Can anyone use your credit card in the US?

Ok, Scotsman here, clearly not well travelled. I’ve been curious about this for a while and another thread on here just reminded me.

I see all the time on US TV and movies, people taking other peoples credit cards to use. Sometimes they have permission sometimes not. Sometimes it’s kids using daddy’s card.

From that i take it that it’s allowed to give your crdit card for someone else to use?

Is that true? Or are all these people committing fraud? What happens when they make a purchase? Do they need to sign the card holders name or their own? Can a retailer really accept a credit card from a minor just because the kid says ‘Daddy says it’s ok?’. Is the retailers only obligation to ensure the card is not listed as stolen and if not anyone can use it?

FYI - Although it would historically have been easy enough to fake a signature it has never been acceptable for anyone to use a credit card in someone elses name in the UK. We now have a PIN system in use and a signature is no longer required/acceptable. Is PIN authentication used in the US?

A lot of retailers would look at a kid trying to use a CC, & phone the cops.
Others would demand ID.
Some just don’t care, or are in knowing collusion with thieves.
It depends.

I don’t know, it probably depends on the area. Around here lots of people over the age of 10 have credit cards in their name. Sometimes they’re just a “user” on the account, sometimes it’s actually cosigned in their name. People here are so diverse that unless something is obviously wrong it’s not likely to get noticed. I’ve used other people’s cards before and they’ve used mine - usually if the gender of the first name is obvious and mismatched with the user it might raise eyebrows. Most of the time the teller never even sees the card, you just swipe it and go. Some stores even forego the whole signature business for small transactions now.

It’s probably allowed by law to use somebodies card with permission, and probably even by the CC agreement, but since the merchant is most likely be liable in case it turns out you did not in fact have permission most merchants won’t knowingly take a third party card.

Bosda’s right. It all depends on the diligence of the retailer or merchant. You may authorize another to use your card, but it’s up to that person to persuade the retailer or merchant that he or she is actually authorized to do so, and may be more trouble than it’s worth.

Every sales clerk or person handling your card at the point of sale should, at a minimum, compare your signature on the sales receipt to the signature on the back of the card, but this rarely happens, in my experience. Some credit-card readers (such as at gas stations or pharmacies) don’t require your signature at all. At the other extreme, some clerks (as at the movie theater where I bought tickets to Cars last night) will actually ask to see another ID (in this case, my drivers license) if you want to use a credit card, but this is rare.

We have PINs for ATM and banking cards here, and there’s a special three-digit number on the signature strip of most credit cards, but it tends to be asked for only in transactions over the telephone or on the Internet, and not always even then. YMMV.

You can do as you please EXCEPT that you are responsible for all charges to the credit card UNLESS you can prove fraudulent usage.

My daughter (adult) makes purchases from merchants in conjunction with merchants ID card or using PIN. Also ATM withdrawals. All transactions are with my prior knowledge and consent.

ALSO for your protection: DO NOT SIGN BACK OF CREDIT CARD.
Make notation in signature space: ASK FOR PHOTO ID. Or use Ink Marker to over print the signature in bold lettering.

And if the merchant is following the terms of the merchant agreement, he will make your life very difficult for doing so. So just sign the freaking thing.

As others have said, it depends on where. For example, when I was in college, I used my mother’s credit card at the bookstore. It was accepted, many people were doing it, because college students generally don’t have that kind of money to buy those expensive books. However, if you go to a store, sometimes they will flat-out refuse…sometimes they won’t even notice.

I have been putting “Ask for photo I.D.” on all my cards for over 20 years, only once have I ever been questioned about this, and a request to talk to management got the transaction completed. Most retailers don’t enforce basic security measures and a stolen credit card will likely be accepted w/o question, but I see this as an added level of protection for myself in the event it comes down to proving who is responsible. When a clerk sees my notation and asks for I.D., I always thank them for doing so.

I don’t want to be a junior mod, but this is a pointless hijack of the OP and is also something we’ve covered extensively in prior threads.

And to answer the OP, we in the US don’t use PINs with credit cards so someone else could use your credit card. (In fact I’ve deliberately scrawled my signature, particularly on those screens where you use a stylus, just to make it look different.) The big thing is that if you claim that the charge was unauthorized, the credit card company or merchant may go after the card user.

Your card is not valid unless it’s signed. You can write “CID” or “SEE ID” in tandem with your signature, if you choose. (All of my cards have first-dollar theft protection and I’m dilligent with watching balances and usage). According to VISA/ Mastercard’s merchant agreement, the vendors are not to ask for ID. They are to match the signature on the back and if there’s a problem, they are to call the card company. Asking for ID can terminate the usage agreement and the vendor’s ability to take the cards.

As for using other people’s cards in the US. Well, with those guidelines in place, it’s pretty easy. Most gas stations have “pay at the pump” which I’m sure is an easy way to use a credit card.

I used to have a cell phone through my parent’s work which had a really good discount. ($15/month for 300 anytime minutes and 1000 nights and weekends through Sprint). To get the deal, you had to be an employee, so the phone was set-up in my dad’s name, but the bills came to me. When I paid them with a credit card online, it would only take credit cards with his name on them. So, I would enter his name and my card number. It worked everytime even though his name is nowhere on that card account (different last name and everything).

A person may also add you as an authorized user which means that that person is responsible for all charges that you make and in some cases it will just report to his/her credit report or it may also report to both of yours.

Who ever signs the back is the authorized user.

Not signing the card allows anyone to sign and use it. As far as the merchant is concerned the person who signs is the authorized user.

The only time a merchant is suppose to ask for ID is if the card is unsigned, and to complete the purchase you have to sign it in front of him.

If you have ‘Check ID’ on your card by itself, technically your signatures don’t match and he can refuse to accept it, that is unless you sign the slip ‘Check ID’. Showign ID does not solve this problem as the authorized signature is “Check ID”, it does not matter who is on the front of the card.

The only benefit may be a slight deterrent effect if someone finds it, but all in all I think it’s not a great idea.

I’d be interested in knowing how strict retailers in the UK and other countries are in accepting CC’s.
Everytime this comes up we always have a few poster who want to spout contractual legaleeze, but the reality is that retailers in the U.S. are very cavalier about CC transactions and everyone, whether you have a CC, or not, ends up paying for this. Many people get impatient when asked for verification, I think this needs to change. If retailers start meeting their responsiblities it will soon become the norm and consumers will recognize the advantages and stop complaining.

Retailers are meeting their responsibilities, one of which is NOT to ask for another form of ID if the card is signed.

Then the procedures need to change. It’s ridiculous that consumers be saddled w/ billions of dollars in CC fraud each year, just for the sake of convenience.

But the consumers are not saddled with the amount of the fraudulent purchases. That is something that the CC companies have to handle and if the amount gets too much for them to handle I’m sure they will change their policies

Procedures are changing. Pretty soon the CC will not even have to leave your hands at all. You just will tap it on a panel and the change is made, no signature, no verification at all. These are for small amounts however. Most gas stations also have pay at the pump where again no signature, no verification required. It also is a place where thiefs try out CC’s to see if they work before they buy the big stuff. If the CC is marked stolen then the pump won’t turn on and they drive away - no confrontation.

I know you ment things should change to the more secure, and I had high homes that the PIN numbers* would make it’s way to CC’s but that hasn’t been the case. I do expect that eventually some form of technology will eventually surplant it, perhaps a fingarprint scan, automated signature reconition system, or a ‘mark of the beast’ implant into the body.

  • I used the term PIN numbers knowing perfectally well what PIN means, now if you excuse me I have to get my scuba apparatus ready for my next dive :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually, french retailers don’t really need to be strict. It’s the first country where chips on cards have been implemented, so it has been this way for a long time (15 years maybe? I remember signing slips when I was in my late teens) You just can’t use a card without a PIN . If you know the correct PIN, then the merchant has his ass covered, so nobody ever ask an ID or check the signature when you pay with plastic.

Of course it means that anybody can use your card if you give him the PIN, since the retailer won’t even bother looking at the card. I many times handed my card to my ex, and nobody ever noticed it was a female using a card with a male name on it.
By the way, why the PIN only begins to be used when chips are implemented too? After all, a magnetic strip suffices to use a PIN when withdrawing money from an ATM. Why wouldn’t it work the same way wihen you buy from a shop? What difference does the chip make?

Thereby letting anyone who steals it know exactly what your signature looks like. I’ve never had my credit or debit cards declined because they’re unsigned. Most places are set up so that the clerk never actually sees the card and if they do they rarely look at the back.

Do you seriously believe that? Financial businesses are no different then any other business, they must make a profit, over and above their expenses, and they price their goods and services accordingly. Theft and fraud are a cost of doing business and they are going to factor that into their price to the consumer. All of us are paying the cost of this, just for the sake of a little convenience. There are effective ways to fight unauthorized CC use, but as long as we, the consumers, are gullible and apathetic, the CC companies will continue to accept the losses and pass the cost on to us.

They are not suppose to decline them, they are just suppose to ask for ID and have you sign them infront of them (this is the only time a merchant may ask for ID for a CC transaction). I don’t even think the ID has to match the front of the card, just that your signature matched the signature you present on the ID.

Though rare I have need merchants require ID and signing the card in front of them to complete a transaction.