“The big companies like Mastercard, working in concert with the banks that help process payments, have done away with mandatory signatures. All you have to do is call your credit card processing company and ask for a waiver,” explains Vik Brahm of Rosemont Beverage. “Your processing company can update your payment terminal to remove the signature prompt.”
Card networks like Mastercard are in charge of the rails that card payments run on. Banks issue cards and some of them also help process payments on behalf of merchants, which pay fees to card issuers, networks and acquirers.
The credit card networks used to be strict about making people sign for purchases, but the signatures became less important over time. Some networks stopped requiring them for small purchases. Over the past couple of years, many have stopped requiring them for almost all purchases.
The companies say signatures are no longer needed because card technology to catch fraud has improved, in particular the chip cards that have largely replaced magnetic stripe cards over the past few years.
There are exceptions where the networks still want signatures. For example, Visa says it requires a signature if the merchant doesn’t accept chip cards. So, it’s important to get their permission ahead of time. But even under those circumstances, Brahm says there is another way to eliminate signatures and gain added protection from the virus.
“Customers may not realize that they can process a payment by simply tapping their card against the payment terminal. All they have to do is contact the company and ask for the “tap” feature to be enabled. I make that recommendation all the time. Things like this are all part of the new normal so we might as well get on with it!”