Mastercard is ready to follow through with its plan to phase out signatures for cardholder purchases. The company has announced that effective April 13th, it will no longer require signatures from merchants in the US and Canada.
It’s not a huge shift. Even now, signatures are only required for under 20 percent of transaction in North America. But the move to completely abandon the requirement can be read as a symbolic gesture in acknowledgement of the ongoing digitization of payments.
It’s also an acknowledgement of the rapid evolution in payment security. In a statement announcing the change, Mastercard emphasized that it has implemented new security technologies over the past several years “including the successful chip migration, tokenization and biometrics as well as early detection systems to minimize the need for cardholder signatures in fraud prevention.” Signatures, in comparison, are pretty much useless.
The company also asserted that “contactless or tap-and-go payments are set to take off with a majority of new payment terminals equipped with the necessary hardware.” That trend will tie in with the company’s plans to launch biometric payment cards designed to scan a user’s fingerprint during a contactless transaction, bringing considerable security to the convenience and simplicity of tap-to-pay transactions.