Say goodbye to this common checkout routine in 2018

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Woman paying with card at checkout
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Your checkout routine is going to get a lot more streamlined in the new year!

Beginning April 2018, the major credit card companies will all agree on one thing — that you no longer have to sign for any credit or debit purchase you make no matter the dollar amount.

RELATED: Have you joined Clark’s new ‘Ditch Your Debt?’ Facebook group yet?

No more signing your name

Back in October 2017, MasterCard revealed in a blog post that you’d no longer have to use your John Hancock at the checkout register as of April 2018.

That early and forward-looking announcement recognized the fact that more than 80% of MasterCard in-store transactions already didn’t require a cardholder signature at checkout.

Discover made a similar announcement in December 2017 and American Express followed suit, too.

And now the last holdout — Visa — has announced an April timeline to ditch the signature like all their competitors.

There is some wiggle room here for merchants. Those who want to keep requiring a signature will be free to do so. In fact, merchants who don’t accept Visa cards with security chips will still be bound to have you sign at the register when you pay with plastic.

Yet for everybody else, early word about this new industry-wide development has been favorable — particularly at Walmart.

“Removing this step at checkout will save time for our customers and decrease the expense associated with storing and presenting signatures back to the issuer, all while preserving security for customers,” a Walmart spokesperson told PYMNTS.com. “We anticipate this will result in savings that can be used to continue to lower prices for our customers.”

The idea of signing for purchases dates back to the early days of plastic when a signature on the back of a card could be used as verification. But today, verification can happen on the back-end via any of a number of methods such as chip, tokenization and biometrics.

And just because you won’t have to sign for an in-store purchase anymore, that doesn’t mean your transaction will be inherently any less safe.

Zero-fraud-liability is still a hallmark of credit card purchases and part of what makes them superior to debit card transactions.

RELATED: 4 credit card traps to avoid in 2018

You have options when it comes to building credit

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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