Ask LH: Do I Have To Sign For Pizza Credit Card Payments?

Howdy Lifehacker, Every time I order pizza from Crust, I faithfully hand over my credit card number, expiry and CVV during the ordering process, then the driver asks for my signature. Am I obliged to sign if I've already provided my CVV? Also, what consequences would there be if I happened to sign the receipt as Mickey Mouse? Thanks, Might Be Mickey

Pizza picture from Shutterstock

Dear MBM,

The card verification code (CVV) is used to authenticate that the buyer has physical possession of a credit card when a remote transaction takes place. For most online purchases, this is all that's required, but pizza delivery is different — your credit card details secure the order, but it usually isn't processed until the face-to-face 'transaction' takes place.

We contacted one of Australia's leading banks with your query. It confirmed that a merchant is allowed to put processes in place requiring a credit card signature for online transactions, even after a purchase has been made:

Merchants might often ask for a signature to verify the cardholder and the online transaction they have just made – such as the delivery of the pizza. Our approach to credit card purchases online is to encourage merchants to authenticate who is undertaking the online credit card transaction.

As you'd expect, this is to combat against fraudulent transactions and is actually pretty helpful to consumers — it's an extra barrier of protection that someone who steals your card has to navigate.

That said, most pizza delivery drivers don't check the signature very carefully (when they remember to ask at all). Indeed, I've been known to scribble a rough approximation of my signature through sheer laziness at times — not once has the delivery driver challenged the result or even asked to see my card.

Which brings us to the second part of your question: If you did sign as 'Mickey Mouse' chances are it will get processed without question, and since you won't be challenging the transaction, all will be good. But if it does cause problems, you're likely to get banned by your favourite pizza joint, and you'd also run the risk of your card being stopped by your bank altogether. Ergo, if you want to impersonate Mickey Mouse, we'd stick to helium balloons.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    of course the driver doesn't care about the signature. The payment has already gone through, stolen or not they have been paid
    the CVV number is enough to put through an order without the need for a signature

    Sign whatever you want, chances are the driver doesn't give a rats ass and is just required to ask for one

    Whenever I order pizza using my credit card the driver just hands me my order and walks off, never asking for a signature.

    When you sign the receipt it totally changes the nature of the transaction in the eyes of the merchant.

    Under a 'cardholder not present' transaction which is the case in a purely online card payment the retailer has extremely limited abilities to avoid a chargeback from the credit card company where the transaction is queried. The retailer has far more protection when they have a signature, regardless of who it belongs to.

    Ok, so how about the opposite question then -- If the driver is going to get my signature anyway, why do I have to give them my CVV?

      You've missed the point - they signature and the CVV are for two different reasons.

      The CVV is to prove that you have a real issued credit-card and didn't just make the number up. (It's actually fairly simple to make up a credit-card number, and the CVV is the easiest method for banks and merchants to verify the number is legit.)

      The Signature is to prove you've received the Pizza.

      If the driver doesn't check the card, or check the signature diligently, then technically they're one who's liable to the Pizza company if you decide to challenge the transaction through your bank - it's not there to protect you per-se, but to stop you playing silly games to the Pizza company.

      Both are reasonable things to do, and really, it's not that big a deal to sign for it is it?

      So they can authenticate the card. They can't put the transaction through without a CVV number

    I'm happy to sign for it. What annoys me is when they make me present my card again when they drop off the pizza.

      Signing receipts is not so much as to verify you at point of sale (hence nobody checks) but the reason they keep those signed receipts is if the charge is disputed as fraudulent they can provide evidence to the bank whether the signature matches the cardholder's.

      Note if you try get clever by intentionally signing incorrectly and disputing the transaction you may very well get done for obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

    Ive tested dominoes over the last 3 weeks. If I pay by credit card my order takes longer than an hour to be delivered. If I pay cash it came in 30 min. I guess the delivery drivers don't want to deliver it because they wont get a tip. Pretty shit service I think.

      I paid by cash on Sunday for the first time in ages and I was surprised at how fast they turned up! I didn't think much of it at the time, but now you mention

      A tip? You're already paying a delivery charge with the order... Why on earth would you pay a tip on top?

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