Choosing a Balance Transfer Card

Lesson #55 : Should I Sign My Credit Card?

What do you do when you receive a new credit card in the mail? Most people will activate the card and add it to their wallet. At the same time, you might be wondering, “Should I sign my credit card?” The answer is yes, but the reasons why may surprise you.

The Simple Answer is Yes — for These Two Reasons

First, technically speaking, your credit card is not valid until you sign it. In fact, many credit cards 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.

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But 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 their 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 many merchant agreements prohibit retailers from requiring cardholders to present identification as a condition of the sale.

Does Signing the Card Reduce Security?

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 ever 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, the Discover it® card offers 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 statements for unauthorized charges — or set up an online account or use the mobile app and check more frequently — especially for small amounts that can be test charges for future fraudulent activity. Thankfully, many card issuers, including Discover, have a zero liability policy, which means you are never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your credit card account, so always let your issuer know right away if you see something suspicious.

Bottom Line

Take a moment to sign your credit card, since it can only add to its security and convenience.



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