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Legally Changing Your Signature


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#1 wintermute

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 19:51

I've been working on developing my handwriting from chickenscratch to some sort of legible italic (pretty good with print, still working on the cursive). I've gotten to the point where I am now embarrassed about my signature and enjoy doing it in cursive italic. How does one go about changing their signature in this day and age without encountering any sort of issues from credit card companies, banks, etc.? Not to mention the letters and reports I type at work...

#2 BillTheEditor

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 19:56

QUOTE (wintermute @ Aug 26 2008, 02:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've been working on developing my handwriting from chickenscratch to some sort of legible italic (pretty good with print, still working on the cursive). I've gotten to the point where I am now embarrassed about my signature and enjoy doing it in cursive italic. How does one go about changing their signature in this day and age without encountering any sort of issues from credit card companies, banks, etc.? Not to mention the letters and reports I type at work...

SFAIK, the only essential things to do are to change the signature on any signature cards at your bank(s), and have the credit card companies send you new cards so you can sign them. (I actually never sign the backs of my cards. Instead I write in, "Please ask to see my i.d." This has not caused a problem (yet) in all the years I've done it. When you get your driver's license renewed, remember to use your new signature. Ditto on voter registration cards. These last two are probably less important -- your drivers license has your photo id on it, and normally when you vote they ask for photo id for verification.

Letters and reports at work ... pfffff-ttt- You usually have your name typed somewhere on these. People know you. Unless there's some kind of security clearance thing going on, don't worry about it, is my advice.

#3 jbb

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 20:00

My signature really changed when I started using dip pens on my checks. My bank called one day to verify that the signature was really mine. They had me sign a second signature card and now have both on file.

#4 RayMan

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 00:05

I've radically changed my signature over the last year. My new signature bears little resemblance to my old signature. I sign most of the checks issued from my office. My wife (who is the office bookkeeper) brought out a sample of my old signature to compare to my new one, and she thought that the difference was striking. I've had no issues whatsoever.
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#5 HLeopold

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 00:14

QUOTE (jbb @ Aug 26 2008, 03:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My signature really changed when I started using dip pens on my checks. My bank called one day to verify that the signature was really mine. They had me sign a second signature card and now have both on file.


Only 2 bank signature cards? I should be so lucky, I have had up to 6 at one bank (I sometimes will sign left-handed instead of right-handed, my signature also changes a lot during migraine season.) My new bank, I have only been with it for about 22 years, knows that I will accidentally sign left-handed, but found that it matches my right-hand signature, only mirrored, so I have fewer cards on file.

I was born a lefty, but Catholic grade school made me a righty, sort of, now I am equally inept with both.

The bank is the only place I have ever had any problems, minor as they have been, when it comes to signatures, so I doubt that the OP should need to do anything as far as changing his/her signature other than adding a new card at the bank.
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#6 James P

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 00:17

There's no legal requirement that your signature remain the same, or even that it has to be in cursive, or even that your "signature" is your name. It can be an X or any mark you make. In most circumstances, all that is required is that your signature be a mark indicating your intent to authorize the transaction or be bound by the agreement.

#7 jbb

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 00:54

QUOTE (HLeopold @ Aug 26 2008, 05:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Only 2 bank signature cards? I should be so lucky, I have had up to 6 at one bank (I sometimes will sign left-handed instead of right-handed, my signature also changes a lot during migraine season.) My new bank, I have only been with it for about 22 years, knows that I will accidentally sign left-handed, but found that it matches my right-hand signature, only mirrored, so I have fewer cards on file.

When is "migraine season?"


#8 RLTodd

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 00:57

AIR, my Credit Union dispensed with signature cards decades ago. They ask for picture identification.

Otherwise. Your signature is what you make it.
YMMV

#9 wintermute

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 13:19

Thanks everyone - now I can dispense with my old signature - it just isn't me anymore.

#10 MYU

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 13:38

QUOTE (BillTheEditor @ Aug 26 2008, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
SFAIK, the only essential things to do are to change the signature on any signature cards at your bank(s), and have the credit card companies send you new cards so you can sign them. (I actually never sign the backs of my cards. Instead I write in, "Please ask to see my i.d." This has not caused a problem (yet) in all the years I've done it. When you get your driver's license renewed, remember to use your new signature. Ditto on voter registration cards. These last two are probably less important -- your drivers license has your photo id on it, and normally when you vote they ask for photo id for verification.

I wrote the a similar thing on credit cards ("Please see Photo ID"). Maybe in 1 out of 20 transactions I make where I hand over my credit card (the user serviceable swipe machines seem to have discouraged cashiers from checking), does the cashier ask me to see ID. It just goes to show you how signature matching is not well enforced.

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#11 Chemyst

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 16:35

QUOTE (MYU @ Aug 27 2008, 06:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (BillTheEditor @ Aug 26 2008, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
SFAIK, the only essential things to do are to change the signature on any signature cards at your bank(s), and have the credit card companies send you new cards so you can sign them. (I actually never sign the backs of my cards. Instead I write in, "Please ask to see my i.d." This has not caused a problem (yet) in all the years I've done it. When you get your driver's license renewed, remember to use your new signature. Ditto on voter registration cards. These last two are probably less important -- your drivers license has your photo id on it, and normally when you vote they ask for photo id for verification.

I wrote the a similar thing on credit cards ("Please see Photo ID"). Maybe in 1 out of 20 transactions I make where I hand over my credit card (the user serviceable swipe machines seem to have discouraged cashiers from checking), does the cashier ask me to see ID. It just goes to show you how signature matching is not well enforced.


Which is more troubling? The fact that signature matching isn't enforced or that once the cashier sees your invalid card, they still allow the transaction?

#12 Maria

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 16:36

Dear Wintermute;

I am retired from the legal and enforcement world for over 15 years now.

Although not required and agreeing to those who have posted; in any drastic change and in the course of any legal document that is questioned, such as in disputes; it would not hurt to have you make several signatures of your new signature and then take it to a notary public.

I say this, as being in 'questioned document section' there are certain characteristics that are fingerprints to a person's signature time and time again. Most times, ball point pens give unquestionable fingerprints however, the pressure on paper is not the same with fountain pens and or dip pens in copperplate or spencer hand.

I would write signatures when fresh, tired, in a hurry and in the best of character. Then write a few signatures in front of the notary. That way, should anybody question your documents after your passing; the samples will aid the legal community in establishing the writing as yours.

Notary Public is a free service in most banking institutions.

Just some thoughts.

Respectfully,
Maria

QUOTE (wintermute @ Aug 27 2008, 09:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks everyone - now I can dispense with my old signature - it just isn't me anymore.



#13 BBailey

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 16:53

QUOTE (BillTheEditor @ Aug 26 2008, 12:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (wintermute @ Aug 26 2008, 02:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've been working on developing my handwriting from chickenscratch to some sort of legible italic (pretty good with print, still working on the cursive). I've gotten to the point where I am now embarrassed about my signature and enjoy doing it in cursive italic. How does one go about changing their signature in this day and age without encountering any sort of issues from credit card companies, banks, etc.? Not to mention the letters and reports I type at work...

SFAIK, the only essential things to do are to change the signature on any signature cards at your bank(s), and have the credit card companies send you new cards so you can sign them. (I actually never sign the backs of my cards. Instead I write in, "Please ask to see my i.d." This has not caused a problem (yet) in all the years I've done it. When you get your driver's license renewed, remember to use your new signature. Ditto on voter registration cards. These last two are probably less important -- your drivers license has your photo id on it, and normally when you vote they ask for photo id for verification.

Letters and reports at work ... pfffff-ttt- You usually have your name typed somewhere on these. People know you. Unless there's some kind of security clearance thing going on, don't worry about it, is my advice.

I agree. I changed my signature several years ago and basically only notified my bank with new signature cards (many banks don't even check the signatures anyway!) and had new credit cards issued for the new signature. When it came time to renew the driver license I signed in the new way. It was never an issue for anything. thumbup.gif
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#14 offscott

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 16:03

maybe contact your bank and ask if your allowed to do so, if not it isn't the end of the world.
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#15 Richard

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 02:38

QUOTE (BillTheEditor @ Aug 26 2008, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I actually never sign the backs of my cards. Instead I write in, "Please ask to see my i.d." This has not caused a problem (yet) in all the years I've done it.

You're remarkably lucky. Many of the merchants around here -- including the post office -- have signs up stating that they will not accept a card that isn't signed, no matter what ID you present.
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#16 HLeopold

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 03:20

QUOTE (jbb @ Aug 26 2008, 07:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (HLeopold @ Aug 26 2008, 05:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Only 2 bank signature cards? I should be so lucky, I have had up to 6 at one bank (I sometimes will sign left-handed instead of right-handed, my signature also changes a lot during migraine season.) My new bank, I have only been with it for about 22 years, knows that I will accidentally sign left-handed, but found that it matches my right-hand signature, only mirrored, so I have fewer cards on file.

When is "migraine season?"


I get cluster headaches, these tend to come in cycles, during the 2 decades that they were at their worst I would get, at best, 2 a day, building up towards the worst part of the "season" of 8 a day. From peak to peak of the season it normally took about 8 to 10 months. Unlike most folks with migraines I have very short, but extremely painful migraines, mostly lasting between an hour and a half to 2 and a half hours. During those two decades I had 6 days where I did not have at least one migraine. I remember those 6 days very well.

Fortunately I no longer have them nearly as bad as they used to be, these days I may get about a month or so of 2 a day during the peak time, the rest of the season I don't get any. In a way the worst time was when the cycle changed on me, I got migraines very erratically, some where very short but far more painful, the last of the old cycle literally felt like I had been shot in the head, it hit so hard I passed out, but had completely vanished by the time I hit the floor, after that I was into the new cycle of only getting the peak of the cycle and none during the rest of the cycle.

My doctors tend, for the most part, to agree with me that my migraines may be connected to my having cracked about half my vertebrae when I was hit by a car back in the late 1970's. The doctors, however, still don't have a clue as to why things changed about 10 years ago to the new cycle, but I much prefer it to the old cycle. At least these days I can joke about it.
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#17 Nabster

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 07:00

This is interesting, the whole idea of signature cards. Perhaps because I'm 19. Anyway, when I opened my first bank account (with help of my parents) back when I was we put $20 into a kids account. I "signed" a card as best a 6-year-old could in my then scribbly, poorly cursive way, that card was then laminated and given back to me to be kept in the record book for the account. That account was kept as my college savings up until about a year and a half ago, when I took out a cashiers check for $11000 to move to a credit union for easier upkeep and better interest. The teller that handled it never asked for an ID, compared any signatures, or anything. She did take it back to a senior bank officer to have them sign and validate it- when she brought it back I saw the woman who signed it was someone I knew and who knew me, but she didn't come out to be sure it was really me. Half a year after that, I took another $7000 out of the account, this time in cash, to move over to the credit union with the other money and again only had to sign a receipt, no ID involved (though admittedly this time I was at a branch office and knew both tellers who were present).

On top of that, when opening the new accounts at the credit union, I never had a signature card to sign at all, just the little contracts and basic papers. It's interesting, as obviously now my signature is much more developed.


#18 Maria

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 19:19

Dear Nabster,

When I was in grade school, I was given my social security card to sign. laugh.gif I do believe my handwriting was even worse shape than yours.

What drives me to distraction, is that these banks, governmental security checks, are a joke. Anybody could be signing your signature and until there is an issue--there is status normal -- I want to be challenged and want anybody else that has my check--challenged, to see if it is a forgery or not.

Fingerprinting is a 'back-up.' However, there should be a signature match up and revision every five years to ten years. My second grade cursive is different from my signature now. As I age, I'll look like I am part of the Richter Scale and making my own 'tremors' and 'earthquakes.'

Respectfully,
Maria

#19 Tricia

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 23:41

My signature is a scribble that evolved out of my impatience at writing my long full name. All my banks have sig cards and no problems with any of them (well, so far as my signature is concerned wink.gif ). Years ago, when we signed our mortgage, I did have to sign a paper that said, yes, this is my signature, but that was the only time I've had to do that.

The only comment I get (less often as the years go by) is, "wow, that'd be hard to forge," but since most sigs are now electronic (and I think I write a total of one check a month, if that), most just hand me my purchase, most often accompanied by that rote "thankyouforshoppingwithus".

In other words, I don't think anyone cares anymore. smile.gif




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