How is you signature used when signing for a purchase?

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How is you signature used when signing for a purchase?

Postby s.jessica » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:23 pm

Something that has always had me baffled, when you swipe your card at a place like WalMart, then they make you sign in this little electronic box thing, how is you signature used?

The question came up because a friend recently wanted to show me something, they swiped their card at a self checkout and signed the box "Santa Claus". I always thought you could get in trouble for this???? I know they used to make you sign a paper slip then compared the signature to the back of the card, but I forgot to sign one of my cards, used it many times for months and nobody noticed. Then I hit a restaurant that made me show an ID and compared the name to the name on the card, then they caught that the card wasn't signed. Crazy place, I couldn't use that card because they said I couldn't prove who I was but I could use a different card with the same name on it???? go figure. At the next place the bill was $43 and I didn't have to sign or use a pin because they said it wasn't required for under $50.

So now if you don't have to spell you name correctly when you sign in the box, how would they use you signature?

Something interesting, a lady went into a small computer shop and bought over $2,000 worth of stuff with a stolen credit card, but she was gone for about 4 hours before the card was reported stolen. I'm curious how she signed when it wasn't her card.

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Postby MemberSince99 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:41 pm

Maybe as "Mrs. Claus"?

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Postby Money card » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:53 pm

very interesting question Jessica, I would assume if you went to a local merchant a restaurant with a credit card that you forgot to sign the back of it, as long as you have your drivers license or a picture Id you should be allowed to use that credit card assuming that your picture looks like you. now if you left your picture Id home then I can understand you not being allowed to use that card, but since you showed them your Id and the name matches what's on the license and credit card, it matched the other credit card this sounds like a restaurant mistake
by either the waiter or waitresses.

I don't think the computer knows how to send for example a Discover signed copy of a transaction, or a local merchant bank visa or Mastercard, or a Macys American express, Jess somewhere along the line some human being has to see these transactions , to distrubute them to the correct fincial source. if for example let's say somebody went to king kullen and charged 50.00 of merchandise using a wal mart Discover at the self checkout and somebody used a Discover escape , would the self checkout computer know where
to send both transactions? I agree with you I don't think anybody should write santa claus. I'm not going to say this will happen but it is possible this person could get in trouble, if they use this store all the time.

interesting question if somebody signs there name incorrectly how would they use the signature, since it has the account number I guess the financial company would take care of it.

she studied the name on the card , signed the transaction , hoped the cashier wouldn't ask her for Id and got lucky got away with it.

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Postby randeman » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:35 am

It's my experience that most merchants I present my cards to don't pay attention to the signature.

By signing the voucher, you're saying that you abide by the conditions of the contract you established with the card issuer when you used the card. In other words, you're saying that you will pay the charge in the manner agreed to when you accepted the card and used it. Take a look at the copy you get. Sometimes words to the effect, "I agree to pay this charge...etc, etc." appear on it.
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Postby nishant » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:17 am

It appears that big stores like Walmart want to relieve their associates from burden of verifying credit cards for achieving better efficiency which saves them money. Therefore, their associates donot even touch the card.

As long as something is scribed on the screen, it is accepted by computer as signature.

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Postby jriley » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:18 pm

This is an interesting debate, and it ties into the discussion about a merchant that ripped someone off using UPS in the AmEx forums.

Essentially, everyone wants you to sign so they can protect themselves. Merchants make you sign and save the receipt so that if you dispute the charge, they can 'prove' that they are not liable (which is what happened with the UPS issue). The card companies make you sign the back, because in the old days of cards, they would verify that original signature against what you signed for.

Now, with electronic signatures, large companies don't need to have the local stores mail a receipt. They simply pull the electronic signature off the transaction ID in their point of sales system, and send the banks an electronic copy of the signature.

Tons (and I mean tons) of information that the store captures and sends upstream to the processing networks never makes it to your statement, or anywhere useful. I have an IT company, and the software I use for POS sends the original IP address where the card number was entered, but I can never see it in my merchant interface, and the card companies don't show this to their cardholders.

I think over the next five years, just as you've seen pending transactions show live in your billing portal, the credit card companies will finally use this information to show detailed information about a transaction, including what you bought, who checked you out, etc. Banks and credit card companies are in a unique position of being expected to be on the cutting edge, but burdened with regulation and tradition.
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