Do you still sign the back of your credit cards?

Amex just sent me a replacement for a card that is about to expire. I noticed that there is no place on the card or in the accompanying letter that actually instructs the member to sign the card. Is there any reason to keep signing cards? I don’t think a single sales clerk has taken the time to look at my card signature since the 90s.

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Since 2018, none of the credit card networks (AMEX, VISA, Mastercard or Discover) require signature any more since it’s not a good way to prevent fraud. Prior to that, you could sign whatever, whether it matched your signature was never an issue so they decided to do away with it.

I’m not sure why we’re still signing some receipts at some merchants to be honest. But since the networks no longer require it, I guess it’s down to issuers still requiring it or not. Maybe AMEX on their own non co-branded card decided it was silly to keep the signature pad if they were never going to require it.


It was never about fraud. It was about accepting the terms of the credit card agreement. Merchants checked signatures to verify the card was “valid” (the terms had been ‘accepted’). Anyone scrutinizing the signature was doing so on their own prerogative. Thus why when facing an unsigned card, they’d require you to sign it right then - obviously your signature will match the card you literally just signed, but that wasnt the purpose of making you sign it.

Similar with signing the sales slip/PIN pad. It does nothing to prevent fraud claims, but it helps the merchant show that someone did in fact accept the charge when there is a chargeback.


I haven’t signed my cards for probably 8 years…

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I don’t sign my card ever because it is not a good way to prevent fraud. A fraudster could just learn the signature and practice.

If I am asked to sign something I just put a line as fast as possible. I have never had anyone care that it was just a line.


I continue to sign my cards religiously. What really surprised me is that my newest Fidelity visa card did not have embossed numbers. It makes sense, but it was the first one that I’ve gotten that can’t be run through a manual machine. I still have a problem knowing which end is up. Previously, I just felt for the numbers and automatically knew where the magstripe and chip were located.

the only time I’ve signed in the last few years have been at restaurants.

That’s just so they have a reason to put that tip line in front of you.


Yeah, the credit card machine have trouble with the pens breaking too.CVS_CC_Machine


I never signed cards. I was given issue one time in Europe. They made me sign the back of my credit card and they told me it had to match the signature on my driver’s license. Weirdest thing ever.

What really surprises me is that you are just experiencing this for the first time. I’ve been getting cards with printed numbers on them for nearly a decade and a half. If I had to guess, I’d say my first one was a debit card from ING Direct.

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That’s not true. The Visa Merchant Guide from 2017 says: “The final step in the card acceptance process for transactions is to verify the cardholder’s signature, PIN or other methods as required in the Visa Rules. […] All attended devices must support signature cardholder verification. Depending on the Visa card product and point-of-sale terminal processing system, the customer should be in full view when signing the receipt or point-of-sale terminal signature window display. If possible, check the two signatures closely for any obvious inconsistencies in spelling or handwriting.”

From the same document: "If a customer gives you an unsigned card, the following steps must be taken:

  • Check the cardholder’s ID. Ask the cardholder for some form of official government identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. Where permissible by law, the ID serial number and expiration date should be written on the sales receipt before you complete the transaction.
  • Ask the customer to sign the card . The card should be signed within your full view, and the signature checked against the customer’s signature on the ID. A refusal to sign means the card is still invalid and cannot be accepted."

See pages 35-36:

I agree that in practice the whole signature thing is totally useless. But it was actually the intent that that the signature be compared and used the validate the identity of the cardholder.


The one and only time I’ve signed a card is when I was at the Post Office (it’s been a few years). They required a signature, so I signed it in front of them, repeating what I’m sure they’ve heard a thousand times about the signature matching.

My credit card says ask for identification. Florida (my home) is a big fraud state. I rarely am asked for identification but the rules state unsigned card needs identification. Its a Catch 22 and fun at the register,


Is that in addition to your signature?

No. Just ask for identification/ Match to name on card

I presume your card has never been rejected for not being signed? Another example of why the signature box was useless in practice. Not only do cashiers rarely even bother to check the signature, but they don’t even follow the rules when they see the card is unsigned.

Good riddance on the signature and the signature panel.


I’ve heard of other people mentioning it, but until this year, my multiple Chase Visas, Amexes, Discover, and a couple of MCs all could have been run thru a manual machine.