Should I sign the back of my credit card or write “See ID”?

Upon first activating your new credit card you will be prompted to sign your name on the back of the credit card but should you sign your credit card or just write “See ID”?

In theory, this procedure of signing your credit card is so the person who charges your card can compare your handwritten signature with your credit card signature. If you’re thinking that most cashiers don’t even bother with a signature comparison, you’re probably on to something. However, pondering over variables in these scenarios also raises some interesting questions:

What if someone steals your card and then sees your signature on the back of the plastic? Couldn’t this person learn how to forge your signature and get away with more fraudulent activity? Furthermore, couldn’t the creep actually learn your signature so well that he could take advantage of other financial opportunities by convincing lenders that he is you?

Why is the See ID Alternative a Popular Option?

This is why the “See ID” option has become popular in recent years. In an effort to reduce the possibility of fraud, some credit card owners are refusing to sign their credit cards and will either leave the signature blank or write the phrase “see ID” where the signature should go. This prompts the store owner to see your ID card which not only provides a photograph but also shows another signature.

There is no standard answer for this question. Some credit card holders like the idea of a “see ID”, while others believe that using a photo on their credit card is a far better protection method. You also have to consider the fact that not only do many cashiers fail to compare signatures on cards and receipts, but they also do not ask for identification.

You might hear a different perspective from your credit card company. Most of these companies want you to sign your credit card rather than leaving an alternate message. This is because, legally speaking, clerks cannot accept a credit card payment if the card has not been signed. This doesn’t mean that clerks won’t charge the card anyway. However, by strict procedure, the clerk or cashier is supposed to tell you to sign the card and the receipt so that he or she can finish the credit card transaction. If you refuse to sign the card, the cashier can refuse a sale.

The Official Answer from the Credit Card Companies

Credit card companies are quite adamant about the right way to resolve this situation. The official stance is that credit card companies want you to sign the back of your credit cards and not just write “See ID”. After all, they are partially covering their own liability when they insist upon a signature. This signature not only helps prevent cases of fraud, but also finalizes the terms of agreement on the contract you give them.

There are also some other disadvantages. Using the “see ID” option requires a longer waiting process during charging and also poses a possible disadvantage if a person should forget his or her ID. (Though many store owners now ask for ID’s anyway to verify the photo)

Another idea is to use the see ID option for your primary card and then carry a secondary card with a signature for backup. This certainly puts you at an advantage in terms of simplicity. The only issue now is whether or not the store will go along with your plan. Legally speaking, the store should ask you for a signature, especially considering that there is no good reason to ask for your ID. So basically, in this scenario, you are counting on their incompetence…or else, their stubborn refusal to follow the rules. An odd gamble to say the least!

A Compromise in Security?

Another factor to consider- if you are worried about merchants trying to steal your account information then understand that all of the information you are giving them is more damaging than just a signature. For one thing, once you give your credit card to a merchant, and 30 seconds passes, they no longer need your signature to commit fraud. They can memorize or record the number as well as other vital information like the expiration date and CVV code. If you give them your driver’s license information then you are literally handing them over your driver’s license number (a check identifier), a date of birth, (establishing identity) and your newest address. Aside from dropping off your social security number, you have given this suspicious person your entire life’s savings!

The credit card companies make the lesson an easy one: follow the law and sign your credit card plastic. Even the advantages that come with using the “see ID” protection method are compromised. The safest bet is to safeguard your wallet and credit card and make signature purchases at trusted retail locations only. It’s actually the least complicated and the least risky option you have.

If you need help looking for a new credit card then use our free credit card finder “Chaser” web tool to find comparisons between credit card companies and many different credit cards. Look into the company’s security features so you will always have peace of mind when it comes to protecting yourself against fraudulent activities. This online chaser tool is available right now on our home page so get started comparing credit cards now!

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