Card companies could drop signature requirements in Australia

The attempt to battle fraud and increase security for users of credit cards is of course going to be a developing effort with different strategies depending upon modern technology. But just because a business is making use of verified and industry-proven credit processing software doesn't mean they can't consider changing aspects of the card payment process that may seem ingrained.

In Australia, card companies are considering abandoning payment systems that require credit card users to sign receipts in favor of a more secure PIN system, and merchants seem to be in agreement. The Australian Retailers Association has expressed its alignment with this idea through a recent release on its website.

The concern seems to be that asking for signatures to verify purchases offers more opportunities for abuse, while digital solutions, such as the much touted chip-and-pin setup. Visa and Mastercard are reportedly looking for support from other card companies and banks to make this the norm by next year.

In the ARA's release, the impact of fraud events on merchants is emphasized by Ronald Zimmerman, the association's executive director.

"The reality is that while the consumer may not directly face the cost of fraud, neither do the banks or financial institutions, and in most cases it is your local retailer carrying the cost which ultimately gets passed onto consumers,"  he said.

Point of sale credit card processing can be such an instantaneous interaction that both consumers and retailers don't properly consider the risks. There may never be a 100 percent foolproof solution, but business in any country can look to this apparent agreement as one possibility.

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