April Card Brand Changes Have Arrived, No Signature Required

Restaurant Operations, Point of Sale,
By Heartland Payment Systems

Every April and October, the four major card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover) make policy changes to their interchange fees. Starting this month, a few more changes are being made, but the most notable is that the Big Four will no longer require customer signatures for transactions of any size in a face-to-face environment.

Visa’s policy only applies to EMV chip card transactions, while MasterCard, AmEx and Discover’s policies apply to any terminal or point-of-sale transactions.

What does this have to do with me?
If you’re a small business owner, this has everything to do with you. This latest update may seem small in scale, but it will allow you to reap the most benefit. Keep in mind that any business that wants to collect a signature can continue to do so.  The card brands are simply stating that you don't have to if you don't want to. For example, a restaurant that takes tips will still want to collect a signature.  

Eliminating the requirement for a signature is not only a step forward as the world of digital payment evolves, it also shows that credit and debit cards are becoming more secure (Note: Merchants can still ask for signatures, they will just no longer be required. A receipt must still be provided to a customer if they ask for one, even without a signature). 

“What consumers will find reassuring is that removing the need to sign for purchases will not have any impact on safety,” said MasterCard’s executive vice president Linda Kirkpatrick in a recent blog post. “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.”

So not only can you process transactions more securely and worry-free, the new update also allows you to process customers through your line faster. Think about how many additional seconds signatures added to the day that you’re now able to get back. That accrual of seconds over the course of the day could free up time for you, which could result in less man hours or the time to address other duties, like spending time getting to know your customers, introducing them to the rewards in your customer engagement program or even processing your employee payroll.

Chip on your shoulder?

​'When you think about it, a scribbled signature on a piece of flimsy receipt paper is not the best line of defense when it comes to fraud protection, especially with the issuing of EMV chip cards. That being said, if you’re a merchant that hasn’t updated to an EMV terminal, these changes will not apply to your business. This can leave you exposed to identity theft and data breaches, so it’s probably best to protect the business you work hard for everyday with amazing security.

The benefits of updating your terminals will reduce the chances of fraud happening and increase customer trust, among other things. (Have we mentioned that Heartland’s EMV chip processors are four times faster than the other guys’? That’s like…even more extra seconds added to your day!)

Onward and Upward

If you have any questions moving forward, please don’t hesitate to contact your Heartland Relationship Manager. Our goal is to always make sure that your business is running as smoothly as possible, and we understand that sometimes changes like these take some getting used to.