Mastercard, the payments company, announced on Thursday (Oct. 18) that cardholder signatures will now be optional for the back of credit cards and receipts.
In a press release, Mastercard said it is making the changes due to advancements in technology and security. “With modern, advanced forms of authentication now available, removing the requirement for signature capture at the point of sale and now signature panels on Mastercard cards is an important step in support of our digital evolution,” said Linda Kirkpatrick, executive vice president, U.S. merchants and acceptance for Mastercard. “Issuers, merchants and cardholders will benefit from this change as faster, safer options improve satisfaction and increase sales.”
Mastercard said cardholders will be able to check out faster, and consumers who use contactless payment methods won't have to worry about providing a signature. The company noted that the decision was made to better align with consumers' preferences. Based on a survey in the U.S., only 40 percent of consumers sign the backs of their cards, while one-third of those who haven't signed said they don't see a reason to do so. The survey also found that more than half of respondents believe they are secure without signing the cards. Mastercard noted that two-thirds want biometrics to replace signatures, passwords and pins.
As of the middle of April, Mastercard issuers globally will no longer be required to include a signature panel on the back of their card products.
“We see this as a win for all. The investments we’ve made in technology, like artificial intelligence and biometrics, are what’s powering this next step,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence solutions for Mastercard. “We believe our merchants and issuing partners everywhere will embrace the ability to deliver a simpler checkout experience while maintaining the highest levels of security.”
According to Mastercard, removing the need for a signature is part of its shift toward embracing advanced technology such as EMV chip, contactless payments and advanced fraud management technologies. The payments company said the innovations provide greater security and a simpler, more convenient payment experience.
“Signature has been an obsolete form of authentication for quite some time, and removing the signature panel from the cards will reinforce the need for all stakeholders to leverage truly effective authentication technologies to address fraud,” said Mike Cook, Walmart senior vice president and assistant treasurer.