You Don’t Have to Sign Your Credit Card Receipts Anymore
If you’ve used your credit card today or yesterday, you may have noticed that you no longer need to take the extra 10 seconds to scribble an illegible signature on your receipt.
This has been in the works since companies began issuing cards with EMV chips, but it’s been a slow process to get to this point. CreditCards.com notes that the U.S. is behind many other countries in adopting this payment standard. It’s being done to speed up and simplify the checkout process.
It’s also a reflection that requiring signatures is no longer the best way to combat fraud. “Our fraud capabilities have advanced so that signatures are no longer necessary,” said Jaromir Divilek, American Express’s Executive Vice President of Global Network Business, in a press release.
“It’s worth pointing out how little protection the signatures actually provided. How often does the merchant check the signature to make sure it matches?” ValuePenguin credit card expert Robert Harrow said in an interview with Mic. “These chips are pretty complex, they’re encrypted, they make credit cards much harder to skim through credit card skimmers.”
The proliferation of contactless payment systems (including Apple Pay) around the world is also a factor.
Here’s what to keep in mind now.
New Scams Are on the Horizon
Scammers are an industrious bunch, and sooner or later they’ll learn how to crack the new security measures.
According to CreditCards.com, that includes something called “shimming,” in which fraudsters “secretly insert a shimmer, a paper-thin, card-size shim containing an embedded microchip and flash storage into the ‘dip and wait’ card slot.” It can then collect your credit or debit card’s EMV info.
Protect yourself by using the contactless tap-and-go feature rather than swiping or inserting your card, or using something like Apple or Samsung Pay, which are much safer than other types of payments.
Additionally, see a teller when possible (instead of using an ATM), and “don’t proceed with a transaction if your card encounters resistance when it is inserted.” The machine could be compromised.
Use Credit Instead of Debit
As long as you pay off your card each month, try using credit over debit for its enhanced fraud protections. With credit, the money isn’t “gone” until you actually pay your bill, and you have more time to report the fraudulent transactions, should it happen. With a debit card, it takes longer to get money returned to you once it’s already been spent.
That includes connecting a credit card to your virtual wallet rather than a debit card.
And set up text alerts and other notifications when your cards are used. EMV cards are safer than older cards and signatures, but you still want to be proactive with your financial security.