Mastercard signs off on removal of card signature panel

Mastercard signs off on removal of card signature panel

Mastercard is embracing new modes of authentication across its network, introducing a voluntary programme for banks to eliminate the signature panel on physical plastic, and enabling token services on all cards by 2020 for shopping online.

Mastercard says the removal of the signature panel on the back of cards is in tune with changing consumer preferences. It points to a survey conducted among 1000 US adults which found that only 40% said they had signed the back of their cards, and one-third of those who haven’t signed said they don’t see the point in doing so.

In the same survey, more than half of respondents believed they were just as secure without signing the back of their cards, and two-thirds wanted biometrics to replace signatures, passwords and PIN codes when paying with their card.

“With modern, advanced forms of authentication now available, removing the requirement for signature capture at the point of sale and now signature panels on Mastercard cards is an important step in support of our digital evolution,” says Linda Kirkpatrick, executive vice president, US Merchants and Acceptance, Mastercard. “Issuers, merchants and cardholders will benefit from this change as faster, safer options improve satisfaction and increase sales.”

The initiative, which will come into force by April 2019, has been welcomed by retailers.

Mike Cook, Walmart senior vice president and assistant treasurer, says: “Signature has been an obsolete form of authentication for quite some time, and removing the signature panel from the cards will reinforce the need for all stakeholders to leverage truly effective authentication technologies to address fraud."

In the online space, Mastercard is also pushing the adoption of new security technologies to streamline the shopping experience at the checkout. In early 2019, the card scheme in partnership with payment processors, banks and merchants will introduce one-time tokens to obviate the need for tedious and repetitive input of cardholder information.

With token services, consumers can store their card credentials with a merchant or retailer without the risk of exposing actual card account details. It also prevents service disruptions by automatically updating card credentials should a card expire or need replacement.

The company is working with Adyen, BlueSnap, Digital River, Stripe, Square, Worldpay and Mastercard Payment Gateway Services to extend tokens to thousands of retailers. It is also working directly with issuers such as Citi and Fifth Third Bank to convert cards on file into tokens. The card scheme is additionally working with Bank of America to provide enhanced fraud scoring to help increase approval rates over time.

New digital branding requirements are also being introduced to help consumers recognise which cards they have set with card on file merchants. The requirements ensure a consumer is aware they are paying with a Mastercard credential during the checkout process whether it’s in-app, via browser, contactless, voice-enabled devices or a QR application.

Rival scheme Visa has also an extension of its token service, bringing on board Adyen, AsiaPay, Braintree,, Cherri Tech, CyberSource, Elavon, Ezidebit, eWAY, Fit-Pay, Giesecke & Devrient, PayPal, Payscout, Rambus, SafeCharge, SecureCo, Square, Stripe, Worldpay and YellowPepper as partners to support merchants moving to credential-on-file digital payments.

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 October, 2018, 10:241 like 1 like

Would love to see the magstripe removed though...

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 19 October, 2018, 10:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

WP: I'm surprised at this.  I often get asked for signature - especially abroad.

Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson - Ecology Building Society - Silsden 22 October, 2018, 11:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Makes complete sense, we haven't needed the signature strip for a long time.  I look forward to the day when we don't need the PLASTIC card full stop...