The back of my American Express does not have a space for a signature.
It does have my picture, however.
At every place I go to, except one, when I give them the Amex and they ask for ID, I tell them it’s on the back of the card … then they look, and say “OK,” and move forward with the process.
They aren’t looking at the picture long enough to compare it to me. They aren’t looking from the picture, to my face, to the picture, for similarities and details. Also, I was wearing a hat in the picture (normally not allowed), my glasses are almost invisible, and I have a mustache and soul patch. Presently, I am bald of head and face. I’ve never been challenged beyond the barest of glances at the back of the card - enough to see that there is, in fact, a picture … but not who the picture is of.
Never, that is, except for at Gamestop in Simi Valley. There’s one employee there who insists on seeing my ID when I use my Amex there. Even though I’m picking up a pre-ordered item that was ordered with this credit card online, and can only be picked up with this card. Even though she recognizes me from previous visits, and even called me by my first name on my last visit. Even though the depression of the credit card numbers goes through part of my picture on the back of the Amex so that you can visibly see that I haven’t taped a new picture over it.
And yet, every time, 3 times in a row now, she’s insisted on seeing my ID in addition to the picture on the back. “They’ve found a way to fake even that,” she says. Of course, she gives the driver’s license I show her no deeper of an examination than other merchants give my Amex.
So this is a slightly different situation than Visa (no sig, but there is a pic), but does still directly have to do with a merchant’s responsibilities and what they are not allowed to do.
Not that I am against showing her the additional ID (I kind of like that at least some merchants make a token effort to prevent fraud when so few others do), but is my picture being on the Amex legally or contractually enough? If I’m able to fake my pic on an Amex, wouldn’t I also be able to fake my pic on the Driver’s License (which she did not ask me to remove from my wallet)?
Maybe someday we’ll have a combo retinal + blood + fingerprint + DNA scanner that’s verified wifi+ unalterable magnetic strip + keypad entry + electronic signature + telepathic confirmation.