Anyone who has worked behind a cash register knows that many customers paying by credit card do not give much attention to the signature they write on the screen or receipt slip; sometimes it isn’t even legible. You may have thought that the whole process of signing after a card purchase should be a thing of the past. Finally, all of the major credit card companies agree with you.
It started in October, when MasterCard announced that signatures were no longer required for purchases made with their plastic. After positive feedback from major retailers, Discover and American Express followed suit in December. Not long after in January, Visa became the last of the four major credit card companies to ditch the long-criticized customer signature. Although merchants still have the option to require that customers sign, this is no longer a rule of the credit card companies themselves.
Business owners who have merchant accounts and use point-of-sale systems to complete payment transactions often viewed the signature as a way to maximize customer security. However, the reality was that retailers hardly ever checked the scribbled names against the signature on the back of the customer’s card. Even if they did, they denied the transaction even more rarely.
Fortunately, today’s technology allows for much more advanced security measures. For one thing, modern EMV or chip cards enable each transaction to be encrypted. What’s more, the card never physically leaves the customer’s hand, drastically reducing the likelihood of theft or cloning. In the years to come, the use of fingerprint, voice and facial recognition capabilities will enhance the safety of the payment process even more.
Ultimately, the decision to nix the signature looks to be a win-win for both customers and business owners. For shoppers attempting to make their purchases as quickly and seamlessly as possible, taking away one step in the payment procedure saves time and aggravation. Concurrently, the retailer ends up not only with happy consumers but also does not compromise on payment security. Satisfied customers and entrepreneurs are the end result and are definitely the recipe for success.
Whether you own a business, work at one or simply buy things, you will soon be signing your name a lot less. Never fear though, the transition looks to be a smooth one, and you probably won’t miss the extra step.