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December 12, 2017updated 06 Jul 2022 6:39am

American Express kills signatures amid contactless boom

American Express hopes to bring a quicker checkout experience for customers by removing signature requirements.

By April Slattery

Amid the exponential rise in contactless payments and online banking, American Express has revealed that it will no longer require customers to provide a signature on purchases.

The company has said that by removing the traditional signature method for purchase authentication it will boost flexibility for customers and merchants, as well as saving time when purchasing goods.

American Express will implement the change from April 2018 and it will apply to all American Express accepting merchants around the world.

By removing signature authentication American Express aims to simplify and quicken the checkout experience as well as reducing the operating expenses associated with retaining signatures for businesses.

Mike Cook, SVP at Wal-Mart Stores, said: “The introduction of our Walmart Pay mobile app has raised our customers’ expectations for being able to check out quickly and easily,” Cook said.

“Having to sign a receipt can be a hassle for customers and is not necessary to prevent fraud at the point of sale. We’re pleased American Express has decided to eliminate its signature requirements, which will promote a more seamless shopping and checkout experience for our customers.”

In addition to abolishing its signature requirement, American Express has developed and deployed machine learning algorithms that bring more precise detection of fraud, boosting the protection for customers.

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“The payments landscape has evolved to the point where we can now eliminate this pain point for our merchants,” said Jaromir Divilek, Executive Vice President, Global Network Business at American Express.

“Our fraud capabilities have advanced so that signatures are no longer necessary to fight fraud. In addition, the majority of American Express transactions today already do not require a signature at the point of sale as a result of previous policy changes we made to help our merchants.”

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Elimination of signature requirements will apply to transactions valuing at any amount. Contrary to the elimination in April, merchants may still have the option to require signatures if it is required by law.

Other card providers such as Visa has already implemented contactless payments worldwide, so the move from American Express enables them to compete in the market.

However American Express hopes the majority of merchants will move away from this outdated method, moving to the future of chip and pin or contactless payments.

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