Pay With Mastercard and You Won’t Have to Sign Charge Receipts Anymore

Mastercard will no longer require signatures for in-person transactions effective May 1, 2018.

Did you know that more than 80 percent of Mastercard in store transactions in North America today do not require a cardholder signature at checkout? That number could now reach 100 percent after April 2018, when we will no longer require signatures at checkout for any credit or debit purchases in Canada and the U.S.

With “chip, tokenization, biometrics and specialized digital platforms” signatures are just no longer a part of credit card security, not that they provided much before.

Signatures add transaction time. There’s paper slips that you either take away or ask the clerk to toss for you. (Remember when full credit card numbers used to be printed on those slips you’d throw away?)

It’s a very small percentage of credit card fraud which involves in-person transactions using a physical stolen credit card. And even when that happens, clerks don’t compare signatures with what’s on the back of your card, rejecting transactions if the two don’t match.

Credit card numbers are stolen en masse. Cards get cloned (harder with chips than before). Orders are placed online or by phone.

A signed slip was protection for the merchant at least in theory, you’re agreeing to the purchase and to make payment for it, and if you dispute the charge they can say you actually did agree. But disputes rarely ever come down to a signature or are about claims of whether or not you actually were the one who made the transaction.

This won’t affect disputes. This won’t really affect security, and consumers shouldn’t much care if it did (replacing a card is a hassle, but you’re not usually going to be liable for anything if there’s fraud anyway).

It’s a win for consumers and if MasterCard is doing it other payment networks will need to follow. Otherwise Mastercard will become my preferred card for in-person swipes.

No doubt signing with Mastercards will still continue in establishments that want tips, you get presented with a slip then for the purpose of voluntarily adding more money to the bill. If Mastercard could get rid of the U.S. tipping culture then that would be something.

(HT: Doctor of Credit)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It is pretty outdated an unneeded when you think about it.

    I guess it also means U.S. cards aren’t going to go to chip and pin any time soon. Sounds like Mastercard has decided on chip+leave 😉

  2. It’ll take ages to get rid of the signatures. I spent the last two weeks in the US and most places insisted I sign something even if I used chip + PIN. Many of the hotels in Vegas asked for photo ID as well when using a credit card. Up here in Canada we use the tap for small transactions all the time, but when I did that in the US it completely freaked people out (when it worked).

  3. Great to read that Fred Flintstone finally got into modern times ;its 2017 now.
    I feel like Fred Flintstone when a cashier asks me to sign .
    Maybe they did that in Europe also, but thats more than 10 years ago
    More than ….
    OK the USA may be a 3 world Fred Flintstone country but there is something other countries do’nt have : the tipping culture
    It makes customer and servant both aware of the value of providing service .

  4. sign a slip? why? When I swipe and sign my signature looks like this ————— yea a line that is all. Or when I have to sign a piece of paper it is a a squiggly line. in 20+ years no clerk has EVER checked my signature. I worked at Jordan Marsh (they bought Macy’s out of bankruptcy) and we had to check every signature. We were taught to read view the signature upside down so we see the flow and not the letters. The first letter of each name is only the part of a persons signature that is the same each time, everything else changes .

  5. Please implement PIN for US issued cards.

    Heaven forbid someone leaves behind their CC, or worse, that server or clerk decides to purchase something when your card is away from you for a few minutes.

    I like the European model where the CC device is brought to the table, leaving little opportunity for your card to leave your control.

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