Mastercard today announced a forward-thinking rule change that will no longer require merchants to obtain signatures for any customer purchases, beginning in April of 2018. As new secure technologies are implemented behind the scenes in the processing ecosystem as well as in the retail environment, the signature has become antiquated (and insecure.) Hopefully the other card brands will follow Mastercard’s lead to reduce inconveniences while continuing to further secure the transaction process via better technology.
This rule change, especially if followed by Visa, Amex and Discover will speed checkout lines everywhere, and make purchases simpler for consumers. Of course, the questions remain for merchants – how will dispute resolution change when a merchant doesn’t have a cardholder signature? Currently though, merchants have little recourse in chargeback events, so additional disadvantages to merchants with this rule change are most likely limited. Further, it will be important to update point of sale systems to recognize when signatures are no longer needed, otherwise, merchants will most likely continue to obtain signatures when not needed.
The Mastercard press release can be read in full at their website.