Signatures abolished in 2014 to combat credit card fraud

AUSTRALIAN retailers will need more than the luck of the Irish next St Patrick's Day following the news that Monday, March 17, 2014 will be the date that credit and debit card transactions will need to be accompanied by a PIN in order to be verified.

For generations consumers have signed on a receipt when paying with their payment card. However, this will change according to submission documents lodged with the ACCC by Visa.

From March next year all domestic Visa transactions will be verified by PIN or declined and it is expected that MasterCard will follow suit.

EFTPOS services provider Tyro Payments has told the ACCC inquiry that it supports the implementation of a PIN system.

"From St Patrick's Day 2014, Australian consumers will be forced to leave their seats and pay for their meals at the cashier using the four digit PIN code, or in a minority of cases the payment terminal will come to them at their table," Tyro CEO Jost Stollmann said.

From April 1, 2013 Visa had originally announced a PIN would be mandatory and signatures were not going to be accepted anymore for face-to-face transactions.

"Tyro reacted to the announcement immediately by developing and deploying an integrated payment solution allowing consumers to pay using a mobile EFTPOS terminal.

"We were ready, the other banks were not," Mr Stollmann said. "As a consequence Visa extended its original deadline to March 17, 2014."

PIN entry has been introduced in an effort to curb alarming rates of credit card fraud, believed to contribute to $261 million in losses in Australia each year.

"The PIN requirement puts the consumer back in control, it is virtually impossible for a fraudster to ascertain a PIN, while forging a signature is easy," Mr Stollmann said.

However, the big question is what the change means to the 45% of Australian Visa and MasterCard cardholders who currently do not use their PIN?

"They have to learn. Except for contactless transactions below $100 and low value transactions below $35, domestic chip card transactions will be declined unless the valid PIN is entered into the EFTPOS terminal."

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