Signatures are no longer needed for EMV (chip) transactions for all major card types. In our recent article No Signature Required - Card Brands Look to Improve Checkout Times, we discussed some significant changes in the POS industry. At the tail end of 2017, MasterCard, Discover, and AmEx announced that they would implement policies that eliminate the need for signatures in point-of-sale EMV transactions. Visa was initially reluctant to comply, but recently gave up the fight and announced they too will eliminate the need for signatures on EMV POS transactions in North America beginning in April of 2018.
The downfall of the signature has been on the horizon for some time. Merchants using e-commerce platforms are at an all-time high. Most of these platforms incorporate a payment application like PayPal, which is authenticated through banks in a myriad of ways. The bottom line is: signatures are no longer a valid means of identification. With emerging technology like fingerprint scanning and facial recognition used by iOS operating systems, or iris scanners used by Android, the signature is a comparatively weak form of authentication.
Merchants should urge their POS providers to update their software to eliminate the need for signatures on EMV transactions. It slows the sales process, frustrates the consumer, and is no longer necessary.
Signatures are seemingly being phased out for good. Many schools no longer teach cursive writing, and now that POS transactions are doing away with the signature, where would we need to sign? The absence of a signature may seem concerning to credit card users, as it eliminates an added layer of security. However, there are several other layers of fraud protection and security guidelines in place to protect both the card user as well as the merchant. The reason POS signatures were ultimately eliminated is because transactions will become more efficient and provide a uniform payment experience.
Even though signatures are fading away, other industry standards in the area of security are being enforced more strictly. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) is a mandated policy for merchants who accept credit/debit cards as a payment option. PCI DSS is a set guideline to help protect consumer data, as it is the responsibility of the merchant to keep their confidential information safe. Those who do not comply with PCI requirements will face steep fines and penalties. With the loss of the signature and strict policies like PCI DSS in place, it may be time to consider an upgrade in security software. Solupay’s ControlScan's PCI 1-2-3 compliance solution provides merchants with the tools and support necessary to analyze, remedy, and validate PCI compliance.
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