Visa will no longer accept signed credit card receipts from next year - mandatory PIN numbers come in from Oct.2014, to curb credit card fraud. Visa reckons smart chips and PINs are much harder to replicate than magnetic strips and (heaven forbid!) signatures.
And by April next year, every Mastercard will have PayPass, its version of touch-and-go technology. Visa will allow banks to decide if their credit cards will use contact-less PayWave charging. But individual account holders will be unable to opt out of contact-less charging.
Tech experts reckon it's easy for account details to be stolen from cards in pockets and handbags, using reading technology on cellphones. The companies dispute this: Visa says its cards have to be within a few centimetres to be activated, transactions cannot be duplicated, and a fully functional credit card cannot be created from intercepted details from a hacking device. Visa and Mastercard also say they haven't seen any increase in fraud after contact-less technology was introduced.
Signatures aren't the only thing becoming obsolete: the personal chequebook is also predicted to go the way of the dodo, though not quite yet. Usage has plummeted in the past decade: while 160 million cheques were written in 2002, just 54 million were written last year. BNZ estimates chequebook use is falling by about 10% every year. For the time being at least, most banks still offer chequebooks, if requested by the customer.
Hmmm, wonder when CUSTOMERS will be removed from the equation entirely...!