads where people have said they would never pay anyone in cash, thinking that it would be used for tax fraud, but I think the tables are turning.
Can you provide the summary version of why they would never pay cash? I can't imagine how it could be used for tax fraud :?:
By paying cash, you're essentially paying somebody under the table. The recipient may not include that income on their tax form as there is no paper trail.

azurekep
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by azurekep » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:01 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:05 pm
azurekep wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:21 pm
We used to pay maintenance and repair people by check because they don't take credit cards. Now we prefer to pay cash. It wasn't always that way. But the Equifax breach brought up the consequences of having account and routing numbers in the hands of digitally smart criminals, so we're happy to pay cash.

I know there have been threads where people have said they would never pay anyone in cash, thinking that it would be used for tax fraud, but I think the tables are turning.

The only problem is when a repair job takes place over more than one day. What do you give the guy for a down payment? If you pay cash and he doesn't return, you're out that amount of money. If you pay by check the first day (with cash used as the balance the second day), you've already given out the account and routing numbers.

Life is complicated. :D
I can't recall the last time I gave a repair or service person a down payment--if I ever did. If a guy doesn't have enough capital to begin a job, I'm probably going to find someone else. I suppose that could vary according to location though.
This happens occasionally when you have a job that requires purchasing a lot of materials. The guy in question had to buy specialized materials that he didn't have on hand and presumably didn't want to buy them unless we paid some upfront money. This was the first time we were doing business with each other, so there was caution on both sides. I liked the guy, promised to spread his business cards around and will use him on the next job. It will be interesting to see if he'll still require upfront money on a subsequent job. If he does, I won't mind since he does good work and has proven trustworthy.

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:15 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:41 am
kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm
I posed the original question based on two premises:

1. A signature on the back doesn't offer any real protection:
- No one checks if it's there, nor compares it against a receipt.
- Increasingly the card never even leaves the user's hand (owner or thief)

BUT

2. If a thief stole both your signed card and checkbook, she could copy the signature and write a check to drain your account.

So based on this, I conclude that it's better (even if slightly) to leave a card unsigned. To put another way, not signing won't hurt you (nor would signing protect you in any special way), while it can prevent someone from copying your signature.

Since a signature can compromise your check, I now believe that it should not be left visible/vulnerable on the back of a card. Especially these days when people have multiple cards. It should be reserved for government/official documents, and not everyday receipts.
I fail to see how a card marked "Photo ID" isn't safer than a card with the signature line blank. I'd prefer that a lost or stolen card not be easily signed by the finder/thief.
I think it would provide equal safety, because it would still be an unsigned card. I get the reasoning that a finder could sign an unsigned card. But what's not clear is that what additional benefit would it give them.

Let's say the finder finds three cards: one signed, one unsigned, one marked "See Photo ID". Now, what store/retailer would prevent him from using one of the cards? If he goes to any major store to buy something, the card wouldn't even leave his hands.

So we need to find a merchants who does the following:
"Sir, before you use your card, let me have a quick look at the back"
or
"Sir, now that you've signed the receipt, may I see your card please."

farnsy
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by farnsy » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:15 pm

I haven't seen anyone here point out the biggest issue with the question: The signature on the back of cards is not there to verify what your signature looks like. It's the signature affirming to the credit card issuer that you accept the terms of the credit card. Store owners very, very rarely will look at it to compare with your receipt but they are not supposed to at all. In fact, credit card guidelines issued by Visa and Mastercard do not allow folks at the register to reject your credit card transaction because your signature does not match (though they can reject it if you do not sign it at all). If they reject because your signature is wrong, they are technically breaking the rules.

I scribble the same crap on my credit card that I put on the machines. I don't have a consistent signature. No point. No one uses signatures to verify identity these days. Your signature is not confidential information. It's just a way to complete a legal contract. Legally, you can put an X and it will work.

You are not supposed to put "see id" on your card. "See ID" is not a signature, so if you write that and do not sign, you have not accepted the terms of the credit card, and you are not technically authorized to use it.

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:17 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:47 pm
kayanco wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:25 pm
azurekep wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:21 pm
I know there have been threads where people have said they would never pay anyone in cash, thinking that it would be used for tax fraud, but I think the tables are turning.
Can you provide the summary version of why they would never pay cash? I can't imagine how it could be used for tax fraud :?:
The tax fraud is easy. Don't report the cash as income.
Got it. I see the point.

Halicar
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by Halicar » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:18 pm

azurekep wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:55 pm
kayanco wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:25 pm
azurekep wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:21 pm
I know there have been threads where people have said they would never pay anyone in cash, thinking that it would be used for tax fraud, but I think the tables are turning.
Can you provide the summary version of why they would never pay cash? I can't imagine how it could be used for tax fraud :?:
By paying cash, you're essentially paying somebody under the table. The recipient may not include that income on their tax form as there is no paper trail.
Does writing a check really change things, though? Years ago I knew a guy who evaded taxes by taking the check to the issuing bank and cashing it instead of depositing it at his own bank. Not sure if banks still let you do that

munemaker
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by munemaker » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:29 pm

I don't think it really matters either way. The USPS seems to be the only place that actually pays attention.

So if the card is signed, someone can use it without being questioned. Yes, some clerk could try to see if the signature on the card reading device matches the signature on the card? Yes, right! Even if they paid attention, this would be difficult. And the person who found or stole your card with your signature on it could practice your signature before using the card. Also, seems like the signatures on the card tend to wear off over time, so a person who find or steals your card could probably remove your signature or just get a dark flair and just sign right over top of your signature.

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:36 pm

farnsy wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:15 pm
I haven't seen anyone here point out the biggest issue with the question: The signature on the back of cards is not there to verify what your signature looks like. It's the signature affirming to the credit card issuer that you accept the terms of the credit card. Store owners very, very rarely will look at it to compare with your receipt but they are not supposed to at all. In fact, credit card guidelines issued by Visa and Mastercard do not allow folks at the register to reject your credit card transaction because your signature does not match (though they can reject it if you do not sign it at all). If they reject because your signature is wrong, they are technically breaking the rules.

I scribble the same crap on my credit card that I put on the machines. I don't have a consistent signature. No point. No one uses signatures to verify identity these days. Your signature is not confidential information. It's just a way to complete a legal contract. Legally, you can put an X and it will work.

You are not supposed to put "see id" on your card. "See ID" is not a signature, so if you write that and do not sign, you have not accepted the terms of the credit card, and you are not technically authorized to use it.
My understanding is mostly the same as what you've stated. I think of it as when you get the long receipt for Macy's, signing it means you acknowledge what's listed there, the price, return policy, etc. It's not for Macy's to do compare signatures.

So I agree with everything, except one thing:

I don't doubt that there's some relic clause that the card isn't "authorized" unless signed. So "if" the merchants refuses to accept it and you call Mastercard, they could say, "Well ... article X, section Y says ...". BUT, I don't think not signing means you've not accepted the terms and conditions of the card. You have already done so when you applied for the card. They won't even issue your credit line, unless you agree to all terms, and not leave that up to the discretion of the customer.

One test of this could be a thought experiment:
I buy something with an unsigned card, and then tell the bank that I don't think I need to pay them back. They say, "well according to your card agreement ..", and I interject, "but you see I didn't sign my card, so those terms don't apply to me."

I don't think that would work :)

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bertilak
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Re: Isn't it safer to not sign Credit card?

Post by bertilak » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:39 pm

kayanco wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:41 pm
However if you are from the US ... then here no one ever verified my own signature from the card and the receipt - not ONCE.
Have you ever used a credit card at the US Post Office? They have a policy that you MUST have a signed card. I have only one signed card, one I used it at the Post Office. I was made to sign it right there.
Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once. (There! I've said it.)

MnD
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by MnD » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:04 pm

An unsigned card is invalid per VISA-retailer terms of agreement and should not be accepted. Likewise with "See ID" cards.
On two occasions i was in line behind "See ID" people that caused delays because the retailer followed the terms of their agreement below.
Very annoying. Pay cash if you can't follow credit card terms instructions.

https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/global/su ... chants.pdf
Unsigned Cards
An unsigned card is considered invalid and should not be accepted. If a customer gives you an unsigned card, the
following steps must be taken:
• Check the cardholder’s ID. Ask the cardholder for some form of official government identification,
such as a driver’s license or passport. Where permissible by law, the ID serial number and expiration
date should be written on the sales receipt before you complete the transaction.
• Ask the customer to sign the card. The card should be signed within your full view, and the signature
checked against the customer’s signature on the ID. A refusal to sign means the card is still invalid and
cannot be accepted.
• Ask the customer for a different signed Visa card.
The words “Not Valid Without Signature” appear above, below, or beside the signature panel on all Visa cards.

“See ID”
Some customers write “See ID” or “Ask for ID” in the signature panel, thinking that this is a deterrent
against fraud or forgery; that is, if their signature is not on the card, a fraudster will not be able to forge it.
In reality, criminals often don’t take the time to practice signatures. They use cards as quickly as possible
after a theft and prior to the accounts being blocked. They are actually counting on you not to look at the
back of the card and compare signatures; they may even have access to counterfeit identification with a
signature in their own handwriting.
In this situation, follow recommended steps listed above under Unsigned Cards

neilpilot
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Re: Isn't it safer to not sign Credit card?

Post by neilpilot » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:02 pm

bertilak wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:39 pm
kayanco wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:41 pm
However if you are from the US ... then here no one ever verified my own signature from the card and the receipt - not ONCE.
Have you ever used a credit card at the US Post Office? They have a policy that you MUST have a signed card. I have only one signed card, one I used it at the Post Office. I was made to sign it right there.
Well, I guess my post office considers "Photo ID" as a signature, since I've used it several times without question. Just show my DL.

munemaker
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by munemaker » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:10 pm

MnD wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:04 pm
An unsigned card is invalid per VISA-retailer terms of agreement and should not be accepted.
OK - so if this is so important, how is this signature verified for online purchases? Answer: It isn't. So if the signature is not verified for online purchases, why would it have to be verified for in-person purchases? Face reality. In most cases, it doesn't make a bit of difference if you sign it or not.

munemaker
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Re: Isn't it safer to not sign Credit card?

Post by munemaker » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:13 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:02 pm
bertilak wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:39 pm
kayanco wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:41 pm
However if you are from the US ... then here no one ever verified my own signature from the card and the receipt - not ONCE.
Have you ever used a credit card at the US Post Office? They have a policy that you MUST have a signed card. I have only one signed card, one I used it at the Post Office. I was made to sign it right there.
Well, I guess my post office considers "Photo ID" as a signature, since I've used it several times without question. Just show my DL.
Our post office pulled their crap on me. I did not sign the card. I told the counter guy: "No wonder the post office is in trouble. I will buy my stamps at Wal*Mart."

lazydavid
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:06 am

munemaker wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:10 pm
OK - so if this is so important, how is this signature verified for online purchases? Answer: It isn't. So if the signature is not verified for online purchases, why would it have to be verified for in-person purchases? Face reality. In most cases, it doesn't make a bit of difference if you sign it or not.
Online purchases are "card not present" transactions, and the vendor has to pay a higher merchant fee due to the increased likelihood of fraud. Physical retailers pay a lower rate because their transactions are "card present". That comes with additional requirements, including a signature.
munemaker wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:13 pm
Our post office pulled their crap on me. I did not sign the card. I told the counter guy: "No wonder the post office is in trouble. I will buy my stamps at Wal*Mart."
It must have been very satisfying to lash out at a line worker for following the rules set by the issuer of the card you chose to use. :oops:

munemaker
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by munemaker » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:33 am

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:06 am
munemaker wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:10 pm
OK - so if this is so important, how is this signature verified for online purchases? Answer: It isn't. So if the signature is not verified for online purchases, why would it have to be verified for in-person purchases? Face reality. In most cases, it doesn't make a bit of difference if you sign it or not.
Online purchases are "card not present" transactions, and the vendor has to pay a higher merchant fee due to the increased likelihood of fraud. Physical retailers pay a lower rate because their transactions are "card present". That comes with additional requirements, including a signature.
munemaker wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:13 pm
Our post office pulled their crap on me. I did not sign the card. I told the counter guy: "No wonder the post office is in trouble. I will buy my stamps at Wal*Mart."
It must have been very satisfying to lash out at a line worker for following the rules set by the issuer of the card you chose to use. :oops:
Things will never change if you don't push back.

Rupert
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by Rupert » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:46 am

kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm
I posed the original question based on two premises:

1. A signature on the back doesn't offer any real protection:
- No one checks if it's there, nor compares it against a receipt.
- Increasingly the card never even leaves the user's hand (owner or thief)

BUT

2. If a thief stole both your signed card and checkbook, she could copy the signature and write a check to drain your account.

So based on this, I conclude that it's better (even if slightly) to leave a card unsigned. To put another way, not signing won't hurt you (nor would signing protect you in any special way), while it can prevent someone from copying your signature.

Since a signature can compromise your check, I now believe that it should not be left visible/vulnerable on the back of a card. Especially these days when people have multiple cards. It should be reserved for government/official documents, and not everyday receipts.
The problem with this theory is that no one ever looks at the signatures on checks either. So it wouldn't matter one whit if the thief copied your actual signature or just signed your checks "Daffy Duck." The checks would still clear. One summer in college I had a temp job microfilming checks in a bank's proof department. You wouldn't believe how many people actually do sign their checks "Daffy Duck" or similar. Nobody cared. They were sent on to the federal reserve anyway.

munemaker
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by munemaker » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:50 am

Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:46 am
kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm
I posed the original question based on two premises:

1. A signature on the back doesn't offer any real protection:
- No one checks if it's there, nor compares it against a receipt.
- Increasingly the card never even leaves the user's hand (owner or thief)

BUT

2. If a thief stole both your signed card and checkbook, she could copy the signature and write a check to drain your account.

So based on this, I conclude that it's better (even if slightly) to leave a card unsigned. To put another way, not signing won't hurt you (nor would signing protect you in any special way), while it can prevent someone from copying your signature.

Since a signature can compromise your check, I now believe that it should not be left visible/vulnerable on the back of a card. Especially these days when people have multiple cards. It should be reserved for government/official documents, and not everyday receipts.
The problem with this theory is that no one ever looks at the signatures on checks either. So it wouldn't matter one whit if the thief copied your actual signature or just signed your checks "Daffy Duck." The checks would still clear. One summer in college I had a temp job microfilming checks in a bank's proof department. You wouldn't believe how many people actually do sign their checks "Daffy Duck" or similar. Nobody cared. They were sent on to the federal reserve anyway.
You cannot even read many people's signatures; soemtimes they are just some lines squiggled in a certain pattern that might mean something to them but no one else.

AntsOnTheMarch
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:21 am

This thread has me thinking I’m going to draw a big fat “X” on anything requiring my signature. It’s so 19th century. :D

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:38 am

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:56 am
My local post office refused to accept a card where I had written “see ID” in the signature field.
Its good to hear that someone is following the rules (Merchants are not supposed to accept cards without a signature - putting "see ID" on the card as some sort of protection is a very old urban myth - I remember hearing this one 30 years ago - I'm surprised how many people here are saying that's what they do).

OP: Personally I wouldn't carry a checkbook around. If someone gets your account number and routing number off your check they don't need your signature in order to try to fraudulently drain your account.
I wouldn't sweat the credit cards with $0 liability (thus why overthink what to write in the signature space).

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:45 am

munemaker wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:33 am
lazydavid wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:06 am
munemaker wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:10 pm
OK - so if this is so important, how is this signature verified for online purchases? Answer: It isn't. So if the signature is not verified for online purchases, why would it have to be verified for in-person purchases? Face reality. In most cases, it doesn't make a bit of difference if you sign it or not.
Online purchases are "card not present" transactions, and the vendor has to pay a higher merchant fee due to the increased likelihood of fraud. Physical retailers pay a lower rate because their transactions are "card present". That comes with additional requirements, including a signature.
munemaker wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:13 pm
Our post office pulled their crap on me. I did not sign the card. I told the counter guy: "No wonder the post office is in trouble. I will buy my stamps at Wal*Mart."
It must have been very satisfying to lash out at a line worker for following the rules set by the issuer of the card you chose to use. :oops:
Things will never change if you don't push back.
Agree here.

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Pajamas
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:47 am

What does your credit card agreement actually say about signing your card?

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:53 am

Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:46 am
kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm
I posed the original question based on two premises:

1. A signature on the back doesn't offer any real protection:
- No one checks if it's there, nor compares it against a receipt.
- Increasingly the card never even leaves the user's hand (owner or thief)

BUT

2. If a thief stole both your signed card and checkbook, she could copy the signature and write a check to drain your account.

So based on this, I conclude that it's better (even if slightly) to leave a card unsigned. To put another way, not signing won't hurt you (nor would signing protect you in any special way), while it can prevent someone from copying your signature.

Since a signature can compromise your check, I now believe that it should not be left visible/vulnerable on the back of a card. Especially these days when people have multiple cards. It should be reserved for government/official documents, and not everyday receipts.
The problem with this theory is that no one ever looks at the signatures on checks either. So it wouldn't matter one whit if the thief copied your actual signature or just signed your checks "Daffy Duck." The checks would still clear. One summer in college I had a temp job microfilming checks in a bank's proof department. You wouldn't believe how many people actually do sign their checks "Daffy Duck" or similar. Nobody cared. They were sent on to the federal reserve anyway.
That amazes me. It doesn't matter how you sign a check? The bank does have your signature card.

Can we get more thoughts here please? What are other people's experiences?

Thanks.

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flamesabers
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by flamesabers » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:04 pm

kayanco wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:17 pm
Or is this not a likely possibility, and unnecessary to consider?
I think this is the case, especially if you don't carry your checkbook with you.

Otherwise I would say use a digital payment platform like Android Pay or Apple Pay, or use cash to pay for everything.

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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by Rupert » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:26 pm

kayanco wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:53 am
Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:46 am
kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm
I posed the original question based on two premises:

1. A signature on the back doesn't offer any real protection:
- No one checks if it's there, nor compares it against a receipt.
- Increasingly the card never even leaves the user's hand (owner or thief)

BUT

2. If a thief stole both your signed card and checkbook, she could copy the signature and write a check to drain your account.

So based on this, I conclude that it's better (even if slightly) to leave a card unsigned. To put another way, not signing won't hurt you (nor would signing protect you in any special way), while it can prevent someone from copying your signature.

Since a signature can compromise your check, I now believe that it should not be left visible/vulnerable on the back of a card. Especially these days when people have multiple cards. It should be reserved for government/official documents, and not everyday receipts.
The problem with this theory is that no one ever looks at the signatures on checks either. So it wouldn't matter one whit if the thief copied your actual signature or just signed your checks "Daffy Duck." The checks would still clear. One summer in college I had a temp job microfilming checks in a bank's proof department. You wouldn't believe how many people actually do sign their checks "Daffy Duck" or similar. Nobody cared. They were sent on to the federal reserve anyway.
That amazes me. It doesn't matter how you sign a check? The bank does have your signature card.

Can we get more thoughts here please? What are other people's experiences?

Thanks.
Banks don't look at signatures unless a check is disputed. When the validity of a check is disputed, then the picture they took of the check when it was processed (used to be microfilm, probably something digital today) will be pulled out and things such as signature cards examined. But I don't think signature cards really exist anymore either. When I last opened a new account, I signed on an iPad that the bank employee handed me. My signature on an iPad (or credit card reader in a store) doesn't really look much like my pen-on-paper signature.

Poppinjay
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by Poppinjay » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:24 pm

My dad writes "ask for id" on the signature line. He said most cashiers don't even look. Mine aren't signed and no cashier has ever said one word about it. And with these new fangled chip readers it's even less likely that anyone will notice if it's signed or what is written on it.

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:57 pm

munemaker wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:29 pm
I don't think it really matters either way. The USPS seems to be the only place that actually pays attention.

So if the card is signed, someone can use it without being questioned. Yes, some clerk could try to see if the signature on the card reading device matches the signature on the card? Yes, right! Even if they paid attention, this would be difficult. And the person who found or stole your card with your signature on it could practice your signature before using the card. Also, seems like the signatures on the card tend to wear off over time, so a person who find or steals your card could probably remove your signature or just get a dark flair and just sign right over top of your signature.
Here's my USPS data point:

I went today and used an unsigned card for my transaction. They never looked at my card to see if it was signed or not, just like any other store.

kayanco
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by kayanco » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:06 pm

Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:26 pm
kayanco wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:53 am
Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:46 am
kayanco wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:45 pm
I posed the original question based on two premises:

1. A signature on the back doesn't offer any real protection:
- No one checks if it's there, nor compares it against a receipt.
- Increasingly the card never even leaves the user's hand (owner or thief)

BUT

2. If a thief stole both your signed card and checkbook, she could copy the signature and write a check to drain your account.

So based on this, I conclude that it's better (even if slightly) to leave a card unsigned. To put another way, not signing won't hurt you (nor would signing protect you in any special way), while it can prevent someone from copying your signature.

Since a signature can compromise your check, I now believe that it should not be left visible/vulnerable on the back of a card. Especially these days when people have multiple cards. It should be reserved for government/official documents, and not everyday receipts.
The problem with this theory is that no one ever looks at the signatures on checks either. So it wouldn't matter one whit if the thief copied your actual signature or just signed your checks "Daffy Duck." The checks would still clear. One summer in college I had a temp job microfilming checks in a bank's proof department. You wouldn't believe how many people actually do sign their checks "Daffy Duck" or similar. Nobody cared. They were sent on to the federal reserve anyway.
That amazes me. It doesn't matter how you sign a check? The bank does have your signature card.

Can we get more thoughts here please? What are other people's experiences?

Thanks.
Banks don't look at signatures unless a check is disputed. When the validity of a check is disputed, then the picture they took of the check when it was processed (used to be microfilm, probably something digital today) will be pulled out and things such as signature cards examined. But I don't think signature cards really exist anymore either. When I last opened a new account, I signed on an iPad that the bank employee handed me. My signature on an iPad (or credit card reader in a store) doesn't really look much like my pen-on-paper signature.
Thanks for elaborating on this. I didn't know this nor would I have expected this. Good to know :)

munemaker
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by munemaker » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:10 pm

kayanco wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:57 pm
munemaker wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:29 pm
I don't think it really matters either way. The USPS seems to be the only place that actually pays attention.

So if the card is signed, someone can use it without being questioned. Yes, some clerk could try to see if the signature on the card reading device matches the signature on the card? Yes, right! Even if they paid attention, this would be difficult. And the person who found or stole your card with your signature on it could practice your signature before using the card. Also, seems like the signatures on the card tend to wear off over time, so a person who find or steals your card could probably remove your signature or just get a dark flair and just sign right over top of your signature.
Here's my USPS data point:

I went today and used an unsigned card for my transaction. They never looked at my card to see if it was signed or not, just like any other store.
I am wondering if the Post Office changed their practices. Someone told me our local PO now has a card reader where you hold your card and scan it yourself, as opposed to handing the card to the PO person. Of course, they could still insist on seeing the card, but that would kind of defeat the benefit of having the customer scan it themselves. So maybe that pushing back did some good? You never know. The other possibility is you got a lazy clerk who did not follow their policy.

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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by neilpilot » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:29 pm

munemaker wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:10 pm


I am wondering if the Post Office changed their practices. Someone told me our local PO now has a card reader where you hold your card and scan it yourself, as opposed to handing the card to the PO person. Of course, they could still insist on seeing the card, but that would kind of defeat the benefit of having the customer scan it themselves. So maybe that pushing back did some good? You never know. The other possibility is you got a lazy clerk who did not follow their policy.
As I posted earlier, all of my cards have been marked "Photo ID" for maybe a decade. I've used one of these cards at least a few times each year for that entire time, and my local post office has NEVER challenged my card. However, they often do ask to see my photo ID. So that's my data point to support the contention that thier policies may not be universally followed, and that "that push back" has had no effect in my case.

TravelGeek
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:55 pm

munemaker wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:33 am

Things will never change if you don't push back.
Things will not change if you complain to the wrong guy. Did you write a letter to the Postmaster General with your concerns?

munemaker
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by munemaker » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:17 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:29 pm
munemaker wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:10 pm


I am wondering if the Post Office changed their practices. Someone told me our local PO now has a card reader where you hold your card and scan it yourself, as opposed to handing the card to the PO person. Of course, they could still insist on seeing the card, but that would kind of defeat the benefit of having the customer scan it themselves. So maybe that pushing back did some good? You never know. The other possibility is you got a lazy clerk who did not follow their policy.
As I posted earlier, all of my cards have been marked "Photo ID" for maybe a decade. I've used one of these cards at least a few times each year for that entire time, and my local post office has NEVER challenged my card. However, they often do ask to see my photo ID. So that's my data point to support the contention that thier policies may not be universally followed, and that "that push back" has had no effect in my case.
Back when I had the initial problem, I offered to show the clerk my state driver's license (photo ID). He said the post office is federal and they do not accept state documents. What a joke! That's when I said fine, I will buy my stamps at Wal*Mart.

munemaker
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by munemaker » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:19 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:55 pm
munemaker wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:33 am

Things will never change if you don't push back.
Things will not change if you complain to the wrong guy. Did you write a letter to the Postmaster General with your concerns?
Do you really think that would do any good? It would be a waste of time. Perhaps it gets passed up the chain: "Customers do not like us rejecting unsigned credit cards."

I try to avoid dealing with the Post Office to the degree that I can. Every once in a while, you don't have a good choice.

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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by 6miths » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:48 pm

We have been chip and PIN in Canada for a few years now and I don't sign my cards and there are no signed receipts anymore. Most transactions for less than $100-200 are done with 'tap' so the PIN isn't protective on those.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

TravelGeek
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:46 am

munemaker wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:19 pm
Do you really think that would do any good? It would be a waste of time. Perhaps it gets passed up the chain: "Customers do not like us rejecting unsigned credit cards."

I try to avoid dealing with the Post Office to the degree that I can. Every once in a while, you don't have a good choice.
I don’t know if it would do any good. I doubt that things would get from the bottom of he food chain (clerk in your local post office) to a decision maker, though.

Frankly, I don’t understand the reasons for not signing the cards. I agree that it may not add add a lot of security value (if they wanted that, ask for the ID.... which every convenience store in Vegas seems to do). But it also takes very little effort to sign it (just did it today).

No one has ever complained that my signature doesn’t look 100% identical. And yes, especially if you travel abroad, you will frequently have people compare them. But I try to get through the day without unnecessary discussions with sales staff on whether cards have to be signed or not. Badenough to have to nod when someone comments on how “heavy” the metal card is. Life is short, the lines at the Post Office are long enough already without fighting that battle.

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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by bberris » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:38 pm

I think you may be missing the point of the signature. It serves the same purpose as a pin. Rather than protecting the cardholder from fraud (who really is already protected) it prevents the merchant and bank from chargebacks by denying deniability to the purchaser: the signature proves (to you) that you made the purchase. If it wasn't your signature, the merchant gets a chargeback; just a cost of doing business by credit card. The minimum wage checkout person, even if they looked at your signature, would not able to tell if the signature was valid or not.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:01 pm

bberris wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:38 pm
I think you may be missing the point of the signature. It serves the same purpose as a pin. Rather than protecting the cardholder from fraud (who really is already protected) it prevents the merchant and bank from chargebacks by denying deniability to the purchaser: the signature proves (to you) that you made the purchase. If it wasn't your signature, the merchant gets a chargeback; just a cost of doing business by credit card. The minimum wage checkout person, even if they looked at your signature, would not able to tell if the signature was valid or not.
I don't follow. Are you saying that if you use an unsigned card, you can disclaim responsibility for the charges? I doubt that.
This week's fortune cookie: "You will do well to expand your horizons." Ow. Passive-aggressive and vaguely ominous.

bberris
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Re: Isn't it safer to NOT sign Credit card?

Post by bberris » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:27 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:01 pm
bberris wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:38 pm
I think you may be missing the point of the signature. It serves the same purpose as a pin. Rather than protecting the cardholder from fraud (who really is already protected) it prevents the merchant and bank from chargebacks by denying deniability to the purchaser: the signature proves (to you) that you made the purchase. If it wasn't your signature, the merchant gets a chargeback; just a cost of doing business by credit card. The minimum wage checkout person, even if they looked at your signature, would not able to tell if the signature was valid or not.
I don't follow. Are you saying that if you use an unsigned card, you can disclaim responsibility for the charges? I doubt that.
No, that's not what I meant. I guess I lost the OP message. The signature on the receipt proves that you made the purchase, but that would only be questioned if you claimed you did not make the purchase. So the signature on the back of the card is irrelevant. My point was that the signature comparison does not confirm your identity to the merchant. So not signing the back of the card does not really protect you; and you don't need that protection.

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Re: Isn't it safer to not sign Credit card?

Post by MnD » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:42 pm

munemaker wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:13 pm
Our post office pulled their crap on me. I did not sign the card. I told the counter guy: "No wonder the post office is in trouble. I will buy my stamps at Wal*Mart."
It would be great if all the folks that are fervent about things like not signing credit cards (to the point of berating clerks at establishments for following their job rules) would restrict all their shopping to Walmart. I've been in line behind several of these types over the years and I can only dream they shopped at a place I wouldn't be caught dead in. Win-win!

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