Sign Paper Only For Credit Cards

Over the past Christmas Holidays I worked for about two months in a computer store.

We had a typical type store where you sign your credit card on a machine. But every once in awhile I’d get a customer, always older (well older than me and I’m 46) who’d refuse to sign and say “sign paper”

So I’d have to get a manager override that would kick off the screen and print two receipts one for the customer and one to have him sign it. Then we’d stick the signed receipt in with our paperwork for our shift.

My question is, why do you think people distrust the machine so much? What do they think it’d capture their signature and there for be used against them?

If you work in retail, I’d be interested to know if any of you have had similar type experiences with people only wanting to sign paper.

This might not be the reason, but I find the friction between the stylus and plastic screen makes it difficult to write. Could it just be that signers don’t like the strange feel?

The thing is, it’s the retailer who takes the risk with a machine signature. Back when I used to try to sign my signature, it never resembled my actual signature. Now I just make a squiggly line.

They are probably worried that their signature is being electronically stored and they are trying to protect against identity theft.

But it is quite obvious that the siganture machine is not comparing the signature to anything on file. I just scribble something, the machine goes through a pause and says ‘verifing signature’ and then approves the sale. While Christmas shopping this year I made the comment to one clerk that I could sign Mickey Mouse and it would be approved and she said ‘yeah, I know’. The clerk never looks at your signature on the back of the card anymore or asks for ID, it’s all through the machine.

I no longer make any attempt to sign. Scribble, make an X like illiterate people used to do when signing, and even just a flat line. The machine does not seem to care. I do the same on paper reciepts like when dining out. Nobody seems to care.

Does the credit card company even have my signature on any electronic file? Maybe on the original application from many years ago. If the computerized system was actually attempting to compare signatures, you would periodically be asked by the credit card company to provide updated signatures.

Oh, and my official signature used when I actually sign something important is a very clear cursive writing like I was taught in primary school. Like on the checks I pay the credit card bill with or the application. All these things will have my official pretty, cursive signature.

To think that the card machine is comparing my scribbles to the signature on file is pretty funny. I’d say the handwritting comparison software need some improvement.

One of these days I’m going to give in to temptation and start signing the machine with names like Adolph Hitler, Kin Il Jung, Josip Broz, and the like. I’ll bet it won’t ever be noticed.

You wouldn’t be the first to try it.

This. I never sign my name on electronic signers. I just create a squiggly line. Yes, part of my refusal is so my signature is not recorded. Then again, it would not be the first time that a store would have its system monitored by war drivers sitting in the parking lot and recording everything coming across their unsecured wireless transaction system.

I had someone refuse to sign electronically because it wouldn’t look like his signature.

After consulting with a manager, we did manage to make a paper receipt print up for him to sign. The manager made a big production of checking his signature against his ID, as well.

I’ve also had occasion to note people printed and electronic sigs. They usually do match pretty closely.

Really? Other than the trailing line at the end, mine don’t look alike at all.
My paper sig clearly has the D and the A from my name, with some squiggly lines between. The electronic one looks like a long squiggly line.


Inherent distrust of The Man and this newfangled technology is why they want a paper receipt. Pinpads have gone through immense security changes in the last few years. Especially since identity thieves have used (read: stolen) them in the past for identity theft and fraud. All data is encrypted and they essentially brick themselves if someone tampers with them too much.

My understanding is that the signature machine pads record the signature, including the pressure applied (and possibly the timing?), such that it is demonstrably a unique identifier. It is not compared to some signature on file, nor to previous signatures on the machines (Aha! it IS/ISN’T you), but it can be compared to your signing the same name/squiggle/whatever should you contest the charge and say you didn’t sign it (Aha! that WAS/WASN’T you).

I can make the pinpad signature look recognizably like my paper signature. I couldn’t always, but either I’ve gotten better at using them or they’ve improved.

I don’t think you put anyone but yourself at risk by using something other than your standard signature on those things. The merchant is responsible for checking the signature against the one on the card, but if the merchant claimed to have done so (and could prove that they actually did in most cases) and you disputed the charge, would the credit card company or the bank be able to use the signature you provided as evidence that you did authorize the charge? (Or would they simply decide not to issue you any more credit, rather than dispute the charge with you, even in the case of a very large charge?)

If so, having a history of using varying or easily duplicable signatures would make it harder to argue with a claim that the signature really is yours.

My signature is no longer recognizable as any attempt at any sort of lettering in any alphabet. I have some loops at the left end, mostly overlapping, and a squiggle trailing off from it. If I get called on it, and I almost never do, I’ll sign my name and take more care the second time. But I pay so many things with a debit card these days that I’m gonna forget HOW to sign my name someday soon.

Nearly all of the major retailers that use electronic signatures at the checkout also have security cameras pointed at the registers.

Claim that the card was stolen and they pull the video from the timestamp on the receipt to see who actually made the squiggle, X, or Adolph Hitler.

If a store could pull up an image of me, at a register, signing a card scanner, but I didn’t use my real name, can the debt be held against me? Sure, they can probably get me on fraud or theft, but would the debt actually be mine? I’m sure I can’t sign my mortgage with a phony name and have it be binding, why would a credit card debt be different?

The act of “signing” is the significant part, not the specific name, or even if it’s a name at all. If you sign a contract with someone elses name, you, not Optimus Prime, are responsible for it. I’m reasonably sure ‘promises to pay’ work the same.

Additionally, the penalties for credit card fraud are almost certainly significantly higher than the price of whatever you’re trying to steal by using it . . .

For the record, the cashier is supposed to compare your signature to the signature on the card. If the card is unsigned, or if they don’t match, they are supposed to refuse the sale. So if this happens, it’s not the cashier being an jerk, it’s you.

You still sign for card payments in America? How will you cope when you catch up with the rest of the world and use chip&pin?

This is the process:

[li]You find a charge on your bill you don’t recognize.[/li][li]You contact your card issuer.[/li][li]They contact the merchant’s bank.[/li][li]They forward a copy of the transaction, including signature if available, to your issuer.[/li][li]The issuer forwards to you, asking, “Did you make this purchase?”[/li][/ul]

That’s the simplified version, they don’t check your signature against your application. In reality, depending on the dollar amount, anyone along the line can just “eat” the charge - because the cost of research and handling is greater than the amount of the charge.

I was going to say the same thing. I think 99% of stores and restaurants in the UK that accept credit or debit cards have chip and pin terminals.