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Visa to eliminate customer signatures for cards with security chips

Visa Inc. announced Friday it would no longer require businesses to get customers’ signatures on purchases made with chip-card security.

More than 2.5 million brick-and-mortar stores that have chip-reading terminals will no longer have to get customer signatures, starting in April.

Signatures are an added level of security for customers, but Visa said there’s been added protection from the introduction of chip-enabled cards, called EMV.

“Making the signature requirement optional for EMV chip-enabled merchants is the responsible next step to enhance security and convenience at the point of sale,” Dan Sanford, vice president of consumer products at Visa, said in a statement.

The other major credit card companies — Mastercard Inc., American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services — have said they plan to make the same move.

Retailers, in particular Walmart, have sought to end the requirement for customer signatures because those sales must be processed in a way that costs more than double the sales that require a PIN.

The information from EMV transactions is not as useful to hackers because each EMV transaction generates a unique code, unlike transactions using the traditional magnetic strips.

“Less than two years since EMV chip launched in the U.S., fraud declined 66 percent at EMV chip-enabled merchants,” Visa said.

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