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I'm a young person, new to the professional world such as banking.

At first, I had difficulty maintaining the same signature.

For example, when I opened the bank account, I made different signatures in different documents. The employee didn't say anything, probably didn't want to embarrass me.

Now, I have to sign my credit card, and finally learnt to make the same signature (I didn't care before). Now, the signature in my credit card is different from the signature in the documents. This is only an example.

Please, what are the complications of making different signatures?

Thank you

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    I don't think it matters. When we refinanced our home (WAY better interest rates, same remainder of the term), the agent getting us to sign INSISTED that I sign my name "Peter J. LASTNAME". I've never signed myself as that, I always use "P. J. LASTNAME". He insisted, so I went with it... but it was still very odd. – Peter K. Mar 13 '15 at 13:15
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    Similar to @PeterK, I had the same request from my mortgage company (really, the lawyer handling closing), so now I know that all mail that comes to me with my middle initial is either mortgage-related, or spam from people pulling public records. – Noah Mar 13 '15 at 20:32
  • I pay no attention to my signature; it's the least secure part of my financial existence. It's a scribble every time. – dimo414 Mar 14 '15 at 1:53
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How "different" were these signatures?

The purpose of a signature is to provide evidence that you authorized or agreed to something. If the handwriting is recognizably the same, that's what matters most. In practice any signature that you claim is yours is yours; any signature that you claim was forged must be proven to be forged, and any signature that isn't convincing when compared to your past signatures may be refused or bounced back to you for confirmation.

If the style of your signature has changed completely, you should contact banks and put a copy of the new signature on file, as well as making sure it's the one shown on id and credit cards and so on... just as you would if you had changed your name. If it's just a matter of leaving out your middle name or no longer writing "junior", don't worry about it until/unless someone objects.

It is better if your signature is closer to identical every time; that actually matters more than whether it's readable. But everyone is aware that minor variationS will occur. If that's all you're asking about, relax.

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    Tip for signing credit/debit cards: Don't. For the past 10 years, I have written "Check ID" on the signature strip. Everyone checks the signature, sometimes they ask to see my ID, but never has anyone complained that the card wasn't signed. (I'm in the USA.) – Kent A. Mar 13 '15 at 13:39
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    A credit card, at least, is not valid without a proper signature. creditcards.com/credit-card-news/sign-or-write-see-ID-1282.php I believe this is never enforced. – ChrisInEdmonton Mar 13 '15 at 13:48
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    Good point, Kent; that's actually a good approach. Alas, many vendors don't even look at the signature strip... which is why everyone but the US has been moving to chip-and-pin. (Though most will still accept chip-and-signature from residents of countries with archaic banking hardware.) – keshlam Mar 13 '15 at 13:52
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    @KentAnderson I did that with my Visa, and the store refused to accept Visa payments, even after showing my ID. They claimed it wasn't valid since it wasn't a "signature" and that I'd need to get a new credit card. I ended up leaving it. – Canadian Luke Mar 13 '15 at 16:48
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    @ChrisInEdmonton, thanks for the link. It is useful. Besides providing a passive request to make sure "I am myself", I avoid putting my signature on my card to avoid my signature leaving my control. With picture takers and photoshoppers everywhere, I'd rather try to reduce the number of times my signature can exist apart from me. Technically I could be safe from liability, but realistically, processing a claim of identity theft is a pain in the neck and takes time. – Kent A. Mar 13 '15 at 16:58
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I can speak from experience since for many years I have not really had a consistent signature (I am 25.)

I have had it happen to me where I went to the bank to deposit a cheque. I signed the cheque and handed it to the teller. The teller looked at the cheque, at the computer screen, and back for some time.

Then, he gave me a piece of paper and asked me to draw my signature. And voila! The third signature looked sufficiently disparate from the first two that they were all effectively just scribbles.

At this point, the teller asked me for photo ID, which I presented, and since the ID verified my identity all was well.

So yes, having an inconsitent signature can get you into some sticky situations. If I didn't have my ID, I could have been denied service and maybe (this is a longshot) even arrested for fraudulently trying to deposit a cheque!

Solution

Practice your signature thoroughly until you can do it consistently. This takes a few hours a day for a few weeks. Then, you can go to the bank and ask them to update your signature. You write your new signature then and there and from that point on the bank checks against that one.

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As another member stated, there's always another form of ID they can request.

In my opinion, signatures are going away. Even now, the next generation is 50/50 on this. As a school employee, I proctored an exam that required a signature on a fill-in-ovals multiple choice test. 100 students in the room, nearly half those forms had what you'd call printing, not a cursive signature. These were 16-18 year old people. In the US, our grade schools no longer require cursive to be taught. (this may vary by state)

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    Your signature can even be block printed. No law or requirement says it must be cursive. I think it's more the decline of checks requiring physical signatures (i.e. most people use plastic or e-checks) that have made cursive relatively obsolete. But you should still practice it anyways. You'll need to sign for that new car, new house, new etc... – phyrfox Mar 14 '15 at 5:55
  • "But you should still practice it anyways" - for today's gradeschooler, it's not taught, what can they practice? – JoeTaxpayer Mar 14 '15 at 11:33
  • Cursive is part of the American heritage, which is slowly dying (evolving, devolving, or otherwise mutating) as it is infused with other cultures. Knowing how to write cursive isn't critical, though, so I could imagine why it wouldn't be in current curriculum. I learned cursive in the 1980's, and it was still taught alongside normal block printing, and most of my homework was written in cursive (by choice, not by requirement). I take pride in my signature, as it's unique to me. Anyone can block print... – phyrfox Mar 14 '15 at 12:42

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