MasterCard Nixes Signature Mandate

By April 2018, the credit card company will no longer require that users sign at point of sale.
October 23, 2017

PURCHASE, N.Y. – MasterCard has announced it will no longer mandate signatures from users at point of sale starting in April 2018, reports. Because no one really pays that much attention to the signature when checking out, the site says, more and more retail transactions don’t require a John Hancock.

Already, cardholders don’t have to sign more than 80% of all MasterCard North America transactions, according to Linda Kirkpatrick, MasterCard executive vice president. “We are at a transitional period in payments,” she said. “The way our rules are written, merchants don’t even have to ask for the signature 80% of the time, but we felt it was important to go the final mile.”

Signing for a credit card purchase used to make more sense, when there was less authentication methods, such as EMV chips. “We’re at the right point in time in the evolution of digital payments to make the change,” Kirkpatrick said.

Walmart issued a statement in support of MasterCard’s move. “We are excited Mastercard has taken this step to remove the practice of collecting customers’ signatures at the register,” said a spokesperson. “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.”

Kirkpatrick pointed out that retailers can continue to require a signature at point of sale, but the network mandate would dissolve next April. “Merchants selling bigger ticket items may still want to have it there, because there is some element of signing [off on it] that feels like it adds a layer of protection,” she said. “There is literally just no reason not to give our merchants a choice here—and from what we are hearing so far, they are over the moon about it.”