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Say goodbye to this common checkout routine in 2018

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Theo Thimou, Clark.com

MasterCard is planning to drop the requirement on merchants to have you provide your signature when you make a credit or debit purchase next year.

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No more signing your name

MasterCard says in a new blog post that come April of 2018, you’ll no longer have to use your John Hancock at the checkout register.

In fact, we’ve already reached the point where more than 80% of MasterCard in-store transactions don’t require a cardholder signature at checkout. That’s according to Linda Kirkpatrick, MasterCard’s Executive Vice President of U.S. Market Development.

So the writing is clearly on the wall that MasterCard has steadily been on the path to ditching signatures.

What’s remains to be seen is if other major plastic providers like American Express, Visa and Discover will jump on board with this movement.

The idea of signing for a purchase 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, Kirkpatrick notes.

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

Zero-fraud-liability will still be offered to consumers on all MasterCard transactions.

Furthermore, if a certain retailer who accepts MasterCard wants to keep requiring a signature after April 2018, they will be free to do so. It’s just that MasterCard’s network will officially do away with the antiquated requirement of collecting a signature.

Early word from retailers about this 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.”

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