As of April 2018, merchants taking card-present payments no longer need to collect a signature at the point of sale.
Which Brands Are Affected?
All of ‘em. Mastercard® was the first to get on board back in October of 2017, with Discover® and American Express® following in December. In January 2018, Visa® announced that they too would make signatures optional—though only for EMV contact and contactless chip-enabled merchants.
Why the Change?
The goal for the card brands is to reduce the time consumers spend in the checkout line. Speedier checkouts will ultimately benefit merchants and buyers.
Is it Safe?
Short answer: Yes.
Longer answer: Rapidly improving authentication options, as well as advancements in payment network fraud capabilities, have made obtaining and verifying cardholders’ signatures unnecessary. In fact, in the majority of instances, transactions being accepted in a card-present environment are already exempt from signature requirements.
Discover’s vice president of global products innovation Jasma Ghai said, “With the rise in new payment security capabilities, like chip technology and tokenization, the time is right to remove this step from the checkout experience.”
What If I Want Signatures?
You can still take them. While the signature requirement is no more, merchants can still ask for them as an added security measure. Decisions, decisions.