Best pen for signing cards
August 22, 2005 7:35 PM   Subscribe

What's the best pen to sign the back of a bank/credit card with that won't smudge or fade?

I've tried fine-tip Sharpies, but they smudge over time. I've also tried cheap Bic ballpoint pens, but they fade away. Before I experiment on a new card with something like a good gel pen, does anyone have any tried-and true advice?
posted by zsazsa to Grab Bag (17 answers total)
Uni-Ball, Gel Impact RT, 1.0 mm bold. There's nothing it can't do.
posted by cribcage at 7:44 PM on August 22, 2005

I use a regular sharpie, but my signature is not very ornate these days, so it works out okay.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:44 PM on August 22, 2005

Amazingly, this has been asked before.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:58 PM on August 22, 2005

Just for the fun of it: The Credit Card Prank
posted by Papa Mango at 8:11 PM on August 22, 2005

Sign it with any old pen, then press a piece of clear tape over the signature.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:14 PM on August 22, 2005

Another vote for the Sharpie, except the fine point version.
posted by luriete at 8:18 PM on August 22, 2005

A vote against the Uni-Ball Gel Impact.

Don't get me wrong, the pen is amazing. Just gorgeously smooth flow. But I've found it doesn't dry fast enough for those quick, unthinking moments when you fold paper recently written upon.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:38 PM on August 22, 2005

True enough. You find yourself folding a lot of credit cards?
posted by cribcage at 9:08 PM on August 22, 2005

That's easy...Sarstdedt permanent marker/pen. We use them in my biochemistry lab and it is the only one that actually does not smudge at all- and this is under conditions where the writing is put under conditions varying from -160C to +100C, and from -20C to +100C within minutes. Unfortunately, they're made in Germany so I dunno how readily available they are in the States (my former lab prof was German and that's where I got mine).
posted by jmd82 at 9:15 PM on August 22, 2005

Staedtler Lumocolor permanent.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:16 PM on August 22, 2005

Don't sign it. I never do. That way it's just vaguely possible that if it gets stolen, someone will ask for ID before it gets used. Not that anyone does ever ask for ID but you never know.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:53 AM on August 23, 2005

You find yourself folding a lot of credit cards?

No--checks. But credit cards can be even worse: if you forgo toting around a wallet and keep the credit card in your pocket unprotected, it will smudge like all hell with the gel inks.

The permanent market idea is pretty good. A good source of permanent inks in small-tips would be art stores. Architecture and design students use them all the time in super-fine tips. The Sakura Pigma Micron is pretty kick-ass.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:34 AM on August 23, 2005

Don't sign it. I never do.

Then you can't use it. You might as well cancel it.
posted by kindall at 8:44 AM on August 23, 2005

I just use a regular size permanent marker (last time a full size sharpie). Yeah the signature is super big and fat, but I don't care. Actually, it's kinda nice because the cards that are signed like that are ALWAYS double-checked by the cashier that the signature I make matches. Probably because it looks so odd and stands out so much they just want to be sure... :D
posted by shepd at 10:30 AM on August 23, 2005

The authorized cardholder is the person who signed the back of the credit card, NOT the person named on the front. The name on the front of the card is the "applicant" or "joint applicant". These can be two different people because credit cards are transferrable!

Say I apply for a credit card. When it arrives, it will have "ryanrs" printed on the front. Then I can give it to, say, kindall, who signs "kindall" on the back. Now he is the authorized cardholder (and I am not). This is explicitly allowed by my Card Contract. No one will give him any trouble because both Mastercard [pdf] and Visa [pdf] state that the name on the front of the card may be different from the customer's name.

Here are the items that need to match when executing a face-to-face credit card transaction:
* Name on the front of the card and the card number must match the data in the mag stripe.
* The signature on the back of the card must match the signature on the receipt.

If kendall were to try to use my card without signing it, then the cashier would insist he sign the card and present a government issued ID. The signature on the ID must match the signature on the back of the card, but the name on the front can be completely different.
posted by ryanrs at 12:48 PM on August 23, 2005

I just signed my new Visa card with a medium point Sharpie. My previous card was signed with some kind of ballpoint and smudged within days of signing. Sharpie is the way to go.
posted by marcusb at 2:39 PM on August 23, 2005

I wrote "ASK FOR ID" with a big fat (okay, medium point) sharpie on the back of my card. I just lost my wallet, and it's helped me to sleep better at night.

Though apparently I should have been signing my receipts "ASK FOR ID," which would be funny.
posted by joshuaconner at 5:52 PM on August 23, 2005

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