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SecurityCents Blog

Insights on payment data security, payments news and trends

So Long Signatures

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As reported by PYMNTS.com https://www.pymnts.com/mastercard/2017/mastercard-ditches-cardholder-signatures-for-transactions yesterday morning, MasterCard announced that, effective April 2018, they will no longer require signatures for payment processing. The chicken scratch we all use to “sign” on paper (which becomes even less intelligible on a PIN Pad) was hardly a security measure anyway. And, as EMV card issuances approaches 100% what value does an unintelligible scrawl provide other than a hassle and cost to merchants. We are hearing from merchants who were hard hit by chargebacks pre-EMV that they simply don’t get the chargeback notice at all after implementing. That is purely anecdotal but also not unexpected. If the merchant read the chip they are going to win the chargeback. Why should the issuers hassle with and spend the money to force the merchant to dispute when they know they are highly likely to lose.

With any luck we’ll see the other brands follow suit, as is usually the case. What a boon to merchants to not have to collect or store digital signatures.

That said, as EMV has brought more PIN pad options to my clients in the hospitality industry we may be finding new and interesting uses for signatures. Many of my hotel clients are eager to collect signatures not necessarily for payment security but to get the cardholder’s agreement to rates, pet policies, or smoking policies so that they may enforce damage penalties should the need arise. The larger screens are great places for advertising attractions at large resorts as well. I don’t think we are seeing the end of the signature capture PIN pad but the death of the signature as a card fraud prevention and chargeback dispute tool may be upon us.