Mastercard today announced that cardholders will no longer have to provide a signature for any purchases in the United States and Canada after April 2018. The change will apply to both debit and credit cards.
Mastercard said removing the need to sign for card-present transactions will not have any impact on customer security due to modern safeguards.
“Our secure network and state-of-the art systems combined with new digital payment methods that include chip, tokenization, biometrics, and specialized digital platforms use newer and more secure methods to prove identity,” said Linda Kirkpatrick, an Executive Vice President at Mastercard.
Mastercard’s consumer research unsurprisingly found that a majority of people believe it would be easier to pay, and that checkout lines would move faster, if they didn’t need to sign the receipt when making a purchase.
Already, more than 80 percent of in-store Mastercard transactions in North America today do not require a cardholder signature at checkout. Mastercard said both customers and merchants support the change.
The long-existing “signature required” clause is intended to verify that customers own the debit or credit card they are attempting to use. The process is supposed to involve the cashier verifying the signature on the receipt matches the one on the back of the card, but in reality, this process is often skipped.
The change should make Apple Pay transactions quicker for Mastercard cardholders. Currently, even when using Apple Pay, sometimes a signature can be required for purchases over $50 in the United States.
The signature requirement is already very uncommon in Canada, where chip-and-PIN cards are the norm. At most merchants in Canada, customers insert a card into the payment terminal, enter a PIN, and the purchase is completed.
Mastercard removing the signature requirement won’t speed up Apple Pay in Canada, however, as contactless payments aren’t generally permitted for purchases above $100. Above this limit, customers must use chip-and-PIN.
Mastercard currently doesn’t require a signature for purchases totaling $50 or less. Visa’s no-signature limit is $25, but the amount is upped to $50 for purchases made at grocery stores and discount stores like Walmart.
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