April 15 is known throughout the United States as tax day since it the date by which citizens need to have sent their income taxes to the IRS. As of 2018, consumers will have another reason to remember April 15: It is the date beyond which customers no longer need to provide a signature when they make a payment using an EMV chip credit or debit card.
Mastercard, Discover, Visa and American Express are no longer requiring customer signatures in order for transactions to be processed. That being said, the ball still remains in the merchants’ court. If you still want to document the purchase via a signature, you are within your rights as a retailer to demand it of your patrons. For instance, restaurant owners who want to encourage tipping might still want to take the step of bringing the check/receipt to the table for a customer signature, at which time a gratuity is often added. Just be aware that people may become increasingly unfamiliar with the concept of signing on a receipt or an electronic signature pad as time goes by. As a result, they could get a bit annoyed with the extra few seconds it takes to provide their autograph before leaving with their purchase.
Now that signatures are not required for EMV card purchases, you might be asking yourself if the credit card companies are becoming lax about security. In fact, the opposite is true. Since encryption of transactions is built right into the EMV chip, a signed receipt is both ineffectual and redundant. Ask yourself how often cashiers actually take the time to match the signature on your receipt with the one on the back of your credit card, and this fact will become clear.
If you have recently upgraded your point-of-sale system and card processor, you may also be getting used to the idea that more and more people will be making mobile and contactless payments. Again, signatures are not a requirement for these modes of paying. In the end, you may start to see that your checkout lines are moving much more quickly and your customers are happier. There is nothing like a seamless payment process to put a smile on a harried patron’s face. What’s more, foregoing the customer signature has no effect on the ease of product returns since the entire transaction record is built into your EMV system.
April 15 will probably always be known best as the day of reckoning for tax filing. However, merchants can also recognize it as the day when the checkout process became easier and more streamlined. Whether you’re a customer or a business owner, that’s definitely something to smile about.