In a “perfect world” which still has credit card fraud, I’d support checking IDs, but to be effective at preventing theft there are a few requirements at the point of sale:
[li]Be reasonably sure the ID is real[/li][li]Believe the person showing the ID is in fact the one the ID belongs to[/li][li]Verify the credit card and the ID are issued to the same person[/li][li]Verify that the swiped/electronic information on the credit card is the same as the printed information on the credit card[/li][/ul]
Based on my experience of presenting IDs at bars, airports, sporting events, etc. I suspect that if showing an ID for a credit card transaction were standard, it would consist of one step:
[li]Something that looks like a driver’s license is shown[/li][/ul]
In that case, and if if the steps above aren’t followed (and possibly more, those are just what I could think of right now) then showing an ID for a credit card purchase is just theater. Of course none of that does anything to protect against non-card-present transactions.
I have had my card fraudulently used for card-present transactions, in a foreign country, when I’ve had all copies of the card in my possession. It’s very easy to write new numbers onto the magstrip of a credit card. I don’t know if that requires writing my name, too, or if just the numbers and expiration date can be written. Even so, the cashier where the card was used (two £100 cash advances in a grocery store in the UK) didn’t notice that the swiped number did not match the number on the card. Or possibly the thief printed cards with the correct number, that is also a pretty easy thing to do.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the next year or two following the changes by the recent settlement between merchants and card processors. That coming at the same time as the start of NFC/RFID based phone wallets means things could look very different in 5 years.