Signing Off On Signature Requirements

Signing for a purchase is a fundamental part of owning and using a credit card. The swipe-and-sign ritual is the basis of modern purchasing. So why is it disappearing from most major credit card organizations?

If you haven’t noticed it already, you soon will. Visa, Mastercard, and Discover have all announced the end of using signature requirements at checkout, effective April 2018. And while swipe-and-sign is an engrained behavior for most of us, is this change really as major as it seems?

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In theory, signing for your purchase serves a means of consumer protection. But in today’s era of unprecedented fraud and identity theft, a signature seems like a pretty weak security measure. Signatures are incredibly easy to falsify—ask any kid who’s ever faked a parent’s John Hancock on a report card. Retailers don’t employ handwriting experts to review customer signatures either.

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As it stands, swipe-and-sign is already halfway gone. Swiping your card is largely a thing of the past. With increased adoption of EMV-chip cards and readers, the signature now remains more out of long-standing habit than security.


EMV chip-and-pin cards provide customers and sellers with more security than swipe-and-sign ever could. Chip cards are more difficult to clone than magstripe cards. Requiring a pin in place of a signature also enhances the transaction security since pins are much harder to breach. The combination of these two higher-security measures means it’s less likely for a card to be compromised.

Chip-and-pin cards also provide a faster and more convenient checkout process. EMV-chip readers have become increasingly quick at reading and processing transactions. Signing for purchases may only take an additional 10-15 seconds, but thinking in terms of hundreds of transactions per terminal each day, that time adds up. As we’ve discussed before, convenience is one of the most important aspects of today’s consumer experience. Customers want fast, convenient, and secure payment options since their time is valued just as highly as their hard-earned cash.

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Bottom Line

Immortalized by decades of practice and thousands of depictions on the big and small screen alike, the swipe-and-sign ritual is the foundation of modern card-based payments. However, in today’s market centered on technological advancements heightened security concerns, the age-old swipe-and-sign method no longer cuts it.

As Americans are (finally) switching to the NFC chip-and-pin method, consumers and retailers alike are finding that the new method protects all parties in ways that swipe-and-sign never could.

Still using outdated payment terminals that aren’t NFC-chip enabled? Contact us today to find out how Pineapple can get you the most current, secure technology at the best rates to keep your business safe and up-to-date.

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