When it comes to paying for the items you want and need, money expert Clark Howard generally prefers that you use a credit card because of its many consumer protections.
Some people may think that signing the back of their credit card is a protection as well.
That’s essentially what Margo from North Carolina, a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast, asked Clark. “Is it wise to sign my credit card on the back?”
Should I Sign the Back of My Credit Card?
Clark says you should definitely sign the back of your credit card “and it’s very important to do so. If you don’t sign your credit card on the back and you inadvertently leave it somewhere or someone steals it, they sign their impression of your name and the signature will look perfect every time.”
What About Writing ‘See I.D.’?
Some people may believe that writing the words, “See I.D,” on the back of the card would prompt the cashier to perform a security check to make sure the person’s identification matches what’s on the card, but credit card companies say that’s not a protection at all.
Capital One says on its website, “For starters, signatures aren’t always required for credit card purchases under a certain amount. Merchant agreements might even prohibit a retailer from requiring a cardholder to present their ID in order to approve a sale.
Credit card company Discover says, “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 the customer’s 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.”
Clark says even though merchants may not emphasize the importance of signing the back of your credit card, you should do so.
“Please sign that card, even though it seems nobody ever looks at our signatures anymore. But you know who does? The [U.S.] Postal Service,” Clark says. “They even have a sign in a lot of post offices that they won’t accept a card for payment that doesn’t have a signature.”
To hear Clark’s full take on this question, listen to the segment:
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If you have a question but don’t want to go on-air, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center for free money help.