MasterCard Says Signatures No Longer Required at the Checkout Counter

MasterCard Drops Signature Requirement for Both Credit and Debit Card Purchases

What’s happening at the checkout counter is changing in a big hurry.

Checks are basically extinct. Cash is almost gone. Credit cards are being replaced by phones. And even the cards are changing — though that’s going slower than originally planned.

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Now, you can start saying good-bye to the signature — or what your customers call their signature.

MasterCard Drops Signature Requirement

MasterCard (NYSE:MA) just announced it’s doing away with a policy where merchants must reuire signatures from customers at checkout counters. The action concerns all transactions in the U.S. and Canada.

The phase-out will be complete by April 2018 but from the tone of the announcement, it seems the company is aware that customers signing off on a transaction has already become largely a thing of the past.

“Think about the purchases you’ve made over the past week or month. How many of them required you to sign on the dotted line? In my case, I made three quick stops on the way into work this morning and didn’t scribble my name for any of those purchases,” writes MasterCard Executive Vice President of U.S. Market Development Linda Kirkpatrick on the company’s Beyond the Transaction blog.

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For now, this change will only apply to MasterCard customers at your checkout counter. MasterCard says the policy shift is a response to its own customer demands. Company cardholders say they want to spend less time at the register.

“The change matches all of our expectations for fast and convenient shopping experiences. A majority of people believe it would be easier to pay and that checkout lines would move faster if they didn’t need to sign when making a purchase,” Kirkpatrick adds.

It’s hard to imagine not requiring customers to sign their names will significantly reduce the time they spend in your business’s checkout line. But when you combine this change with all the other recent advancements happening at the register, the process has come a long way since requiring two forms of ID to accept a check or when you had to make a credit card imprint.

MasterCard does point out one benefit to its merchants. Once signatures aren’t required at checkout, it’ll spare your business the burden of safely storing and eventually disposing of those signatures.

Kirkpatrick adds the change will not impact the security of any MasterCard transaction in the future. She writes, “Our secure network and state-of-the art systems combined with new digital payment methods that include chip, tokenization, biometrics and specialized digital platforms use newer and more secure methods to prove identity.”

Credit Card Transaction Photo via Shutterstock


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

3 Reactions
  1. This is a change. There is also a trend towards completely cashless transactions. Can we see a future without paper money?

  2. There will come a time where cards are not even needed. They will be integrated in smartphones and you can buy from just your profile.

  3. But I am worried about security. I hope that this is still secured even if there is no signature required.