Walmart, Target Kill Card Signatures

Retailers say they will stop the “worthless practice” of requiring customer signatures for card purchases.

April 10, 2018

NEW YORK – Business Insider reports that Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are no longer requiring customers to sign receipts for card purchases at the point of sale.

NACS Daily reported last week that as of this month, all major credit card companies will no longer ask for signatures for transactions made with EMV chip cards, a change that has been coming slowly since the additional security has been added to credit and debit cards in the United States.

Although retailers have the option to continue the practice of requiring a customer signature, two large retailers are stopping the practice. The New York Times writes: “Target plans to eliminate them this month. Walmart considers signatures ‘worthless’ and has already stopped recording them on most transactions, according to Randy Hargrove, a company spokesman. It will soon get rid of them completely.”

Linda Kirkpatrick, Mastercard's head of business development in the United States, told the NY Times that the signature for card purchases “has really outrun its useful life.”

The news source continues that card networks are sending a message that signatures have become obsolete. "I think they're done," Mark Horwedel, CEO of the Merchant Advisory Group, commented, adding that he expects three-quarters of his group's members (large retailers) will have stopped asking customers to sign their names on credit card receipts by the end of the year. Speeding up checkout lines is a powerful incentive, he said.

Some retailers cite transaction time as a reason for ditching the signature. Shayna Ferullo, owner of the Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters in Brewster, Mass., told the NY Times that pausing for signatures noticeably slows down service during rush hour. "Any extra second is valuable," she said. "And everyone knows the signature is a joke. No one really signs anymore; it's all scribbles and squiggles. Some people do smiley faces."