Unsigned Credit Cards Are Not Valid And Merchants Can And Will Refuse To Accept Them

For some reason, we are (literally) getting one angry letter a day about the United States Post Office refusing to accept unsigned credit cards.

If you are one of those people who refuses to sign your credit card, be aware that it is invalid and merchants can and will refuse to accept it.

Unless your name is “Check ID,” that’s not a valid signature. End of story. Sorry.

Here’s Mastercard’s policy:

If the card is not signed, the card acceptor must:

  • obtain an authorization from the issuer, and
  • ask the cardholder to provide identification (but not record the cardholder identification information), and require the cardholder to sign the card.
    The card acceptor must not complete the transaction if the cardholder refuses
    to sign the card.

  • Here’s Visa’s policy:

    If the card has a “See ID” in place of a signature…
    Request a signature. Ask the cardholder to sign the card and provide current government identification, such as a driver’s license or passport (if local law permits).
    Check the signature. Be sure that the signature on the card matches the one on the transaction receipt and the additional identification.
    If the signatures appear reasonably the same and the authorization request is approved, go ahead and complete the transaction.

    So, feel free to write “See ID” on your cards, but you do need to sign them.
    Dealing With Unsigned Cards [Visa]
    Merchant Manual [Mastercard]


    Edit Your Comment

    1. the_goz says:

      I printed out a little label on my label printer that says “please check my ID” and affixed it underneath my signature. Everytime the merchant actually takes the card the ask for my ID. Well at least so far.

    2. bnpederson says:

      What if “See ID” is what you sign everything with but isn’t your signature? I mean my signature’s basically a scribble, so long as it was consistent across all forms couldn’t your signature be a stylized picture of a duck?

    3. jakenjill says:

      Even if it is the CC company’s policy, it is still the dumbest damn policy I have ever seen. It makes absolutely no sense to make the cardholder sign the card in front of you for it to be valid. Makes me crazy every time I am at the post office and see this argument go down. Why is the USPS the only company that enforces this? It almost seems like it is out of spite.

    4. SOhp101 says:

      @jakenjill: They enforce it because they’re a government agency and government agencies love bureaucracy and following rules.

      I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again–not signing your card makes the banks richer and the merchants poorer. Usually when charges are disputed the burden of proof is left on the merchant, and them accepting a non-signed card automatically makes them at fault.

    5. emsbear says:

      I have “Ask for ID” on the back of my card and it’s never been refused. In the multiple years it’s been there I can still count on one hand how many times the merchant has checked let alone actually asked for my ID. If I ever do get a merchant that refuses my card, then they lose the sale, plain and simple. I’m not putting my signature on that (or any) card.

    6. snwbrder0721 says:

      I was in line behind a lady at the post office last week who got into it with the postal worker about this. She couldn’t understand why the post office was the only place that enforced this policy and felt necessary to argue for about 5 minutes about it before pulling out her checkbook to pay.

      I’m sure this has a lot to do with the post office being a gov’t entity that follows the rules to a “t” whereas most merchants don’t want to piss off customers, they just want their money.

      Honestly though, why is the signature on the card really necessary? You agree to the terms when you apply for the card (with your signature on the bottom of the page), why not just use that little space for something else that might actually prevent theives from using my card?

    7. quiksilver says:

      @jakenjill: Because it’s USPS. They can make life a living hell… along with the DMV

    8. Bay State Darren says:

      What, doesn’t everybody know thieves and scammers are both physically and psychologically incapable of signing credit cards?

    9. jmschn says:

      meh, not a problem. Time to read the next article!

    10. DimitroffVodka says:

      I just want to know what liberties are being taken away by signing the back of your credit card?

    11. Mr.Purple says:

      Yay Postoffice!

    12. lesbiansayswhat says:

      interesting..kinda. i got a new debit card a month ago and haven’t bothered signing it because i thought the check id way was more protective (and i could’ve sworn i read that on consumerist). anyway, no one has asked me to sign it OR ask for an ID. to reflect some of the comments above..i don’t see why cc companies make this rule or why they haven’t come up with a rule that actually benefits consumers.

    13. groupie says:

      When I worked in retail hell for a department store, we were told to always ask for ID if a customer didn’t sign their Visa. If they refused to show ID, which some people do, then they had to provide payment in another format. This policy took effect years ago. I also witnessed this at the Apple store a couple days ago.

      What about stores that ask for ID anytime you use a debtit OR credit card? I’ve noticed some small chain stores ask for an ID every time I use a debit. A litte ridiculous, no?

    14. Nick says:

      I can’t stand people who put “See ID” on their cards. The whole point of credit cards is that they are faster and more efficient than cash or checks. If someone steals your physical card (which is a very rare occurrence), you are not responsible for any charges. Don’t make people like me wait around while you argue over why it makes you “feel safe” to put that on your cards. (This is why I like stores like Target that don’t even handle your card–zip the card through the machine, sign the screen, and I’m done paying even before the last item is scanned.)

      This irks me almost as much as stores that require government ID in order to use a credit card. Visa and MC (and maybe the others) specifically forbid stores from denying a purchase based on the ability to show a second ID. (Especially when I have my photo and signature hard-printed on the card.) I actually avoid stores that do that.

      I don’t mean to offend those of you who are paranoid about credit cards and ID, but you all need to relax a bit.

    15. warf0x0r says:

      @bnpederson: Not valid. Do both, write see your id and your signature.

    16. JNighthawk says:

      I just applied for a credit card through my bank, requiring absolutely no signature. My acceptance of the terms will be when/if I sign the credit card.

    17. yg17 says:

      @quiksilver180: If only the DMV here took credit cards. I have to get out the checkbook once every 2 years to renew my plates since they don’t know what the 21st century is.

      Anyways, I’ve been using cards for years, none of them are signed, and I’ve never been given crap. Once in a blue moon, I’ll go somewhere that will check the signature and just ask for my ID.

    18. amoeba says:

      If my memory is not that bad, we already (at consumerist) discussed the same issue a week or couple weeks ago. I still don’t get it why people refuse to sign the cc o dc. Maybe it is because most of the people have the same kind of writing. I’ve noticed that a lot. What upsets me is that whatever cashier who asks for my ID don’t even bother to check both signatures (on my ID and back of my card) they stare for a few seconds checking my name, I guess my age and my picture on my ID. So, I don’t even understand the big deal with signing as well…

    19. Darren666 says:

      The funny thing about the USPS policy is that you can go out to their automated machines and conduct your transaction there with an unsigned credit card.

      It really makes no sense that a machine doesn’t care but a person does.

    20. Darren666 says:

      @JNighthawk: It is likely you accept the terms by using the credit card.

      However, it is also more likely that you agreed to something when you signed up for the card.

      How many people can get away with not paying their credit card bills by not signing the card? Zero.

    21. pieoncar says:

      So, what about AmEx and Discover’s policies?

    22. Lynn12 says:

      A signature is your legal mark. If it had to be your name, then no doctor I have ever met would be able to use a credit card since none of them use more than one letter and some scribbles.

      A scribble, heart, happy face or “see I.D.” all work if you use them consistantly and with no fraud intended.

    23. jackdangers says:

      Somebody call the waahhhhmbulance! Seriously, what card doesn’t have “Not valid unless signed” right above/below the place you are supposed to sign it? I make no excuses for credit card companies, as the ones in the US are incredibly behind their European counterparts, but if the thing says “sign it or you can’t use it” then just sign it! You agreed to all this nonsense by getting the card!

    24. louiedog says:

      I was at a post office and the person in front of me didn’t have their CC signed. The post office employee told them they could either sign it in front of them or use a different form of payment. An unsigned debit card was presented, that was okay. WTF?

    25. yg17 says:

      @amoeba: For me, it’s not that I refuse to. I just never remember to (in other words, I’m too damn lazy)

    26. kingoman says:

      @the_goz: And when I steal your credit card, the VERY first thing I’ll do is remove that label! What’s the point when it *is* you? You want them to check the ID when it *isn’t* you! Unless you’re just trying to encourage them to adopt the habit…

      I once (honestly) forgot to sign a new card and went to use it. The lady stopped me and told me the card was not signed and she couldn’t continue the transaction until I signed it. I asked what good it did for me to stand there and sign it, that proved nothing. She said she couldn’t complete the transaction unless the card was signed. So I signed the card. She never asked for any other ID. She then completed the transaction. WTF?

      The best part was when she picked up the receipt and compared my signature to the one on the card. Yes, she really did.

    27. mechanismatic says:

      @schwnj: You’re generalizing when you say that you’re not held accountable for purchases when a physical card is stolen. Credit cards and debit cards are different on this and then it matters when you report the card as stolen also.

      I put ‘See ID’ on my card more as an experiment to see how many people actually look at the back of the card and how many people ask for ID. Ironically, I used to work retail and hated the people who got pissed off if you didn’t see it on the card and ask for the ID. Of course people act all apologetic when they ask and I feel awkward when I have to asure them that I understand that they’re asking for ID because I wrote that on the card. Maybe I should write ‘Harrass me’ on the card and see what reaction I get.

      The problem with signing the card is that the signature doesn’t last forever. Even my ‘See ID’ is faded after so many uses. Just sign the card if they make you and then wipe it off after you leave the store.

    28. Shadowfire says:

      @SOhp101: No, the burden of proof is not on the merchant. How could the card company possibly say “we will not cover this fraudulent charge, because the card was not signed?” The card is freaking gone! Are they using the Visa Psychics to see the card with their clairvoyant powers so they can tell whether it’s signed or not?

      @groupie: As for the merchants checking IDs, it is actually against companies’ merchant agreements to ask for ID on credit or debit transactions. The obvious exception is when signatures do not match (or are not present), but in most all cases, you cannot ask for ID.

    29. kellyd says:

      @the_goz: You have to sign it because it’s a sort of contract with the card company. By signing the card, you are signing your agreement with the card company. That’s the explanation I was given, anyway.

    30. ccouvillion says:

      When I last worked retail in the mid-80s, American Express’ policy was that if the card was unsigned you were supposed to check ID and have the cardholder sign the card in front of you. If cardholder refused to sign their card, you were to keep it, cut it in half and send it to Amex. Of course no one would actually do that since it would alienate customers.

      I also understood that the liability limits on theft were dependent on the card being signed. Sort of like insurance companies being hesitant to pay out on a car that is stolen while left running with the door open and unattended.

      I didn’t understand the idea of not signing credit cards then or now. When I asked people why they didn’t sign them, it was because a thief could copy their signature. It didn’t seem to sink in that if the thief signed the card themselves, they wouldn’t need to copy it.

    31. gniterobot says:

      My dad signs those self check out CC machines with “suckers” or stupid things just to see if they ever will get back to him.

      They haven’t yet.

      The whole signiture verification is such a farce anyway, I never sign anything the same way twice…that way no one can copy my siggy… :)

    32. Namilia says:

      @amoeba: nowadays most retail clerks have no clue they are supposed to verify the signatures. many seem to be instructed to verify at least the names and pics match, but even getting one that does that much is rarer and rarer..

    33. faust1200 says:

      My credit card is so overused the signature label is worn out with no visible signature. You can even see the word “void” coming through on the security strip. It’s funny because maybe half the time the cashier flips the card over and “checks” the signature – and 100% of the time they just hand it back to me.

      But holy crap one time I was at a BP gas station and I handed over my corporate (unsigned) gas card and the girl asked to see ID. I said this is the first time I’ve ever been called out on my gas card and I’d had this card since the freakin’ 80’s. But even when I handed over my ID the girl stared at like it was Greek. I had to show her literally that the card said XXXX Corporation which shared my last name on my DL. Ugh she was stupid.

    34. nickripley says:

      I had (HAD) a friend who wrote ‘SEE ID’ on her card, and always handed her ID over with the card. I can’t stand that sort of thing. I am sure she probably shows her receipt going out of the bathroom. She also would keep a daily log of license plate numbers of cars that violated “carpool lane” rules, and she would phone them to the police, daily.

      Anyhow, I wish the consumerist would run a story about merchants imposing a minimum or extra charge to use a credit or debit card. That is ridiculous, especially for debit purchases. (Maybe they have run one… not searched, yet.) Those fees and minimums are ALWAYS against the contract the merchant has with their cc processor, and this sort of thing should not be tolerated. More than once I have called 1-800-VISA-911 to have Visa explain the rules to a merchant.

    35. nickripley says:

      @ccouvillion: But they could see the receipt that did not have their signature. That would match the card, if they checked it.

    36. nickripley says:

      @faust1200: Could you imagine someone trying to commit fraud with a FLEET card? hahahaha… “Enter my mileage?”

    37. MBZ321 says:

      With most businesses having personal “swipe” terminals (ex. at the grocery store so you don’t have to hand your card to a cashier), there is no need to sign my card. I’ve used my Visa Debit card for years without any sort of signature.

    38. mac-phisto says:

      @Shadowfire: yes, in this case the burden of proof is on the merchant. here’s how it goes down:

      1) customer disputes transaction
      2) card issuer requests receipt copy
      3) merchant provides receipt copy
      4) if card issuer has card in hand & card is not signed or says SEE ID, they can file a “compliance” claim thru card network
      5) unless you legitimately use SEE ID as a signature, the merchant card network would, in this case, rule in favor of the card issuer.

      a compliance claim is different from a chargeback. basically it means that the merchant did not comply with the requirements of the merchant network. in this specific example, they accepted a card that was not valid (b/c it was not signed) for a purchase. therefore, the transaction did not meet the 3 requirements for a valid transaction: approval obtained thru network, cardholder present (signature on slip), & valid (as in “signed”) card present (partial or full mag read – a manual or keyed entry does not comply with the “card present” guidelines).

    39. GitEmSteveDave says:

      OK, #1. You agree to the cardholder agreement usually when you sign up for the card. Remember when you signed the app? Also, the signature on the receipt stipulates that by signing, you are agreeing to the cardholder agreement and terms.

      #2. Look at what the definition of SIGNATURE is. 1 and 5 clearly say an identifying mark. By writing it in your own handwriting, it’s your mark. Did you also know you can legally sign something by applying a fingerprint to it? People who could not read or write also signed something by “applying/writing” their mark, which was sometimes just an X.

      And yes, all of my cards have “see photo ID” written on the back at least twice in different colored inks and I also write one upside down in case you hold the card funny. Besides, half the time on those computer terminals, the cashier doesn’t see what you signed anyway. And a show of hands on how many people have read/heard reports of cashiers/servers using skimmers when they handle your card? Best advice. Check your account, and check it often.

    40. Maulleigh says:

      I signed my credit card with a sharpie and the signature is now a melted blur. In the states, no one checks it. No one. I spent a week in England and EVERYONE checked it and gave me dirty looks. Lucky for me I have one of those credit cards with a picture on it.

      Do you know how difficult it was to mug a person who looks just like me?

    41. BigNutty says:

      Even though the merchants are just trying to prevent fraud, It’s not a big deal in most places. I sign Mickey Mouse and other stupid names for fun. If your I.D. matches the name on the credit card they are going to approve it.

      If your wallet was stolen, most merchants now check the picture on the I.D. to see if you look anything like the picture.

    42. DigitalMariner says:

      Not signing a CC or writing See ID used to be one of my pet peeves. I used to sit their and wait for the customer to sign the card or cancel the sale, as the card IS NOT VALID.

      But that now management no longer backs up their employees or their agreements with Visa/MC/Amex/etc, I don’t even bother looking at the cards. It’s not worth the hassle those types of people (stupid ‘I am outsmarting the system’ people) put up to rectify the situation.

      So congratulations “SeeID” people. Your refusal to have a valid card and follow your CC’s instructions have systematically worn down cashiers, management, and corporations around the country to the point where almost no one checks the signature anymore, making it even EASIER to fraudulently use someone else’s CC.

      Nice work.

    43. Namrepus says:

      What about those of us that have signed cards, but the signature has worn off and can’t be re-written on the card?

    44. bookling says:

      It’s all a joke these days. Half the stores you visit have self-swipe machines where the cashier never touches your card. I work retail, and as a cashier we have to take and swipe the customer’s card. I always check an ID on an unsigned card or a “See ID” card. You wouldn’t believe how many people write “See ID” on their card, though, and then sigh heavily when I ask for their ID, like I’m doing them a huge disservice.

      Oh, and at so many stores now, you don’t even have to sign if your purchase is under $XX ($25 at my store), which makes the signature basically useless.

      Mostly, I want to tell the people who say smugly, “Oh, I never sign my cards, that way no one can copy my signature,” what IDIOTS they are. Honestly.

    45. arcticJKL says:


      Provides a different take on the subject.

      Personally I have signed cards ‘Elvis’ and ‘Firstname help I’m under duress lastname’

    46. tinky XIII says:

      I worked for several years in an adult video store. Small town, only one in a fifty-mile radius. We accepted credit cards, provided they were signed and a driver’s license shown. It was posted and we rarely had a problem with people flipping out. The few that did have problems were told to either pay with cash (since we required ID with a check, too) or get the (whatever expletive we felt was appropriate) out. Maybe it’s just small-town North Carolina, but most people I dealt with trusted us with their information more than most businesses in the area.

    47. quail says:

      My step-father refused to sign the back of his credit cards back in the 70’s and 80’s. His thinking was that if he were mugged or his hotel room robbed, then the crook would be making off with his checkbook and umpteen of his signatures. With this he could see the crook perfecting his forged signature and cleaning out his bank account the next day.

      I’d always thought that that was the crazy reason so many people never signed the back of the credit card.

    48. tiburon says:

      For the record, Best Buy’s official corporate policy is to *never* check photo IDs when the customer is paying with a credit card. Whether the card’s unsigned, signed, says “Check ID” or “Photo ID Required”, etc, employees are not allowed to check IDs. Whether this is actually implemented in all stores…well that’s another story, but that’s the policy.

    49. moleratt says:

      O.K. I have visited this site for a while to read what everyone else is saying so,first posting. I’m a Management Consultant in the Retail industry for 11 years and have management experience,(Small and Corporate) in the industry since ’82. In ’88 in Whistler B.C. Canada Visa were in my store installing debit system, I took a card, no ID visa rep asked why, I explained I have read the agreement it says anyone that uses my card, I have deemed to have lent it to them.(She told me not to repeat that to my staff) as for chargebacks they charge user and retailer(been on both sides) Think about gas stations that have pay at the pump. good luck with chargebacks. Also in Resorts you get some people from countries that their signature is not in English. Try deciphering Japanese characters in a name.

    50. mac-phisto says:

      i understand why some of you get pissed off that the merchant doesn’t check your signature, but remember – it’s not their job to protect YOU from fraud. their only job is to protect themselves from fraud. @arcticJKL: that’s actually really funny, esp. b/c most people think the electronic signature pads check your signature against some master database. they don’t. their only purpose is to make warehousing your signature & the transaction easier in the event that it needs to be recalled (for a chargeback or copy request). anyone who has ever had to comply with a paper copy request can tell you how much it sucks to sift thru 6 months worth of paper sales receipts for a copy.

      interestingly enough, it doesn’t even matter if what you sign matches your actual signature. the card networks don’t expect merchants to be experts in handwriting analysis. the signature is just a formality for a valid transaction. A signature must be present, not necessarily YOUR signature. if a cashier allows you to sign “mickey mouse” when your name is “john hancock”, they could be opening their company up to liability, but if someone steals your card & signs “john hancock” (even if their “john hancock” doesn’t match your “john hancock”), that merchant is safe from a chargeback provided the other two conditions for a valid transaction are met (card present, approval obtained).

      now, some of us have noticed that merchants aren’t even requiring signatures under a certain amount (say $50 at 7-11). this is b/c that amount is under the “floor limit” for that particular merchant. the floor limit is the minimum transaction amount that the merchant can be liable for (as long as they get a full mag read). this was part of a trade-off deal to get merchants to update their card terminals to allow for cvv2 checking & other requirements that card issuers’ bonding companies were pressing for.

      congratulations! you’ve just learned more about the card approval process than your average retail store manager! have a cookie!

    51. ncboxer says:

      @tiburon: That’s strange. When I worked at Best Buy, sometimes as a cashier, we were allowed to check IDs. I remember one fellow had a female looking name and I asked for an ID. The fellow got all bent out of shape (he probably gets asked all the time) and I had to get a manager over. The manager said that we had the right to ask for an ID. After several minutes of arguing (and the line backing up) he finally showed his ID. Whenever I saw “check ID”, I asked for the ID. Oh, and I did have one time the card wasn’t signed and told the person it was invalid unless signed. There was an argument there too (I think they were trying to accomplish the same thing as “check ID”), but they eventually signed the ID, and went on their merry way.

    52. yg17 says:

      I worked at Target awhile back, and we were told not to check signatures at all because it would slow down the lines, and the customers complained whenever the lines were slow. So they’lll give up security to get out of there 30 seconds sooner….

    53. Darren666 says:

      @nickripley: The rules may be the rules, but those fees are there because its effin’ expensive to accept credit cards. What ends up happening is that the prices get raised for everybody, including cash customers.

      If I were in charge of government, I would explicitly forbid these contractual agreements between the banks and the stores. Stores could be free to charge more for the convenience of plastic while cash customers are not penalized.

    54. SOhp101 says:

      @Shadowfire: Have you ever been involved in these situations from the merchant’s point of view? I’m guessing not.

      They request the merchant to show proof of the receipt that the card user signed the receipt. If the merchant cannot show this, the credit card company does not give them the amount.

      As for signing the back of the card, all it takes is for you to say one short sentence to the cc company and the merchant is likely to be penalized just on your word.

    55. Uglyshoe says:

      The whole “See ID” fad is ridiculous. Smugly “reminding” a cashier to check for ID will do nothing to endear you to the cashier or the store.

      Credit cards are a convenience not a necessity. When people confuse the two it always leads to trouble.

    56. Uglyshoe says:

      @mac-phisto: Truer words…

    57. aikoto says:

      Hey, don’t give out bad advice! You should still write check id on your cards. The only problem I’ve had with this is at the PO where they wouldn’t take it. Since I had to use the card, I went ahead and signed it that once and then had a new card issued.

      As a retailer, I ALWAYS checked ID. Whether they wrote Check ID on their card or not. I was also about the only person who actually stopped any fake or stolen credit cards in the store when I worked there.

    58. sulu9999 says:

      Here’s a very funny story of someone who tried all kinds of signatures to see where the breaking point would be. He even took pictures of his signature and clerks still did not look at it. [www.zug.com]

    59. mbrutsch says:

      @DimitroffVodka: The right to privacy. If a signed card is stolen, then the thief not only has my card, he has my signature as well, which makes it very easy to forge. Duh.

    60. anatak says:

      not signing the card?!? But credit cards are so safe!

    61. Darren666 says:

      @jeremyduffy: Its not bad advice. Its called following the official polices. Blame Visa/MC if you dont like it.

    62. RandomHookup says:

      My only complaint on this issue: could they make the signature block a little bigger so that normal-sized people can sign without cramping?

    63. nuch says:

      @Darren666: Yes, merchants are charged a fee for credit card transactions. The problem with the “credit card minimum” and fees to use a card are that they are penalizing you for using credit. If the merchant can’t afford to pay the associated fees, they shouldn’t offer credit card service. If they are able to offer it to some, they need to offer it to everyone making a purchase, big or small. Also, merchants are allowed to mark everything up and offer discounts for cash purchases. That way they make up the extra money, and credit card users aren’t inconvenienced.

      Unrelatedly, I used to sign my CC in Japanese (I got the card while living in Japan), and had no problems until I went to the post office. The postal worker said “I need your signature.” I pointed out that it was my signature, and she refused to let me make the transaction since I couldn’t fit my “real” signature on the card.

      I hate the post office.

    64. Illusio26 says:

      @schwnj: Your kidding. I don’t know where your friends are keeping their ID, but mines in my wallet next to my credit card. I bet it takes less time for me to show my ID than it would for you to pay with cash.

    65. dmartinez says:

      I sign my card but within two months it gets erased!

    66. dmartinez says:

      I sign my card but within 2 months it always gets erased!

    67. I fail to see the point of checking the ID if “Check ID” is the ONLY thing on the back of the card. The card is invalid anyway. If the teller is going to run a card that nobody should be using why should they care about ID?

      Also, merchants are allowed to mark everything up and offer discounts for cash purchases. That way they make up the extra money, and credit card users aren’t inconvenienced.
      @danisaikou: I fail to see the difference. Either way the credit card users are paying more money.

    68. protest says:

      if you are going to put “see i.d.” as the sig on your card, be sure that when you use the card you hand over your i.d. at the same time. it’s really irritating to me that people don’t sign it, then act surprised and have to fiddle through their wallet to pull out i.d.! wasting my time here people!

    69. I write “CHECK ID” in silver Sharpie and then sign my signature over it in black, fine-tipped Sharpie. And I use a front-pocket wallet with a clear driver’s license holder, so my ID is already there when I take my card out.

      That having been said, no one has asked me to see an ID in about two years because I always use self-checkout.

    70. anonymouscoworker says:


      The exact same thing happened to me at the post office. I was forced to sign the card in front of the clerk and then she checked the signature on the card with my signature on the receipt. I think I could see her brain leaking out of her ears.

    71. TheDude06 says:

      THANK YOU! for continuing to report on the acceptance of credit cards. Ive actually had merchants look in the visa merchant handbook, right in front of me as i explain to them how they are not allowed to ask for ID. Nod. then demand my drivers licence.

      Why doesnt visa care more about this? :(

    72. DashTheHand says:

      This happened to me at the Post office a couple weeks ago. I was annoyed that only now after YEARS of accepting my unsigned card as payment in which they can simply ask to see my STATE GOVERNMENT ISSUED IDENTIFICATION for verification, they instead choose to get all bitchy and say they cannot accept it.

      Well, sorry USPS, theres other businesses in town that aren’t as retarded as you are. I walked across the street and shipped the package UPS, who laughed at the stupidity of the Post Office when I told them what had happened.

      Point being: People DO NOT WANT to have their signature on a form of currency that people can possibly steal, have a perfect way to practice forging your signature, or not require any other form of ID when making a payment.

    73. WV.Hillbilly says:

      I could really give a shit about making “people like you” wait.
      Nobody’s that important or busy that they can’t wait another 30 seconds for someone to dig out their ID.

      I don’t sign or put anything on the back of my cards and the only place to ask for ID has been USPS. They accepted the card and it’s still not signed.

      The credit card prank:

    74. mac-phisto says:

      just a quick question…do all you folks that are concerned about forgers carry your credit card(s) in the same wallet as your photo ID? couldn’t a forger just SEE ID to find your signature & forge it?

      perhaps we should be arguing the merits of having our signature on gov’t-issued ID instead…

    75. nickripley says:

      @tinkyXIII: You should have had your credit card processing privileges revoked. You cannot require ID.

    76. abigsmurf says:

      If america used Chip and Pin this problem would be averted. Credit Card fraudsters are leaving the EU (which has CC fraud down) and using the US to commit fraud (fraud is up in the US).

    77. Froggmann says:

      I have had “Check ID” on my CCs for 6 years now? The times I have been asked to show ID? Maybe 5 times.

    78. INconsumer says:

      @Froggmann: because they don’t have to.

    79. babaki says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: marking up credit card purchases is now illegal in most states.

    80. toddkravos says:

      Well I my bank and Visa/MC need to get on the same page.


    81. CSR says:

      When I worked retail and I’d get those “See ID” cards, at least 7 out of 10 times the person would get openly hostile over my asking for the ID, usually saying something like, “Why do you need to see it?!?”. I’d then calmly show them where *they* had put “See ID”. Most of the time they’d apologize and say that nobody ever asked them for the ID so they’d forgotten it was on there. Um…maybe people don’t ask *because* they so often get screamed at for doing what you requested? Just a thought.

    82. nickripley says:

      These ID showing people really need to move to China where they can show their receipt (voluntarily, I am sure) for their lead-toys.

      If you DO refuse to sign your card, please call your issuer and tell them so. That will help protect those of use that choose to use our cards correctly.

    83. bpet says:

      @nickripley: I completely agree. I was at Macy’s the other day, which is a bad customer service experience in itself, and I was asked for photo ID when I used my credit card. When I pointed out that asking for ID violated credit card merchant agreements she pointed to a a sign that was on the checkout desk that stated that it was Macy’s policy to ask for ID.

      How does Macy’s so blantantly break their merchant agreement rules by having printed notices? I understand it somewhat when it’s a small mom and pop type store, but how does a huge company get away with breaking the merchant agreement?

    84. mechanismatic says:

      @nickripley: Your criticism seems contradictory. People who aren’t following the rules of the big corporations in an effort (misguided or not) to protect themselves from fraudulent activity by writing SEE ID on their cards may also be the same “rule-breakers” who would refuse to show their receipts. You’re criticizing people for not following the rules and then suggesting that they’re the type that blindly follow the rules. The two aren’t even related because there are examples of people who do one but not the other and people who do both and people who do neither. That’s like saying people who report the license plates of HOV lane abusers are also probably racists.

    85. forget using the postal service then. i will not sign my cards. ever. how disappointing that they are requiring me to be more susceptible to id theft just to use the card.

    86. Gopher bond says:

      To all who say the card isn’t valid if you don’t sign. That’s incorrect. I’m fairly sure if you’ve been using a card for years without a signature then you have ample evidence to prove that the card is quite valid.

      Kind of like a storm with winds of 73 MPH is technically not a hurricane but if it blows your roof off then you’ll get a punch in the snoot for arguing semantics.

    87. dlab says:

      I’ve NEVER had anyone turn one of my cards away. I don’t sign them. I’ve been asked for ID maybe 4 times. Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t something written in the signature panel. But I don’t sign them.

      Now, its interesting to note that the Mastercard instructions don’t specify WHAT TO DO WITH THE ID if you are having the cardholder sign the card in front of you. Does the name have to match the name on the card? Or the signature? Or does the signature on the card have to match the signature on the ID?

    88. nickripley says:

      @mechanismatic: That’s like saying people who report the license plates of HOV lane abusers are also probably racists.

      And how they are!! No, just kidding. I understand your POV on that. To clarify, I am looking at this from the perspective that:

      To me, showing ID when making a purchase, unless it’s for liquor or payment by check, is similar to the receipt check. I would NOT want this to get to a point where you HAVE to show ID to use a credit card.

    89. sibertater says:

      I don’t sign mine, nor will I. Right now I usually frequent places that have the “Swipe it yourself” things. I rarely EVER hand my card over and no one ever checks my I.D. I don’t sign.

    90. eain says:

      Hmm. What about carrying a dry-erase marker and signing it every time they ask?

    91. mac-phisto says:

      @testsicles: no, you’re wrong. lets see what visa’s take is on the matter (from “rules for visa’s merchants”, page 29 – [usa.visa.com]):

      “An unsigned card is considered invalid and should not be accepted.”

      you can read on about what a merchant is supposed to do when faced with an unsigned card or a SEE ID card. the simple fact is that an unsigned card is considered an invalid form of payment. whether or not you’ve had success using it in the past is irrelevant. a merchant is entirely within their rights under their merchant agreement with visa (& other networks) to refuse your card if you refuse to sign it.

    92. mechanismatic says:

      @nickripley: I agree about not wanting it to get to the point where you are required to show ID when using a credit card, but these people who write SEE ID on their cards are the ones who are inviting the identity verification. They’re not likewise inviting store clerks to check their receipts to make sure they paid for their items.

      The SEE ID is intended for consumer protection, something the concept of which we can all support. The receipt check is intended for corporate profit protection, something many of us could care less about.

    93. rdm24 says:

      Good insight, but speed and convenience is not the only point of credit cards.

    94. Consumer-X says:

      I sign all my credit cards with “This is a stickup. I have a bomb”.
      Life is too short to not have a little mature fun once in awhile.

    95. jesirose says:

      @mac-phisto: You have to sign your ID once in your life, when you get it originally. (or if you change your name, then as well of course) They carry the old signature to the new cards. My signature at 16 looks a HELL of a lot different than it does now. If someone signed my name that way, I’d have no difficulty saying it was not me. Am I supposed to update my Gov’t ID each time my handwriting matures?

    96. mrrbob says:

      I have see photo ID on all my cards. Any of you who don’t like it can kiss my ass. I use my cards very little but any store that gave me any crap about this would certainly lose the sale right on the spot. The main reason for this is to protect myself from idiot clerks and I don’t care if I am not liable etc for unauthorized charge. Bottom line is if I like it that is all I need to consider. I would certainly not get into an argument with a store about this. I would ether just walk away or pay with a check etc but I would not hold up the line for all of you “life takes visa” dickwads.

    97. Caroofikus says:

      I remember the guy checked my signature when i used my debit card once. And, no, I wasn’t using it as credit, I was using it as debit, with PIN and all. The best part was when he gave me a Vis-a-vis to sign it with. After he totalled my transaction and gave back my card, I licked it in front of him, wiped off the signature, smiled and told him to have a nice day.

    98. jackson2 says:

      I don’t understand not signing your card – if it is stolen and someone uses it fraudently, and the card is recovered ( and it often is) you may bery well be liable for the charges if your card is not validly signed. It helps to understand the concept that a credit card is not yours, it belongs to the credit card company, and you use it at their pleasure and your signature shows that you agree to the contract.
      Merchants who insist on seeing supplemental ID are violating the terms of their contract with the CC company.
      These things are like an urban legend.

    99. mwcooker says:

      I just returned from the post office and tried to use my master card and I was shocked to have them tell me that I had to sign my card. Well this was the first time I have ever be told that my card had to be signed. I had a military ID and a drivers license but was told that wasn’t good enough. This does not make sense because my signature is not as good as a picture in my opinon.

    100. business-owner says:

      I took a customer who did not have a signed card. I asked for their ID which it was the card holder’s ID and it was also the card holder. A couple days later, a Credit Card company calls me telling me that particular person did not make a purchase at my store … the person ended up ripping me off by calling the company