When Hell Freezes Over.
“When hell freezes over” … that’s when we thought the Card Associations would eliminate the need for signatures at the point of sale. Who knew? This is what is going down: as of April 13, 2018 Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express will no longer require a signature for a credit card sale that uses a chip card at the point-of-sale, aka an EMV transaction. Seems that no-one ever checked whether the signature on the slip ever matched the one on the back of the card anyway, so the usefulness of this requirement as a form of authentication has long passed. (Note that point-of-sale equipment will continue printing out a signature line even when a chip card is presented for payment.)
Signatures actually harken back to the days when carbon forms were used in conjunction with the “knucklebusters” (manual imprinters). Merchants were typically updated monthly with printed catalogs of “bad” credit card numbers that were supposed to be referenced before the sale was made. Carbon sales forms were then submitted to their processors for payment, which was then usually returned via check. So, you can imagine how unwieldy this process was!
A very important note for those merchants who have not yet upgraded to chip-reading equipment and continue to accept only mag-swiped cards: For protection against chargebacks, you will need to request a signed sales slip, and then store such receipts in case of a disputed charge.