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Are signatures necessary?

Article Highlights:

  • Major card companies are eliminating signatures during payment.
  • Is your dealership ready for this change?

The times, they are a-changin’. In October 2017, Mastercard announced it will eliminate all signatures at the point of sale by April 2018. The other three major credit card companies in the U.S., American Express, Visa, and Discover, quickly followed suit.

In the past, the required signature was supposed to match the signature on the back of the card. But now, the signature really doesn’t matter. When was the last time a cashier asked to see the signature on the back of your card? When was the last time a cashier stopped you because your signature looked like a scribble? Probably never.

So what does this mean for your dealership’s service department?

  • Card security won’t be jeopardized. Today, there are better ways than just a signature to ensure a secure transaction. These range from EMV and tokenization, to biometric and NFC payments with a secure network. “Our fraud capabilities have advanced so that signatures are no longer necessary to fight fraud,” said American Express executive vice president of the Global Network Business division Jaromir Divilek. This means your dealership can continue to take card payments without requiring a signature and still keep payment security safe. The key to doing this is to make sure you’re using an EMV-compliant terminal.
  • Efficiency improves. While card companies did say individual retailers can determine whether or not they’d like to continue the practice of customer signatures if they wish, most retailers are excited by this change. Not requiring signatures will make the customer experience faster.
  • The customer experience gets better. Remember that Visa commercial where everyone pays with a credit card but then someone halts the line because he pays with cash? Soon, signatures will be what cash was. By not requiring them, you’ll be able to provide a quality experience to more customers. Additionally, there is potential for increasing profits since you’ll be serving more customers better. What are customers more likely to choose, the dealership where it takes two minutes to pay because there isn’t a line or the dealership where it takes at least 10 because everyone is waiting in line?

The payment process all around you is about to become more efficient. So how can you prepare for this upcoming change?

  • Consult your OEM. Before making the decision to eliminate signatures, check with your OEM to make sure they aren’t mandating signatures on the terminal.
  • Use a payment solution that will provide your customers the ability to pay efficiently and your service employees to work effectively.
  • Train your team. Before implementing a new process, you should always run through it with the team to make sure they understand the changes.

Whether as a consumer yourself or as an employee, be prepared for this major change in the industry.

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Jeremy started at Reynolds and Reynolds in 2011 in the Technical Assistance Center, working with the business office. He became the Product Manager for eDealership and GAS in 2014 and then was the Product Planning Manager for ReyPAY®.

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