Card networks no longer require restaurants to get diner signatures

Personal Finance

Pen and paper may no longer be the final course in your dining experience.

Starting this month, four major firms – MasterCard, Discover, American Express and Visa – will no longer require many merchants to collect customer signatures. The companies’ announcements of the change all came in recent months, with executives pointing to reasons including faster checkout without signatures and better protections with the advent of EMV chip cards.

“Our fraud capabilities have advanced so that signatures are no longer necessary to fight fraud,” Jaromir Divilek, executive vice president of Global Network Business at American Express, said in the company’s December announcement.

While signatures have already fallen out of favor in many places, it seems to have clung to the restaurant table. And you might be wondering: How will tipping work?

“It might be a little jarring for consumers,” said Matt Schulz, a senior analyst at “The truth is, that signature wasn’t doing a lot to prevent fraudulent activity.

Eighty-five percent of U.S. cards issued at the end of July 2017 had an encrypted microchip, according to Meanwhile, merchants who’ve upgraded to chip technology saw fraudulent charges fall 70 percent from 2015 and 2017, according to Visa.

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