Visa today announced that it will join MasterCard, American Express, and Discover in eliminating the need for signatures when making any EMV chip or contactless payment, starting this April. The change will enable North American users of Apple Pay, Google Pay ( formerly Android Pay/Google Wallet), and Samsung Pay to complete Visa transactions with little more than an identity-authenticated touch of the device to a payment terminal. EMV chip and contactless payments generally rely on tokenized one-time codes for individual transactions, rather than reusing the same code across multiple transactions, reducing the potential for fraud. Noting that credit card fraud has declined 66 percent in the United States in the less than two years since EMV chips were launched, Visa cites increased convenience as its reason for the change, along with use of advanced analytics and biometrics that are increasing transaction security. Visas move follows similar announcements made by MasterCard, American Express, and Discover last year. All four of the companies are dropping the signature requirement this April across the United States and Canada. Discover will also eliminate it for Mexico and the Caribbean, while American Express is dropping signature requirements worldwide. Depending on the card provider, a signature was previously required for payments exceeding either $25 or $50, as a backup means to confirm that the transaction was undertaken by the cardholder. In practice, some vendors skipped signature validation altogether, despite the requirement; Visas new rule will make the signature optional, at the vendors discretion.
Starting in April of this year, you won't have to sign for EMV transactions. It's been about a month since American Express and Mastercard decided to stop requiring signatures for EMV chip credit cards. Now Visa is joining their ranks, making signatures optional for chipped transactions in North America. "Visa is committed to delivering secure, fast and convenient payments at the point of sale," said VIsa's Dan Sanford in a statement. " Our focus is on continually evolving the market towards dynamic authentication methods such as EMV chip, as well as investing in emerging capabilities that leverage advanced analytics and biometrics. We believe making the signature requirement optional for EMV chip-enabled merchants is the responsible next step to enhance security and convenience at the point of sale." Contact and contactless chip-enabled points of sale are taking over, of course, for their enhanced security and convenience for retail transactions. Visa notes that it has deployed more than 460 million EMV chip cards and readers at over 2.5 million locations.