Should You Sign the Back of Credit or Debit Cards?

Some people have stopped signing the backs of their credit or debit cards, instead opting to write "See ID." But does this really better protect your identity and your credit from fraud? Money Girl explains

Laura Adams, MBA,
February 8, 2013

Credit Cards Q. My wife has gotten into the habit of not signing the back of her debit or credit cards. Instead, she writes "see ID" in the signature space. Is there anything wrong with this strategy?

A. A debit or credit card isn't valid until it's signed by the authorized cardholder and store clerks are supposed to decline any unsigned card -- but many simply don't know the rules.

It's easier to get away with unsigned cards these days with so many self-service swipe machines. But not signing a debit or credit card is dangerous because a thief could sign it for you and then their signature on receipts would match up. Writing "see ID" on the back may not help because some card companies prohibit merchants from asking for ID as a condition of a sale, so the store may not be obligated to ask for it even if they notice your note.

My recommendation would be to always sign the back of your credit or debit card to ensure your identity and your credit stay safe.



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