New Plus Card and old technology

A question about the new plus card I got today.

Where is the signature strip?. Some countries are still on the old magnetic strip and signing. If I can’t sign the card, how can I use it?

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Visa and Mastercard have changed their card design rules and they no longer require a signature strip to be present.

If you are asked to sign, just sign anyway and it shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re really worried about it, then carry a form of ID with your signature on and if you need to show your signature to compare to a receipt you can show that.

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See ID? That’s the favoured US solution, and seems like it ought to work anywhere

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Snap!

Great minds think alike, as they say.

A little bit more background on this: Visa and Mastercard have actually changed their card rules so that a merchant cannot use a signature to prove anything (e.g. if there is a card dispute, they aren’t allowed to produce a signature slip to “prove” you authorised a purchase).

This effectively means that the signature strip serves no purpose any more, as the merchant may as well not collect signatures. The idea is that eventually merchants will cotton on to this and stop asking you to sign receipts anyway, speeding up the purchase process.

A couple of cards in the U.K. have already gone this way. The first, I believe, was Bó, and more recently Curve’s new card design for their crowdfunding investors has done the same.

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As a rule, I’ve avoided signing my cards for several years and almost never had any issue with acceptance. A few times in the US for larger transactions I was asked for ID, but most of the time the signature on the card is superfluous since few merchants ever look at it. Many merchants in the US ask for a signature as some point of principle, even when paying via a terminal that supports Chip+PIN which issues a receipt stating “No signature required”. I’m pleased to see that a signature strip is no longer included on the card.

Interestingly though the one acceptance issue I had was the only reason my previous Coral Monzo card had been signed. This was due to an incident with a merchant at Bangkok airport. I was making a low value transaction, but they absolutely refused my Monzo card because it wasn’t signed. They insisted I sign the card there and then and were then immediately happy to accept it without any additional verification!

I note that Starling now put the card details on the back of the card as with the new Monzo Plus cards, but they still include a small signature strip.

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You bring up an interesting point Barry. The debate about whether or not to actually sign a card has been going on for years (ever since signatures started to be phased out).

The main benefit to not signing has always been that if you then lose your card, you have just lost a piece of plastic (particularly if your full bank account details aren’t printed on the card) whereas if you lose a signed card a potential bad-actor now has a copy of your real signature. They can then rehearse signing and do a reasonable replica of your signature, and if it ever came to it, it could be difficult to prove it wasn’t you who had signed. If you haven’t signed the back, even if they then sign in the blank space, it is reasonably easy for you to fish out a copy of your passport or something and prove that it isn’t your signature they have used - and it therefore wasn’t you.

So, historically, you then faced the choice, as a cardholder, to “do as your told” and sign the back of the card (even though there is a strong argument that this compromises your security) or leave it blank (but then it was so easy for a would-be criminal to sign in the space, which opened a can of worms since banks always tell you to sign, so they could claim you were negligent in leaving the space blank).

In a way, taking the strip off the back simply solves this debate, and comes down on the side of not signing. That way, there isn’t a strip for anybody to sign and nobody gets a copy of your signature either!

I agree with you that American merchants who are stuck in the past do often make a big deal over obtaining the signature, but anything which helps to kill this off is welcome! Practically speaking, I would not worry about it normally but if travelling to a “signature-fussy” country, like the US, Japan or remote parts of Asia/Africa, I would just make sure to always carry ID with me and probably a second card with a strip, just in case.

It’s worth noting that Mastercard and Visa rules also prohibit discrimination between cards - in other words, if you (as a shop) have signed up to accept Mastercard, then you cannot stop Mastercard cardholders from using their card in your store because you don’t like their particular card. This is the same rule that prohibits minimum payment amounts. So if they display the Mastercard decal, or specifically say that they won’t accept your card because it has no strip and “have you got a normal one”, then you can report them to Mastercard citing this rule and they will be reminded of their obligations! Personally, if somebody made it too awkward for me, as a legitimate customer, to spend my money I would have no qualms in walking out and letting it be known that I was taking my business elsewhere.

There was some similar discussion on this when Curve introduced their minimalist card over on the Curve Community and most people seem to agree that it’s the merchant’s problem, not yours, if they won’t accept your payment.

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PS: Specifically, the fraud liability point is explained well here (even if I do say so myself, quoting myself - I hope I can be forgiven for this!)

TL;DR
Merchants can’t use the signature in a dispute, so shouldn’t ask for it and even if they do you really ought not to hand your card over. They could pretend to be consulting the signature but really they are stealing your card details!

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That’s the magstrip for swipe. Not a signature strip :man_shrugging:t2:

Oops!

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Some banks say your cards not valid unless signed these words printed on the back of the card say you must sign before use

Out of interest, which countries still require this as I’m not familiar. Is USA one of them?

Merchants are required to process the card in line with the card scheme rules, which state that the collection of a signature is optional. In reality, most merchants have no need to collect the signature due to this, and therefore it shouldn’t be that common.

Banks/issuers can also now remove the signature strip, which unfortunately doesn’t yet seem to have become common.

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Unfortunately banks don’t want to update cards to no signature cause when I asked why to Barclays they said it’s security measure one of many like not having your full name on card or even mr or mrs to fool the fraudsters

I’ve literally never done that and nobody’s ever cared. The ink just seems to get smudged.

Some cards do away with raised numbers and signature and look not a real card like a short lived Ulster bank card I used it felt unreal to me but the new monzo Card feels real it’s better material