Visa Payments No Longer Require Signatures In U.S., Canada

In a move that will seem amazing to anyone living outside the United States, Visa has today announced that it will eliminate the requirement for a signature for EMV payments beginning this April.

The move will come into effect in both the United States and Canada and will apply to both chip-and-signature credit and debit cards as well as contactless solutions such as Apple Pay and Android/Google Pay.

In a move that will hopefully streamline the checkout process for purchases, cashiers will no longer be required to check a signature against the one on the back of a customer’s card. However, this is often not actually carried out by cashiers anyway, making the whole security process less than secure in the first place.

“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.”

The move brings the U.S. and Canada more in-line with countries such as the U.K. where signatures have not been used for payments for a number of years and contactless payments are used extensively. From April, customers in the U.S. and Canada will be able to skip the signature process for Visa cards similarly to Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

This feature parity is no doubt the driving force behind Visa’s move, but no matter the motivation, anyone wanting to buy something with a Visa card should soon be able to forgo the signature part of the process entirely.

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