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Mastercard to Ditch Card Signature Verification in Canada Next Year

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Mastercard appears to be the first of major credit card issuers to finally eliminate the need for signatures when paying for a purchase at checkouts.

Linda Kirkpatrick, Executive Vice President, Market Development, MasterCard, detailed in a press release today how over 80 percent of Mastercard in-store transactions in North America today do not require a signature at checkouts, and as of April 2018, that number will hit 100 percent, as the company plans to ditch signatures for credit and debit purchases in Canada and the U.S.

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Mastercard says their research has concluded most people find it would be easier and faster to pay if signatures were eliminated at tills. Moreover, merchant partners also support the change, to help speed up checkout lines.

Kirkpatrick details how the company’s “secure network and state-of-the art systems combined with new digital payment methods that include chip, tokenization, biometrics and specialized digital platforms use newer and more secure methods to prove identity.”

The company says their research also concludes customers are “ready for this evolution,” with most not worried about retiring signatures.

In Canada, most credit card and debit transactions require a PIN at POS terminals. For mobile payments, authorization is completed with Touch ID (and soon Face ID with iPhone X) when it comes to Apple Pay. Also, for mobile and tap payments, most financial institutions in Canada have set limits of $50 to $100, as an extra layer of security. There’s just no longer a need for signatures.

Moneris earlier today reported tapless transactions and spending increased in Canada’s third quarter, a sign most Canadians are already using tap and mobile payments at checkouts.

I don’t remember the last time I had to sign at checkouts. Even when a signature is required, merchants never check them anyways (I usually sign with a smiley face and nobody bats an eye). Get ready for Visa, American Express and others to follow.

Are you going to miss the signature at checkouts with Mastercard?

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  • sukisszoze

    Just about every cc purchase is tap or chip and pin..don’t remember last time I need to sign something!

  • Never had to sign for purchases anyway.

  • Joe

    Chip and pin works 99.9% of the time, but sometimes the chip reader doesn’t work or the card gets worn out. The signature isn’t a very good authentication method (nobody ever checks the signature anyways), but the thought of someone finding my credit card and making a bunch of unauthorized purchases scares me.

  • Another Cramer

    No one has ever successfully used my signature fraudulently, but MC has three fraud alerts on my account in three years due to their newest security standards.

    Epic fail by credit card companies!

  • FragilityG4

    I haven’t signed the back of my credit cards since the chip was introduced.

  • ABetterWorld

    Watched this report that showed that there is no where that checks signatures against a database. You can write anything.

  • HiKsFiles

    Good thing… I forgot how to write with my bare hands anyway! lol

  • I feel sorry for you.

  • Dehop

    “Also, for mobile and tap payments, most financial institutions in Canada have set limits of $50 to $100, as an extra layer of security”

    Just wish the CC issuers would increase that limit when it knows the transaction is made with TouchID or FaceID, which is far more secure than chip+PIN. It should be dead simple, since it’s not the “real” credit card number that’s being sent but one specifically created when setting up Apple Pay.

  • mcfilmmakers

    Apparently the 100$ tap payment limit depends on the store, not the bank. I have clients all the time tell me that they are able to spend over the 100$ cap.

  • Riddlemethis

    I disagree. I find it too dangerous to use Apple Pay because there’s a very high probability I will select the wrong credit card by accident. Additionally, the merchants I frequent don’t have Apple Pay.

    In the USA one merchant I spoke with only receives about 1 customer a day on average that pays by Apple Pay.

    In another big box store I was asked to show ID even though I was using a chip credit card for which the merchant was using. Some merchants have it etched in their head that both a signature is required and ID for purchases. They don’t care about lineups.

    With a merchant limit of $100 average, I fail to see the what’s the point of this extra security measure? I guess they mean people are using tap?

  • Riddlemethis

    The chip concept is actually very flawed. Cloning your card also includes cloning your chip too. Tapping should no longer be allowed.

  • Riddlemethis

    not entirely true. I have come across overzealous cashiers or merchants who look at your signature very carefully, even with a Costco credit card that has your picture imprinted on the card.

  • There are a lot of blind people who disagree with this , including myself.
    Why should we have the cashier assist us in pushing the buttons on the terminal when we can simply tap and be on our way?

  • Dehop

    It’s your responsibility to understand how to use Apple Pay properly… like, how you can make one card the default. I’ve never had a secondary card take priority.

    Which merchants are you going to? Roughly half of sit-down restaurants I visit have them, about 75% of fast-food places like McDonald’s and food court places, and 90% of franchise supermarkets I go to support NFC which means they support Apple Pay. This is of course in Canada, the US is playing catch-up. Also in a large city; if you live in a more rural location your experiences may vary.

    Large retail stores are different, since tap often have $100 limits they probably didn’t want the expense of NFC if the majority of purchases at their stores exceed that amount.

    Even if there’s no NFC support, they still all support chip+PIN. I have not been asked for a signature in Canada for about half a decade. I know this for fact because I just went through 15 years worth of old receipts in a decluttering effort, last signed one for a Canadian terminal was late 2012.

    Rather than cast aspersions on the rest of our experiences maybe you should reveal where you live and what stores you go.

  • Z S

    “I tried it out briefly and my US credit cards would often take priority over my Canadian cards.” You can set your default card in Settings.

    “Additionally, most of the merchants I frequent don’t have Apple Pay.” – Here in Canada? About the ONLY places that don’t frequently accept tap seem to be restaurants — and even a bunch of them do now. Almost everywhere else takes tap.

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