Credit Cards

Your new credit card finally arrives in the mail. As always, there is always a big sticker on there that says STOP – before use you must call this number to verify receipt of the card. Or something to that affect. Sure the credit card company wants to make sure you got your card, but we all know they also want to take the opportunity to sell you something. But nowhere on there does it tell you that you must also sign your credit card before you try to use it. So many people do not bother to sign the card.

An unsigned credit card is not valid. A merchant should never accept a credit card that is not signed. Most people are not even aware of this but it is true. If you called the credit card companies they would tell you the card needs to be signed. Beneath the signature line on just about every major credit card, it will say “Authorized Signature” on the left side. And on the right side it will say “Not Valid Unless Signed”. Go ahead check the back of your cards. I checked four of mine and three out of the four had the “Not Valid Unless Signed”. Well, if the authorized signature is not there, the card is not authorized right? Yep.

This does not mean the stores won’t take an unsigned card, it just means they shouldn’t in order to protect themselves and you. A common practice is to write SEE ID – even this is not good enough. A credit card is not valid for use until signed. While anyone can forge a signature, a valid signature on the back of your credit card does make it harder for a true forgery to occur.

Since not all customers or merchants know this or are willing to turn down a sale because of this, you should sign your card so merchants can verify your signature. They can use this as a security feature to match the signatures. If your card is ever stolen, a thief can sign your card anyway they want to and it will match the receipts they sign. A merchant has nothing to compare it against. And sure not many merchants actually verify signatures do they? No, but that is no reason to allow yourself to be at greater risk. It is not only necessary for you to sign your card, it is just plain smart

Sure the signature may wear off, or it may not look like your actual signature, but essentially you have an agreement with your credit card company and part of that agreement is that you will sign your card. Does signing your card make you more secure? Maybe but maybe not. Either way, why take an unnecessary change when there is no reason to. Not valid unless signed should mean exactly that.