This change will affect every Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cardholder

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The next time you go to use your Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover credit card, you may notice a change in your familiar checkout routine.

Beginning this month, the major credit card networks are dropping the signature requirement at merchants nationwide.

RELATED: 15 credit cards that will pay to replace your stolen or damaged cell phone

Credit card networks are dropping signature requirements starting this month

The companies made separate announcements about the big change over the past few months, but they all say signatures just aren’t necessary to fight fraud with the global adoption of EMV chip technology and other security enhancements.

The card networks insist that this is good news for merchants and consumers because it will speed up checkout lines.

RELATED: 15 credit cards that will pay to replace your stolen or damaged cell phone

Company statements: 

American Express

“American Express today announced it is eliminating the requirement for merchants to collect Card Members’ signatures for all purchase transactions at the point of sale beginning in April 2018. The move, which applies globally to all American Express-accepting merchants, will help provide a more consistent and simplified checkout experience for merchants and Card Members in regions around the world, speed up the process of paying in store and help reduce merchants’ operating expenses associated with retaining signatures.”

Source: December 2017 news release 


“Visa is committed to delivering secure, fast and convenient payments at the point of sale,” said Dan Sanford, vice president, consumer products, Visa. “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.”

Source: January 2018 news release 


“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.”

Source: October 2017 news release


“As the payments industry continues to evolve and introduce new methods of transacting, we’re making sure that Discover is providing customers and merchants with a smooth and more secure payments experience,” said Jasma Ghai, vice president of Global Products Innovation at Discover. “With the rise in new payment security capabilities, like chip technology and tokenization, the time is right to remove this step from the checkout experience.”

Source: December 2017 news release


Final thought 

Money expert Clark Howard recommends that you still pay with credit instead of debit for its superior fraud protections and set up text alerts to get notifications when your card is used.

RELATED: This simple list could save you if your credit cards are ever stolen

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