NBC 10 I-Team Consumer Alert: You no longer need to sign your credit card receipt

Thanks to improved technology, your signature is no longer necessary.

For years, we've been signing our names at the bottom of receipts as an attempt to prevent fraud.

It turns out those often-illegible scribbles aren’t really that effective.

Now, thanks to improved technology, your signature is no longer necessary.

“I think the business process itself is going to see a lot of speed because you're no longer waiting for a receipt to be printed and you don't have to sign and give it back,” said Nicholas Tella, who is the director of information security at Johnson & Wales University.

Starting April 14, the nation's four largest credit card companies -- Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover -- will no longer require merchants ask for customers’ signatures.

“It's a poor form of authentication,” said Tella. “When's the last time someone asked you for your credit card to verify a signature, you know, on a receipt?”

Instead, credit card companies are relying on those new chips embedded in your card. They're much more effective at preventing fraud.

In fact, Visa reports counterfeit fraud has dropped 70 percent since introducing chip cards in October 2015.

“The chip is the highest security there is right now,” said Tella. “They're encrypted and also the security algorithms the credit card companies are utilizing to detect fraud -- it's actually reduced fraud by considerable numbers.”

Don't be surprised if some shops and restaurants still ask for a signature, though. Some merchants may retain certain policies or they may not be chip card compatible yet.

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