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Goodbye signatures? Credit card firms make big change

Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 12:24 AM

Credit cards.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Credit cards.(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Don’t take this too hard: Your autograph isn’t worth what it once was.

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American ExpressMastercard and Discover have each announced that, starting in April, they will no longer require signatures on any U.S. and Canadian credit card purchases.(Actually, American Express is making the change for all its transactions worldwide.)

Visa hasn’t announced any plans to do the same. But there’s speculation it may eventually do so.

That pretty much would fully evaporate what may be the most common reason U.S. consumers still bother writing signatures, which were once the most prominent symbol of our financial integrity and proof of our identity (It’s also another blow to the general use of cursive writing, for those who remember what that is.)

“Signatures may be going the way of the lava lamp,” said William McCracken, the president of Phoenix Synergistics, a metro Atlanta-based consumer market research company focused on financial services.

“They will not be part of Gen Z. Signatures won’t be part of their stored memories.”

The shift away from signatures also hints at the fantasy we all pretended to believe: that signatures actually proved something.

“The industry’s unspoken secret is that signatures on a credit card receipt are relatively worthless from a security standpoint,” McCracken said.

Thieves only had to look at the signature on the back of a credit card, practice it a few times and come up with a fake good enough to pass.

But even that involves some quaint thinking. Because almost no one in places where we shop or dine is even glancing at signatures these days, whether you signed on paper or a glitchy electronic pad using a faulty stylus or your finger.

That would seem to explain why I’ve never been flagged for using my finger to draw a line across checkout signature pads.

Signatures are still used on plenty of legal property documents, government-issued IDs, artwork, acknowledgments of medical privacy notifications, cards to grandma and anything fans can ask celebrities to scribble on.

Yet, in other ways signatures have been slipping from the economy.

Instead of putting his “signature” on new dollar bills earlier this year, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin used a handwritten mix of upper- and lower-case block letters that could have been thumbed out on a smartphone.

Signatures became less necessary as check writing shrank. And while credit card use continues to grow — there were more than 37 billion U.S. transactions last year totaling $3.27 trillion dollars — most of that is going unsigned.

John Hancocks aren’t required on typical online purchases.

And credit card firms already scaled back signature requirements on small transactions. More than 75 percent of face-to-face Visa card transactions in North America don’t require people to sign their name, according to a Visa spokesman.

Thar is just as well.

Who hasn’t gone to sign for a credit card purchase using a pen that doesn’t work and “you just scribble anyway,” said Kim Sullivan, the senior director of payments solutions for Georgia-based transactions technology giant NCR.

Dropping signature requirements should speed up lines at retailers, Sullivan said, which is exactly what store owners are seeking.

“It’s going to improve the experience” for merchants and consumers, she said.

“It’s all about faster and frictionless,” she said.

Sullivan guesstimated that eliminating signatures might save an average of three seconds on each credit card transaction. So retailers can increase the number of customers they serve and generate more money, she said.

Some customers may feel a little unsettled with the idea that purchases of hundreds or even thousands of dollars could be made without signing anything.

Security is already the biggest concern people have about using credit cards, said McCracken from Synergistics.

For now, there has been no widespread rush to require use of PIN codes with credit card transactions in the United States. And some consumers are creeped out about the idea of entrusting credit card companies with personal biometric data that could help verify their identity.

Other security measures are already in place, such as checking the cards’ three- or four-digit CVV number, asking consumers for their billing ZIP code, adding computer chips to more cards and monitoring for unusual purchasing activity.

But the cruelest reality of saying goodbye to our signatures is this: apparently they already have so little value there isn’t a sweeping rush to replace them with something new.

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Spring is back for the weekend

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:38 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 7:15 AM

It will be a chilly morning with temperatures climbing out of the 30s, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs. There will be some patchy morning frost but will quickly melt after sunrise. Some high clouds build for the afternoon but it will stay dry and mild with temperatures approaching 60 degrees. Clouds will linger through the night but it won’t be too cool. Overnight lows will be near 40 degrees.

5-Day Forecast

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Patchy morning frost
  • Scattered clouds, still warmer for the weekend
  • Lyrid meteor shower peaks this weekend

DETAILED FORECAST:

Sunday: It will be partly sunny and mild again with temperatures closer to normal in the lower 60s.

WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Monday: Clouds increase with the slight chance of a few showers south, late. Highs will reach into the middle 60s.

Tuesday: We will see mostly cloudy skies with a chance for showers. Highs will drop back into the upper 50s.

County-by-County Weather

Wednesday: Scattered showers are expected with a high near 60 degrees.

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Sheriff confirms Clark County Jail inmate death

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 10:45 PM

A group of cells at the Clark County Jail.
A group of cells at the Clark County Jail.

Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett Friday night confirmed a jail inmate was found hanging in his cell.

The man was found around 6 p.m.

The sheriff said the Clark County coroner was able to make contact with the man’s family.

His name was not released.

The incident is under investigation.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

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E. coli outbreak: CDC warns to ‘avoid all types of romaine lettuce’

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 5:42 PM

E. Coli Outbreak: 'Avoid All Types Of Lettuce' CDC Warns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning to include all types of romaine lettuce. The warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

The CDC also asks consumers to “not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.”

Additionally, the CDC suggests that consumers throw away any romaine lettuce in the home, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.

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At least 31 people have been hospitalized, including three who developed a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC.

The affected states include

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Washington

No deaths related to the outbreak have been reported.

The CDC has not yet identified the grower or a common brand, and is urging people not to eat chopped lettuce from the Yuma area.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection vary, but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Most people get better in five to seven days. Infections can be mild, but can also be severe and even life-threatening.

If you think you have E. coli, the CDC says to talk to your health care provider or public health department and write down what you ate in the week before you got sick.

People started reporting illnesses that are part of the outbreak between March 22 and March 31.

DNA fingerprinting is being used to identify illnesses that are part of the same outbreak. Some people might not be included in the CDC’s case count if officials weren’t able to get bacteria strains needed for DNA fingerprinting to link them to the outbreak.

To reduce your risk of an E. coli infection, you can:

  • Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products and unpasteurized juices.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.

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Two dead after shooting in Dayton 

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:14 AM

Crews were dispatched around 3:40 a.m. to 1824 Lakeview Ave. at the Blue Note Jazz Club on a report of a shooting, according to Sgt. Schloss of the Dayton Police Department.

Two people have died after a shooting in Dayton Saturday.

Crews were dispatched around 3:40 a.m. to 1800 block of Lakeview Avenue on a report of a shooting, according to Sgt. Schloss of the Dayton Police Department.

>>Springfield man enters plea in shooting death of pregnant girlfriend

A 27-year-old male died at the scene and a female was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where she died, Schloss said.

Police found the male and female shot in a blue Ford pickup truck outside of the club, Schloss said.

Further information about the victims was not known.

Police are not releasing if they have any suspects at this time

If you have any information, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 333-STOP.

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