A Sign Of Being Bad With Money

, , , , | Right | April 4, 2021

In the days before chip-and-pin, let alone contactless payment, I’m working as counter staff at a major bank in one of our city-centre branches. 

A customer with an account with counter service comes in and wants to withdraw some money over the counter. He’s followed all the rules thus far, and he hands over his card. This is where things go south.

Me: “Sir, this card isn’t signed.”

Customer: “Yes, that’s right. I don’t want other people to be able to use it.”

Me: “Pardon?”

Customer: “Yeah, if I don’t sign it, they can’t copy my signature, and then they can’t pay with it as the signature will be wrong!”

Me: “O… kay, but how will they know it’s wrong without the signature on the card to compare it to?”

Customer: “Because it will not match the one I have on file with [Bank]!”

Me: “Sir, you do realise that we don’t keep your signature on file? That’s not how card security works!”

Customer: “That’s horribly unsafe! Give me my card back!”

Me: “I’ll need to see some ID first.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “This could be anyone’s card, since it isn’t signed. I have no way to tell it’s yours.”

Customer: “Here!”

The customer signs his signature on the back of a deposit slip.

Customer: “There, that will match the signature on my file. Look it up on your computer.”

Me: “Sir, again, we don’t have your signature on file. That’s why this is very unsafe and a major fraud risk. I can compare this to the signature on your card, or I can compare your card to any class one ID.”

Customer: “Just look it up on your computer.”

Me: “Sir, I don’t know how else to explain this to you. It doesn’t work that way. Banks, shops, anyone really, will only ever compare your signature to the one on your card. Doesn’t matter where you go or who you bank with. If you don’t sign the card, anyone can find it, sign it, and then freely use it without being questioned.”

Customer: “Well, that’s not right!”

The customer pulls out a driving licence. Thankfully, it’s a newer photo-ID one.

Me: “Very well, sir, here is your card. I can’t do anything with it, though, unless you sign it!”

The customer signs his card and we complete his transactions. On his way out, he evidently wants the last word.

Customer: “I’m going to complain about this! I can’t believe how insecure this is!”

After he stormed out, my supervisor popped her head over and commended my remaining calm. Seems some people are just idiots!

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