Mastercard is almost ready to leave signatures behind. The company has announced that after April of next year, no signatures will be required for any debit or credit purchase in the US or Canada.
Receipt signatures are already well on their way out the door, of course. Recognizing that they’re pretty much useless as a security tool at this point, a lot of people just write squiggly lines or do a drawing; and Mastercard says that it’s only required for less than 20 percent of transactions in North America today.
Nevertheless, completely abandoning it is a big, symbolic step – the next one “in the digital evolution of payments and payment security,” according to a statement announcing the move. And it’s one that “will not have any impact on safety,” the company says, since Mastercard’s new “chip, tokenization, biometrics and specialized digital platforms use newer and more secure methods to prove identity.” Indeed, the company’s successful trials of new biometric payment cards do point to a new level of security that eliminates the need for old-fashioned safeguards like signatures, and like so many others the company has also made investments in AI software that can enable additional layers of behind-the-scenes security.
Meanwhile, the world’s other big credit card company, Visa, has just announced a new platform of digital security tools for its partners to take advantage of, suggesting that security innovation is ramping up across the financial services industry as consumers and businesses alike grow more aware of the threats emerging with the digitization of commerce. It’s a lot to contend with, but for consumers, at least, things are just getting easier – especially since we won’t need to sign our receipts anymore.