Anyone else having a hard time signing card?

US, Israel, Hong Kong, Japan, quite a few places it can happen.

There are several ways it can happen, tho the second is only common in the US:

  1. The terminal can not support or is not enabled for EMV, in which case magnetic stripe uses signature in most countries (online PIN in some).
  2. The terminal can support EMV, but not offline PIN (only really common in the US market).
  3. Offline PIN can be locked out (PIN try counter tripped) from three wrong PIN attempts. Signature is above online PIN on the CVM list for the Monzo card, so the card will revert to signature (which Monzo may decline, haven’t tried it).
  4. Contactless can be used for more than the local No CVM limit (e.g. £30 in the UK) and online PIN not be supported by the merchant. Monzo is likely to decline, but the transaction could be approved conditional on a signature, as in 3. (and yes, there are banks that will approve at least low-value transactions in 3).
  5. PIN could be bypassed by pressing ‘enter’ without entering a PIN or similar, depending on the terminal. This will then revert to signature, again. It may or may not be declined.
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Looking at that picture has taken me on an emotional rollercoaster, I don’t know how to feel about it.


Can’t remember the last time I signed my cards… even when in the states they never checked if the signature.

Small businesses will. It won’t matter for MasterCard soon enough. Signature will no longer be valid as CVM in the US for any fraud liability purposes (that is, shops will be allowed to treat signature CVM as No CVM for MasterCard in the US without any fraud liability fears).

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Not a single one did when I was in Portland and surrounding areas. Mostly independent breweries too, so they could be classed as small businesses. Even the smaller retailers I went to didn’t check. All big firms had contactless or pin so was irreverent.

Probably depends a lot on region. Missoula, MT (where I went to uni), they will check.


I literally just stopped in my tracks. That might be the most interesting bit of nearly needless trivia I have heard in a while! Is there any documentation on this?

I want to amaze friends with it at parties!

Just as soon as I get some friends.


I’m a bit sceptical myself. I don’t think it has anything to do with ATMs or anything… just the natural sealing of it with oils from handling it, whether in an ATM, a wallet, hands, etc.

ATMs often have quite a bit of heat inside them from the monitor (some still have CRTs) and computer, so it could be that simply putting the card in a relatively hot environment “seals” the signature strip.

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Missed the replies to this thread somehow. :see_no_evil:

I do believe it’s heat/friction that causes the strip to seal, not oils. It’s not specific to ATMs but ATM usage (if not cash withdrawal then changing PINs, etc) is the most common process for a new card that would evenly apply heat to that area.


Haha, same as me. Whenever someone sees my cards it drives them nuts. (I on the other hand find it quite useful)

So just tried to sign my card a few months after getting it and sure enough, can’t sign it. Pen just doesn’t write. Useful thread to find though.

Try a fine point permanent marker.

I use a fine point Sharpie

Please note that other fine point marker pens are available. :slight_smile:

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