I must admit that I am terrible at this. Every time I must sign a new credit card it smears or looks nothing like my signature. The search for the best pens to sign credit cards with is my personal challenge. I typically grab any random pen hoping it is the best pen to get the job done. I rarely ever use black as I prefer blue pens to black. This has to do with always needing to know the difference between a copy and the original. This is my thing. I digress; however, I tend to always make a mess of the whole signing situation with a simple stroke of a pen. Therefore, the pens I have used in the past may not be the best pens to sign credit cards. Let’s delve into this dilemma.
Types Of Pens
The first place to start is with some commonly recommended pens for signing the back of a credit card:
- Permanent markers: A fine-tipped permanent marker, such as a fine-tip Sharpies, is a popular choice for signing credit cards. The ink is water-resistant and resistant to fading and smudging.
- Gel pen: A gel pen can provide a smooth, consistent line and is less likely to smudge than a ballpoint pen. Look for a gel pen with waterproof ink to help prevent fading and smudging.
- Fine-tip ballpoint pen: If you prefer a ballpoint pen, look for one with a fine tip. This will help you create a clear, legible signature without the risk of smudging.
- Metal-tipped pen: A pen with a metal tip, such as a fountain pen, can provide a classy, sophisticated look to your signature. However, be sure to use water-resistant ink that doesn’t smudge easily.
Per Credit.org, to sign [a credit card], use a felt-tipped pen. This pen will allow the ink to stay, prevent it from smearing, and prevent it from soaking into the plastic of the various payment cards.
Color and Quality Of The Ink
Should you use blue or black ink? Like me, banks and credit card companies prefer customers to use blue ink when signing any financial document. It enables them to be able to distinguish between the actual and a copy of the document. Likewise, using blue ink for the credit card signature enables the retail establishment to quickly locate the signature to verify your credit card with another form of identification. Hence, credit card transactions that may need to be verified will require the right pen to create a legible signature.
However, the most important factor to consider when choosing a pen to sign your credit card is the quality of the ink. Look for pens with waterproof, fade-resistant ink that won’t smudge easily when signing your new credit card or debit card. Hence, it does not matter what type of card you are signing only that you are signing the back of the card with a good quality, blue ink pen.
Where, How, And Why Do I Sign the New Card?
Now that you have decided on the perfect pen for signing the back of your credit card. Go to the back of your card to locate the signature strip. It will typically be a white strip on the back of the card. However, I do have a card with a gray strip. For the sake of clarity, I suggest you sign the strip using your regular signature. This is not the time to be super fancy. Besides, you want your full signature to fit onto the signature strip for ease of comparison. Take your time because the plastic surface can make it difficult to get your true signature just right.
Please note that technically, an unsigned card is not considered valid until you sign it. Some credit card companies may stipulate that an unsigned card is not valid until it is signed by the authorized user. Therefore, take the time to sign your card because by signing the card you are agreeing to the terms and conditions for using the card.
Finally, some merchants may decline a purchase without the required signature. In the past, I have had my unsigned credit card returned to me for signature. They did not refuse the sale, but I had to sign the card on the spot and provide identification. Finally, during an experience with identity theft, I requested a signature requirement for comparison for all transactions for a few of my cards. This was a tremendous help when I was concerned about credit card security years ago.
Other Uses For Blue Pens
The next place to use your pen beside the back of the credit card is the credit card receipt. A store clerk or wait staff at a restaurant always requires a signature for the receipt. I am pretty sure that they take a moment to compare the signature so make sure the signature on the back of your card matches the signature on the receipt.
I would also like to recommend that the credit card application be filled out in a blue pen as well. You can use a pen with gel inks, a fine tip, or any kind of pen you desire. However, as a great option, I would recommend all legal documents with personal information should be signed with some kind of pen using blue ink. A black pen would be hard to determine the original from the copy. Also, using bright colors such as green or red are not considered to be professional colors to use on an important document.
Credit Card Fraud
Having a signed card will not prevent scammers from stealing your credit card information and stealing your identity. They have used offline and online methods to obtain your credit card information. Offline thieves may use skimming devices, look through your trash, watching over your shoulder. Online they may use phishing, malware or spyware, data breaches, or public Wi-Fi. To learn more about these types of scams to beware of click here. However, financial institutions are not just sitting on the sidelines. They have many tools that work and are better than a simple signature.
Stronger Credit Card Security
A simple signature alone will not prevent your credit card from being stolen or identity theft to be prevented. Therefore, a credit card company or most financial institutions will not simply rely on a signature to protect their customers. Typically, a card Identification number (CID) or a card verification value (CVV) is needed to complete a transaction. The CID number can be found next to the signature strip box and is a 3-digit number. The CID number is typically a 4-digit number on the front of an American Express card. Along with the expiration date, they allow a credit card transaction to be completed. To learn more about these codes click to read What Do CID and CVV Mean On A Credit Card.
EMV chips are another method used to combat credit card fraud. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard®, and Visa® and refers to the increased security of payment card transactions through the use of a chip embedded in credit, debit, and prepaid cards per CNB Bank. According to Visa, counterfeit fraud dropped 76% between 2015 and 2018 among merchants who adopted EMV card readers per Chase.com. You simply must dip or insert your card into the card reader machine. Hence, the traditional method of swiping the credit or debit card is almost obsolete. In addition, the tap method is becoming more common as it helps to prevent skimming machine scams.
What Can Consumers Do Besides Using The Best Pens To Sign Credit Cards?
You can be ever vigilant by making sure…
- Your credit cards are signed with a blue felt-tip pen.
- Keep your credit cards always in your possession.
- You can avoid giving out your credit card and personal information to strangers.
- Ensure that you are using your cards at reputable establishments on and offline.
- You set up alerts with your financial institutions for every card-not-present transaction.
- Freeze your card when not in use via your banking app.
- You can freeze your credit information with the 3 large credit bureaus.
Additional Reading For You
Is Credit Card Fraud A Felony?
How To Manage Credit Card Debt