AFAIK in the U.S. it is not required that one sign the back of a credit/ debit card, but those who do not sign need to be prepared to show an ID with photo and signature. This seems more secure since a photo ID will identify both the face and signature, while a signed card only requires thieves to spend enough time practicing the sig to fake it. (Of course, one should write something like "Ask for ID" on the signature tape, else a thief only needs to put her/his version of your name in that space.) I have never in my years of plastic purchasing had a problem with this method (other than wondering how the DMV always manages to get the worst possible photo to stick on the drivers license).
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