Restaurants no longer need to wait for customer credit card signatures

With chip-enabled card adoption, fraud has fallen.

The days of waiting for customers to sign their credit card receipts will come to an end on Sunday, when four major card companies will drop the requirement for most restaurants.

Mastercard, Discover, American Express and Visa all announced months ago that new security precautions, primarily the adoption of EMV technology, render a signature unnecessary to curb fraudulent use of their cards.

They also noted that alternative ways of paying for orders, from tap-and-go to digital purchases, had already significantly diminished the number of restaurant orders where a patron is required to sign the receipt. Mastercard, for instance, said when it announced plans to drop signatures last October, more than 80% of transactions involving its card were already being closed without a pen touching paper.

Restaurants that have not yet switched to EMV technology—essentially, the acceptance of cards with embedded chips—or fear the use of a bogus card can still ask for the user’s signature, but it will no longer be required.

Credit card fraud has dropped by more than 66% because of EMV technology, according to Visa.

All four of the big card issuers have said the change should streamline transactions, a key benefit to restaurants at a time when many are looking to bolster throughput during peak traffic periods.

“The payments landscape has evolved to the point where we can now eliminate this pain point,” Jaromir Divilek, EVP of global network business for American Express, said in a statement when his company decided to go signature-free in December.


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