Working in retail sucks. But I would imagine my choice of a lifelong career in medicine would be worse, but that's besides the point of this little blurb. I hardly carry cash anymore because quite frankly I don't mess with wallets anymore (I use those nifty metallic devices from Bed, Bath, and Beyond), and I just use Debit and credit. As both somebody who works in retail and as a consumer, this issue is a huge concern for me. As 99% of you folks know, there's that little space on the back of a credit card where you have to sign. And I emphasize the words have to because most cards are not valid unless signed with an authorized signature. I would imagine there are exceptions to the rule. Here are the basics of credit cards on the consumer's end and on the merchant's end. A valid card is any card signed with a valid signature by the authorized user (and depending on the company, your signature either draws you into acceptance of terms with the credit card company or validates the card). In other words the only person who can sign the back of a card is the authorized user (the name of the person on the account) Merchants must accept all valid cards (I got to read part of Master Cards' little Merchant agreement). I bring this up because a customer, claiming Merchant Agreement, threatened to report me to American Express because I asked to see a driver's license for his credit purchase (if you're wondering the card was signed but more on that later). Besides some basic rudeness issues, I was upset because 99% of the customers I check ID on love me because I'm checking their I.D. for credit purchases. Most of them are elderly couple who have had their cards stolen. As one customer angrily told me (when I started out and didn't check I.D.), "people can forge signatures". So why is this guy all uppity with me for asking for I.D.? So I thought it was a rather smart thing when people wrote "See I.D." on their cards. I really didn't think much of the Merchant Agreement until I actually did some online research at the major cards (MC, VISA, DISC, and AMEX). Plus, there's that story on Best Buy Sucks as well where a lady, protecting her privacy, refused show of I.D. on grounds of the Merchant Agreement. I'm looking at this from both the consumer's and merchant's point of view. From the consumer's end and as an authorized user, I must sign my card. According to the company's reasoning, frauders can forge my signature if I leave my space blank. From the merchant's end, they must accept all valid cards (hence signed). Visa in particular has set up "tips" for preventing fraud. One is to match the signature of the credit receipt (or electronic receipt) to the one on the back of the card. A second tip is if it's blank, have them sign the card with I.D. present. A third tip (IMHO this is terrible) is to get a consumer to sign their credit card with their account name and show I.D. in the case their back space shows "See I.D. or C.I.D" I'm not joking So all that time I thought writing down "See I.D." was a smart thing. Turns out it's the wrong thing according to Visa. On Master Card's end, merchant's must accept valid cards (valid which I assume means signed by authorized user). So this presents an interesting problem. Given that most merchants are not witness to such signings, how are they supposed to know that only the authorized user is using the authorized card? Why the answer is simple! Compare the signatures (sarcasm alert)! As anybody who has had experience in retail can attest to, nobody's signature exactly matches to a reasonable degree, especially electronic signature capture devices. Even those who request physical signatures it hardly ever matches. Of course, there's always the stock answer from those that call Merchant Agreement that they can simply dispute the charges if their card gets stolen. As somebody who has heard countless horror stories about credit card theft/fraud, it's not that simple. There's also the privacy issue. Hey, it can happen, some hapless cashier can steal your billing address from your driver's license. If your card's signed, you shouldn't have to show I.D., right? After all, you are the authorized user with the authorized signature (heavy sarcasm alert). Seriously, it's ridiculous. I wonder about people like that sometimes. How paranoid can you be? I'm trying my best to prevent credit card fraud, and these people are worried about their address which because I'm so evil I'm going to remember their address from the amount of information I have to process that day and use it for my evil ends? I relate this story to several other not-so-paranoid customers, and they all tell me the same thing: their privacy is what they do in the bedroom, bathroom, the internet porn on the hard drive, and their finances. Otherwise, they're happy I check their I.D.'s . A lady who is a great customer requests for her I.D. to be checked. And you know what? She used black electrical tape on her address bar on her Kentucky license. The I.D. shows her face and name. It's a great compromise. I wish more of those people who are soooo protective of their privacy thought of something that inventive. In my experience, only two people have called Merchant Agreement on me, one threatening to report me. So my concern as a cashier is how am I supposed to protect those who use their credit card, and as a consumer how am I supposed to make sure that A). no one else but me uses the card and B). if somebody does do I have some guarantee that I can dispute the charges? Visa says I do, but my customers say otherwise. Personally, I hate the Merchant Agreement, and I now write See I.D. on all my cards. Of course, I could carry cash.