Starting later this month, most major credit cards and large retailers will stop requiring signatures on credit card transactions.
Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Discover will stop requiring signatures to complete credit card purchases later in April.
Signatures will not disappear completely, as retailers will have to decide whether they want to stop having you sign to complete a transaction. Target plans to eliminate them this month and Wal-Mart has already stopped them for most transactions.
The rules will vary by card network. Visa is making card signatures optional in all of North America for retailers with chip technology. American Express is dropping signature requirements globally for all its cards. Mastercard is ending the signature requirement only in the US and Canada. Discover is ending the signature requirement in the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
In addition to chip technology replacing the need for signatures, dropping the signature requirement speeds up check out, which is an added incentive for merchants.
Smaller retailers may continue to require signatures, as Square and other small retail payment systems may not abandon signature requirements so soon.
Credit card industry experts do not feel that dropping the signature requirement will have any effect on credit card security, as signature matching or checking is now done very rarely.
We strongly recommend only using credit cards with chips. You should try to make purchases at locations with chip readers, as they have greatly reduced credit card fraud for in-store purchases.