Visa Fraud Guides: Credit Card Processing and Merchant Accounts

My post office just put up these signs about how important it is to sign your credit card. It is yet another thing that bugs me about credit cards at point of sale… read it and see if you can figure out what the problem is.

Think about what this is saying!

If my card is not signed, the merchant must check my ID.

If the card is signed, he needs no other ID than to check the signature on the slip to make sure it matches the card.

Which of these authentication systems is more secure? The problem with putting your signature on the card is that it gives a credit card thief ample time to learn how to copy it. I don’t know about you, but forging a signature (especially the barely legible ones on the back of a credit card) are not exactly difficult. Why give the thief something to practice on?

Naturally, having an unsigned credit card lets him put his own version of your signature on the card, so that’s really no better than signing it, I understand that.

But really, isn’t it time to come up with something better to prove a credit card holder is who he claims to be? Many banks put photos on the cards. Sounds perfectly reasonable. Or, sure, ask for ID every time. But trying to claim that “matching signatures” equals security… sheesh, I know nonsense when I see it.

Visa Fraud Guides: Credit Card Processing and Merchant Accounts

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Christopher Null

Christopher Null is a veteran technology journalist and the owner of Null Media, a custom blogging company.