If you haven’t noticed, a major trend has emerged in the last year around signatures and credit cards. In late 2017 and early 2018, card brands announced major changes to their signature requirements. Mastercard is now taking yet another step away from signatures.
Starting April 2019, both Mastercard debit and credit cards may not contain a signature panel on the back. This change comes on the heels of Mastercard making signatures for its cardholders’ transactions optional. As a business owner processing Mastercard transactions, not much will change for you. In fact, the removal of the signature panel takes one step out of the checkout process.
You might be wondering why the signature panel was implemented in the first place and why it’s ok to deprecate them now? That’s next.
Why a Signature Panel?
The signature panel serves two purposes:
- It’s the point of reference for a cashier to validate that the signature authorizing a transaction is actually yours. If the cashier is unsure if you are truly the cardholder, they may compare your receipt or license signature to the one on the back of the card.
- If left unsigned, your card may be dubbed invalid and businesses may refuse the card as a form of payment since all card issuers urge businesses to require this in some way.
The signature panel is part of a generation of old anti-fraud practices that have been greatly overshadowed by new technology such as the EMV chip, so it’s likely that as a consumer or business owner you haven’t followed best practices around the signature panel, at least not in the last few years.
So why is it time to deprecate the signature panel? It’s merely a nuisance for both cardholders and businesses at this point. Parties on both sides of the sale crave convenience and efficiency in a transaction, and verifying a matching signature from an I.D. or signed receipt with the back of a credit card is anything but convenient or efficient.
In the last few years, credit cards have received a major upgrade in terms of anti-fraud technology, and will continue to as EMV-chip card technology is further optimized, as chip-and-PIN supersedes chip-and-signature authorization and as more sophisticated technology, such as dynamic CVV2, rolls out.
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Do you utilize the signature panel on the back of credit cards or do you rely on more advanced technology like EMV to prevent fraud? Tell us about your experience below.