Visa making signatures optional in April; Discover getting rid of them

Newswire: Jan. 13, 2018.

Dateline: New York

Two major credit card companies, Discover and Visa, announced significant changes to their signature policies are coming in April. Discover will do away with handwritten signatures entirely, and Visa will make them optional.

In a Jan. 12 news release, Visa said it was making handwritten signatures optional as part of the overall, ongoing migration to EMV chips on credit and debit cards. Visa said the move would “bring increased security and convenience to the point of sale.” The optional requirement is for merchants whose payment systems use contactless chips.

Discover said a range of security features it had already implemented made handwritten signatures redundant, if not also inconvenient. “Discover has already implemented a number of digital authentication technologies such as tokenization, multi-factor authentication, and biometrics that are more secure than requiring a signature and provide a more seamless payment transaction,” the company said in a statement.

However, Discover merchants who want to ditch handwritten signatures may have to update their point-of-sale systems, Discover noted.

The condition that merchants have point-of-sale systems to accommodate modern security features may mean it is still a ways off before consumers see the end of signatures on credit card purchases altogether. Still, it is widely seen as an inevitability, given that most consumers sign digital pads quickly and haphazardly, and rarely, if ever, does that affect a sale.

Read the full story here.

(Front page image via