Your trip to the grocery store – in fact most any store – might be faster and a bit easier starting April 14th. That’s when paying for your purchases will likely take less time.

That’s because starting on the 14th Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover will no longer require merchants get a customer’s signature on charged transactions.

Why the change? Credit that little chip now on most credit cards. That gold-colored chip contains all the data needed to make signatures unnecessary. Credit card fraud detection capabilities have advanced that far.

This may not be news to you. Many stores, including my favorite grocery store, never ask for a signature for purchases under $50. And from April 14th that amount may be higher.

But if the store where you shop isn’t equipped with a chip reader a signature will still be necessary.

It’s up to each business to decide whether or not they will require signatures. So some stores may still ask for a signature. For example, restaurants may want you to sign a receipt so you’ll have the chance to leave a tip on the card.

The change does not apply to every credit card. Older cards, those without the EMV chip, will still require signatures for authentication.

Keep in mind this new non-signature rule only applies to transactions in the US and Canada for Visa and MasterCard. American Express does not require signatures when used anywhere in the world.

A MasterCard spokesperson describes dropping the signature as just  “another step in the digital evolution of payments and payment security.”

Image by Blue Coat Photos