Should I sign the back of my credit card?
Learn about signing the back of your credit card, writing “See ID” or leaving it blank.
November 9, 2021 5 min read
There was a time when signing your credit card was an important step in helping to prevent credit card fraud. When you paid with your credit card, the merchant would compare your signature on the receipt with the one on your card. If they matched, the merchant would approve the transaction.
These days, credit card purchases are securely authenticated electronically. So when it comes to preventing fraud, signing your card isn’t as important as it used to be. But should you still sign your credit card? Read on to learn about signing your card, tips to prevent credit card fraud and more.
Should I sign my credit card?
You may need to sign your credit card. That’s because some card issuers might require a signature to indicate the card is active and that you accept the terms of the credit card agreement. Some cards even feature a message that says something like:
- Not valid unless signed.
- Not valid without an Authorized Signature.
And since an unsigned card might be considered inactive and invalid, merchants may refuse to accept a card if it isn’t signed.
You can check with your issuer or check your credit card agreement to see whether you need to sign your card.
Where should I sign my credit card?
You’ll often find a blank white box on the back of your credit card. This is where you can sign your card.
Should I write “See ID” on the back of my credit card?
Instead of signing the back of their credit cards, some cardholders choose to write “See ID” instead. But why?
The idea is to prompt a merchant to compare the cardholder’s signature on the receipt with the one on the cardholder’s ID before authorizing the sale. In theory, this could reduce the chances of credit card fraud. But this may not work as intended for a number of reasons.
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.
And if your issuer requires you to sign your credit card, your card might still be considered inactive and invalid if you write “See ID” in place of your signature. You can check your credit card agreement or check with your issuer to see whether you need to sign your card or if writing “See ID” is OK.
Leaving the back of your credit card blank
Remember: Some credit card issuers might require a signature to indicate the card is active and that you accept the terms of the credit card agreement. An unsigned card might be considered inactive and invalid.
But keep in mind that not all credit card issuers require you to sign your card. If that’s the case with your issuer, you could choose to leave the back of your card blank.
And if your issuer doesn’t require you to sign your card, your credit card might not feature a signature box at all.
Ways to protect against credit card fraud
Remember: When it comes to protection against fraud, signing your card isn’t as important as it used to be. So consider these credit card safety tips:
- Don’t lend your card to anyone.
- If a transaction requires you to hand over your card, watch for any suspicious behavior.
- Save your receipts so you can compare them with your monthly statement.
- Shred your old statements and receipts when you’re ready to get rid of them. The same goes for your expired cards.
- Don’t give your account information over the phone unless you’re sure the caller is who they say they are. And if you’re not sure, ask to call them back—it can give you some time to check.
You should also be on the lookout for phishing scams that ask you to:
- Click links.
- Open attachments.
- Send money.
- Share personal information.
Some credit cards come with built-in features and benefits designed to help protect against fraud. And those safeguards may go beyond basics like your personal identification number, or PIN, and card verification value number, or CVV number.
Capital One’s credit cards, for example, may have available features like instant purchase notifications, fraud alerts, $0 liability for unauthorized charges, card lock and Eno, your Capital One assistant.1 2 3 Eno can even create virtual card numbers to keep your actual card number under wraps when you check out online.4
Monitor your credit for free with CreditWise from Capital One
Staying on top of your reports and scores could help you catch signs of fraud like:
- Unauthorized changes to your credit reports—like new accounts or addresses that aren’t yours.
- Big, unexplained drops in your credit scores.
One way to monitor your credit is with CreditWise. It gives you access to your free TransUnion® credit report and VantageScore® 3.0 credit score—without hurting your score. CreditWise is free and available to everyone—even if you’re not a Capital One customer.5