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Visa today announced that it will join MasterCard, American Express, and Discover in eliminating the need for signatures when making any EMV chip or contactless payment, starting this April.

The change will enable North American users of Apple Pay, Google Pay (formerly Android Pay/Google Wallet), and Samsung Pay to complete Visa transactions with little more than an identity-authenticated touch of the device to a payment terminal. EMV chip and contactless payments generally rely on tokenized one-time codes for individual transactions, rather than reusing the same code across multiple transactions, reducing the potential for fraud.

Noting that credit card fraud has declined 66 percent in the United States in the less than two years since EMV chips were launched, Visa cites increased convenience as its reason for the change, along with use of “advanced analytics and biometrics” that are increasing transaction security.

Visa’s move follows similar announcements made by MasterCard, American Express, and Discover last year. All four of the companies are dropping the signature requirement this April across the United States and Canada. Discover will also eliminate it for Mexico and the Caribbean, while American Express is dropping signature requirements worldwide.


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Depending on the card provider, a signature was previously required for payments exceeding either $25 or $50, as a backup means to confirm that the transaction was undertaken by the cardholder. In practice, some vendors skipped signature validation altogether, despite the requirement; Visa’s new rule will make the signature optional, at the vendor’s discretion.

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