The four biggest credit card companies, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, stopped requiring signatures from their customers, the New York Post reported. It shouldn’t be a surprise that all four providers aren’t requiring signatures now; notably, Discover ended the requirement in December 2017.
That doesn’t mean credit card holders won’t have to sign everywhere they go, though. Restrictions do apply, and some establishments might still ask cardholders for their signatures.
But those four companies have expressed an intent to make customer signatures a thing of the past. Visa won’t drop them entirely – it will still require them from customers who swipe instead of using a chip card.
If you’re concerned about your financial accounts’ security, here’s what you need to know.
The Reason Behind the Change
Signatures have long been viewed as a notoriously weak way to verify that a credit card is being used by the proper cardholder.
The drop of the signature requirement, however, is because of the change from using magnetic strips to chip cards. Since chip cards make it harder for thieves to commit fraud, the signatures have less value at theft protection.
Even though there are routinely large data breaches featured in news headlines, chip cards are still more secure than swiping your card. However, you’re at greater risk for fraud at terminals that still allow you to swipe. You’re also still at risk of having your chip card data stolen over the phone, in the mail, or online.
How Can Cardholders Protect Themselves from Fraud?
In today’s world, consumers have to protect themselves against fraud because criminals are becoming sneakier. Here are some tips to help cardholders keep their accounts safe.
Ask for a new credit card if there was a data breach that potentially involved your card. Some companies will be proactive and send customers a new card if they even suspect a data breach has happened. If they don’t automatically send one, borrowers should call and ask for one to be sent.
Cardholders should make it a habit to review their card activity more than just monthly when they get their statements in the mail. If there is suspected activity or a breach, cardholders can call their credit card company at any time to check on recent transactions. If there are any unauthorized charges, they should be reported as soon as possible.
Or if borrowers don’t want to place phone calls, they can sign up online to check their activity without having to talk to anyone. It takes a few minutes a month to check purchases and see if any unusual activity is going on. However, reviewing your online statement daily is ideal if you really want to catch and stop fraud quickly.
Another action they can take is signing up for a free credit report to spot any unauthorized activity. That can help them report issues in a timely manner.
Another measure people can take to ward off fraud attempts is changing their password often on financial accounts. They shouldn’t use obvious passwords involving birthdates or addresses – anything a would-be thief might have access to.
They should create a strong password that is much harder to hack. A mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters should be used. In addition to that, special characters and numbers should be thrown into the password, too, if possible.
Author: Mike Brown
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