Why You No Longer Need to Sign for Credit Card Purchases

Using your credit or debit card just got a little easier.

Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express no longer require signatures on debit or credit card purchases made with cards that have a security chip.

Thanks to enhanced security measures, scribbling your name on a receipt is no longer necessary.

This change is meant to streamline the check-out process, for cardholders and merchants alike.

Issuers Cut Out Signatures

The four largest credit card companies — Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express — eliminated the need for customers to sign receipts.

It’s now up to the merchant to decide if they want customers’ signatures.

Visa

North American Visa cardholders will not need to sign on the dotted line.

Visa customers should feel confident in the fact that chip-enabled cards are more secure.

In fact, since Visa rolled out chip-enabled cards to its customers in 2016, fraud has declined 66 percent.

MasterCard

MasterCard holders in North America will not have to sign for store transactions.

The company found that customers will be happier with these changes, making the checkout process move faster.

Discover

Discover cardholders in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean no longer have to sign credit card receipts.

This is part of the company’s focus to improve the payment process by speeding up transactions without compromising security.

American Express

American Express card users have not had to sign for charges under $50 in quite some time.

Now, Amex customers will no longer have to sign a receipt for any amount, anywhere in the world.

The company is the first of the credit card companies to roll out this change worldwide.

What It Means For You

Understandably, the change in the rules could mean a drastic behavior shift in our everyday card spending experience.

You’ve already used to it

You might not realize that you’ve actually been shopping quite some time without signing a receipt already. This often applies to purchases that are under

That is if you shop online or from your smartphone.

The first few times you’re not asked to sign a receipt in a store, especially for a large purchase, might seem surprising but rest assured, the convenience will become your new norm.

Quicker checkout lines

There’s always that one person who signs their first, middle and last name, slowly, without a care in the world.

Those seconds add up, especially from a retailer’s perspective.

Dropping signatures will speed up lines and make it even easier to make purchases using your credit or debit card.

EMV credit card

That metallic square above the card number on your credit card is a small computer chip.

Named after its three developers, Europay, MasterCard and Visa, EMV chip technology increases security and reduces fraud.

Cards with EMV chips are commonly referred to as “chip cards.” The chip replaces the magnetic strip that was on the back of cards. EMV chip cards are pretty much a necessity when using a credit card in a foreign country to combat rampant fraud.

It works by encrypting the transaction information in a way that makes it very difficult for cybercriminals to steal these details to reconstruct card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV numbers.

Chip cards have become the standard for U.S. card transactions. Most credit and debit card issued in the country are issued with an EMV chip card.

Additionally, in 2015, card networks have required merchants to accept EMV chip cards in order by making merchants responsible for fraudulent purchases made without chip-card transactions.

EMV liability shift deadlines

Card network Rule for shift in fraud liability Deadline
American Express Liability for certain types of fraudulent transactions will shift away from the party (card issuer or merchant) that has the most secure form of EMV technology. Oct. 1, 2015 (Oct. 1, 2017 for gas stations)
Discover Liability for fraudulent transactions will shift away from the party (card issuer or merchant) that has the highest level of payment security. Oct. 1, 2015 (Oct. 1, 2017 for gas stations)
MasterCard The party (card issuer or merchant) that made the investment to process EMV chip transactions will be protected from financial liability on card-present fraud losses. Oct. 1, 2015 (Oct. 1, 2017 for gas stations)
Visa The party (card issuer or merchant) that is the cause of a chip-on-chip transaction not occurring will be financially liable for card-present fraud losses. Oct. 1, 2015 (Oct. 1, 2017 for gas stations)

What About Restaurants?

Since it’s up to merchants to decide, restaurants most likely will continue to require your signature in order to leave a tip.

It remains to be seen how restaurants will handle tipping in the future.

In the meantime, you should still expect to add gratuity and sign your name when you’re out to eat.

What If There's a Suspicious Charge?

Credit card fraud can happen to anyone. When it comes to questionable transactions, your response to them should not deviate from the norm.

As soon as you suspect someone has illegally accessed your account to or made unauthorized charges, contact your bank or credit card company as soon as possible.

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) protects credit card users by allowing you to dispute any unauthorized charges with your credit card company.

While the company is investigating the charge, you will not be charged interest on the amount in question or owe that amount until the issue is resolved.

Credit card safety

You can’t always prevent credit card fraud, but you can take steps to safeguard your information.

Here are some basic tips to help keep your credit card information safe:

  • Monitor your accounts. Frequently check your bank and credit card accounts to look for suspicious activity.
  • Keep track of your cards. Whether in a purse, your wallet or under the mattress, keep track of your cards, even if you don’t use them every day.
  • Go paperless. Opt-in for online statements in order to keep your private information out of the hands of dumpster divers looking to steal your credit card number.
  • Shop safely online. Shop with major retailers or merchants. For smaller or less known merchants, look for a little padlock where you enter the website address to ensure the website uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology to protect your data.

Don’t let other people use your card. If you share an account, each user should have their own card.

Conclusion

Spending money just got easier and quicker now that credit card companies have ditched the signature.

Fortunately, security measures and fraud protection continue to improve making your signature unnecessary.

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