Should You Sign the Back of Your Credit Card?

Dayton Uttinger  | 

The idea behind signing the back of your credit card and the purchase slip is two-fold.  One, the cashier can compare those signatures and detect fraud right then and there, and two, if you ever want to dispute the charge, you can see whether or not the signature is actually yours. 

Signing the back of a credit or debit card allows merchants to compare your signature with the one you produce on sales receipts. However, many major credit payment networks no longer require credit card signatures. At the same time, many credit payment networks still urge merchants not to accept purchases from cards without a signature, and credit card companies include the words “not valid unless signed” on the back of a card.

Merchants are also supposed to check a form of identification such as your driver’s license, your state-issued ID, or your passport to ensure that the names and signature are the same as what’s on your card.

Where to Sign Your Credit or Debit Card

There should be a white strip located on the back of your credit or debit card. This blank space is where you are supposed to sign. When signing, use the same signature that you used on other identification materials and documents. This way, when your signatures are compared, they should be nearly identical.

Writing “See ID” on the Back of Your Credit Card

When you write “see ID,” or “CID” on the back of your credit card, it may seem like a great way to ensure that a merchant asks for your identification. However, your card is considered invalid without a signature. Merchants can refuse a sale if you use an invalidated card, and they could request that you provide a different card for the purchase.

Tips to Protect Your Card’s Security

There are many forms of credit card fraud. Many merchants do not ask for ID verification during credit or debit card purchases; there are other ways you can protect the safety and security of your card and personal information.

  • Do not leave your cards unattended.
  • Carry only the cards you need, and keep your other cards in a safe location in your home.
  • If you travel abroad, make a note of the cards that you bring with you. Write a list of each card’s account number, expiration date, and the number to call to contact the issuer if your wallet is lost or stolen.
  • Regularly check your monthly statements for errors or suspicious activity. Immediately report any charges that you do not recognize to your card issuer, and dispute any errors that you find. Unchecked identity theft and fraud can damage your credit score.
  • Never loan your card out to others.

Card Signature Alternatives

Card issuers have moved towards EMV chip or tokenization technology to adapt to more secure payment methods. When it comes to preventing fraud, chip-and-PIN credit cards are more secure than traditional magnetic strip cards. To prevent fraudsters from using your card, make sure to memorize your PIN instead of writing it down.

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Dayton is a chronic Wikipedia addict, which is detrimental to her social life but stellar for her writing. She resides in Boise, ID, surrounded by her own frantic outlines, highlighted encyclopedias, and potatoes. The latter was not by choice.