Visa eliminates need for signatures on EMV transactions

by John Mayleben

I’ve been known to wonder if the Declaration of Independence were signed today instead of 240-plus years ago, how would we put our “John Hancock” on the document. After all, who would have thought we wouldn’t need to put our signature on a credit card transaction?

Visa has recently answered this question.  Effective this April, if you accept a Visa EMV card transaction, you will not be required to get a signature on that transaction. This change is ONLY for EMV transactions (chip or contactless) – not for the old traditional mag stripe transactions.

Visa is clearly using this as an incentive to drive those last remaining merchants towards accepting EMV transactions. This fits with their goal of having all of the U.S. face-to-face transactions run on the EMV system. The reason for this is fraud control.

This type of pressure on any of the remaining merchants who have not upgraded their technology will continue to ramp up. The benefit to a merchant who is EMV compliant is that they can avoid holding liability for counterfeit card transactions.

MRA has been offering EMV compliant terminals to our members since 2014, so, thankfully, most of our merchant processing locations are already up to date.

Visa recently reported that counterfeit card fraud is down 66 percent over two years ago. They also reported that card issuers had issued more than 460 million chip-based Visa cards. As I look in my wallet today, none of my cards are the traditional mag stripe and I would guess that is the same for most consumers.

If you haven’t upgraded your technology to accept EMV chip transactions, please take a minute to reach out to us at MRA. We can provide you with numerous options for you to consider for upgrading your merchant processing terminal.

By the way, maybe those 56 patriots might have simply “dipped” their chip cards or tapped their iPhones against the reader to signify their acceptance of the Declaration of Independence. But that certainly doesn’t have the cache of “putting your John Hancock” on the document.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at MRA.

John Mayleben, one of the nation’s first Certified Payments Professionals designated by the Electronic Transaction Association, is an MRA consultant and national expert on payment processing.