Mastercard’s Plans to Fully Eliminate Signature Requirement Next Year Will Speed Up Apple Pay

Mastercard today announced that cardholders will no longer have to provide a signature for any purchases in the United States and Canada after April 2018. The change will apply to both debit and credit cards.


Mastercard said removing the need to sign for card-present transactions will not have any impact on customer security due to modern safeguards.

"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," said Linda Kirkpatrick, an Executive Vice President at Mastercard.

Mastercard's consumer research unsurprisingly found that 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 the receipt when making a purchase.

Already, more than 80 percent of in-store Mastercard transactions in North America today do not require a cardholder signature at checkout. Mastercard said both customers and merchants support the change.

The long-existing "signature required" clause is intended to verify that customers own the debit or credit card they are attempting to use. The process is supposed to involve the cashier verifying the signature on the receipt matches the one on the back of the card, but in reality, this process is often skipped.

The change should make Apple Pay transactions even quicker for Mastercard cardholders. Currently, even when using Apple Pay, sometimes a signature can be required for purchases over $50 in the United States.

The signature requirement is already very uncommon in Canada, where chip-and-PIN cards are the norm. At most merchants in Canada, customers insert a card into the payment terminal, enter a PIN, and the purchase is completed.

Mastercard removing the signature requirement won't speed up Apple Pay in Canada, however, as contactless payments aren't generally permitted for purchases above $100. Above this limit, customers must use chip-and-PIN.

Mastercard currently doesn't require a signature for purchases totaling $50 or less. Visa's no-signature limit is $25, but the amount is upped to $50 for purchases made at grocery stores and discount stores like Walmart.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Greenlight’s Smart MasterCard Debit Card for Kids Now Supports Apple Pay

Greenlight today announced that its smart MasterCard debit card for kids now supports Apple Pay and can be used in over 120 countries.


Greenlight is a MasterCard debit card for kids that parents can manage using their smartphones. Parents can top up the card with money instantly, from anywhere, and then specify the exact stores where a child can spend. There's also a Spend Anywhere tab for parents that trust their children's spending habits.

With Apple Pay support, kids no longer have to carry the physical debit card on them, and can simply pay using their iPhone or paired Apple Watch. The card can be set up through the Wallet app on eligible devices.

Every transaction is recorded in the Greenlight app [Direct Link] for iPhone and iPad, and parents receive instant notifications on where and when a child spends, or tries to spend. The card, protected by a PIN number, can be toggled on or off entirely as well, particularly in the event that it's lost or stolen.

For added assurance, Greenlight cards can not be used to withdraw cash at an ATM or get cash back from a purchase. The card also can not be used at any store or website in the categories of wire transfers, money orders, escort services, massage parlors, lotteries, gambling, horse racing, and dog racing.

Greenlight accounts are FDIC insured in the United States through the company's partner Community Federal Savings Bank.

Greenlight costs $4.99 per month, with a free 30-day trial available. Beyond the monthly charge, there are generally no additional fees.

Parents interested in a similar Visa option can look into the recently launched Current smart debit card for kids.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: MasterCard

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MasterCard Reveals Credit Card With Built-In Fingerprint Sensor

MasterCard today unveiled a biometric chip-and-pin credit card featuring a built-in fingerprint sensor that takes cues from mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay.

The card can be used to make purchases like any other, except rather than keying in a PIN number, card holders can choose to place their finger over the square sensor to approve the transaction.

Alternatively, users can take a two-tier authentication approach and use both their PIN and fingerprint to approve the purchase. However, users of the card won't have the convenience or security that comes with registering their print with their smartphone.


With Apple Pay, fingerprint data is encrypted and protected with a key available only to the Secure Enclave on the user's iPhone. The Secure Enclave is walled off from the rest of the hardware and the OS, meaning iOS and other apps never have access to user fingerprint data, it's never stored on Apple servers, and never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else.

The biometric credit card has no such protections. Instead, the user must register their print with the bank or financial institution that issued the card, and while the fingerprint is encrypted on the card itself, it's still unclear what security and privacy measures are in place to deal with the registration process.


Despite those concerns, Mastercard's chief of safety and security, Ajay Bhalla, said that the fingerprint technology was "not something that can be taken or replicated", and that the biometric card would help "to deliver additional convenience and security".

MasterCard plans to roll out the cards in Europe and the Asia Pacific region soon, following successful tests in South Africa through Barclays subsidiary Absa and supermarket Pick n Pay.


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MasterCard Shopping Chatbots Now Taking Orders on Facebook Messenger

MasterCard added its digital wallet Masterpass to Facebook Messenger this week, enabling consumers to place online orders via the chat platform with just a few clicks. The rollout is still in the initial stages but the payment system is already available for some food merchants, including Subway, The Cheesecake Factory, and FreshDirect.

The transaction process involves searching for and interacting with a Messenger chat bot to specify the order from a range of options. The user then arranges a pick-up or delivery location, followed by checkout confirmation, where they pay for the order via Masterpass.


With 1.2 billion users on Messenger, MasterCard hopes the feature will boost fast food sales online by removing the need for consumers to type in their card information for every transaction. Instead, consumers load their card number and other identifying information onto the digital wallets and then use the wallets for faster shopping.

That said, users still need to input their password for every Masterpass transaction, so the system lacks the ease of use of biometric mobile payment systems like Apple Pay. MasterCard is said to be working on a similar solution.

MasterCard's plans to bring merchant transaction bots to Facebook's chat service where revealed in October. The credit card company also unveiled plans for bank bots, through which users can ask questions about their account, look at purchase history, monitor spending levels, receive financial assistance, and more.


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