NO Signature Required? WHAT?

Monday, April 9, 2018

In our ever changing digital world, things are always changing. So it is no surprise that the way our cards are being accepted is changing as well. We are dipping the chip and using our watches and now we may not even be asked to sign the receipt!

As of April 1st, 2018 - the card associations have elected to move away from requiring your signature. We thought it would be helpful for you to know how each card brand feels about this turn of events:

Here is a quick recap of the statements from the card networks:

  • MasterCard announced in October (17) that Eliminating the need for signature is another step in the digital evolution of payments and payment security. At first glance, this might sound like a radical proclamation, especially to people who have had credit and debit cards for decades. However, the change matches all of our expectations for fast and convenient shopping experiences.
  • Discover will no longer require signatures. “With the rise in new payment security capabilities, like chip technology and tokenization, the time is right to remove this step from the checkout experience,” Discover’s Jasma Ghai, vice president of global products innovation, says.
  • Visa said in a blog post Jan. 12 (17) that it will make “the signature requirement optional for all EMV contact or contactless chip-enabled merchants in North America, beginning April 2018.

What all of this means: The decades-old ritual for cardholders – scribbling something resembling your name on payment slips – is ending. Merchants will still have the option of asking for a signature, but the requirement will be history as of April.

Signatures are no longer necessary to fight fraud:

  • “The payments landscape has evolved to the point where we can now eliminate this pain point for our merchants,” said Jaromir Divilek, executive vice president of global network business for American Express. “Our fraud capabilities have advanced so that signatures are no longer necessary to fight fraud.”
  • Jeanette Volpi, head of North America communications at Visa, said that more than three-fourths of Visa’s face-to-face transactions in North America don’t require signatures.
  • “Visa supports multiple technologies to bring speed, security and consumer convenience to the authentication and authorization process,” Volpi said in a statement.
  • Jack Jania, senior vice president of strategic alliances at Gemalto, “This is a good move for both consumers and merchants, as it will speed up the in-store purchase experience.”

TMC Stance:

Since every card issuing bank has the ability to decide how they will handle the changes regarding signatures, we are advising our merchants to take a cautionary approach to the new ‘no signature’ mindset. We still recommend that the following merchants still get a signature when possible:
  • Merchants who accept tips
  • Merchants who experience disputes / chargebacks on a regular basis (CALL US - we can help reduce this!!)
  • Merchants who have large, in person transactions
As a business owner, speeding up the transaction process is very important so not needing a signature does help - just be sure to protect yourself and consider how your business might be impacted if you do find yourself at the other end of a dispute. Train your team not to accept cards that do not pass the other forms of fraud prevention:
  • Card Won’t DIP (Chip)
  • Card Won’t Swipe
  • Card Not Signed
  • Card # Does Not Match Last 4 Digits on Receipt
We have to be careful not to begin treating credit cards like cash - they simply are not the same!!
Cheri Perry 4/9/2018

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