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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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Miami Twp. officer struck on I-75 identified

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 10:19 AM

TYLER SIMPSON
TYLER SIMPSON

The name of the Miami Twp. police officer struck Saturday by pickup truck on Interstate 75 while responding to a crash scene has been released.

Officer Tyler Simpson has been identified as the officer injured after being struck about 9 p.m. on southbound I-75 near the Ohio 725 interchange, according to the township.

RELATED: Police: Miami Twp. officer struck by suspected drunk driver on SB I-75 expected to be okay

Simpson, 28, started his career with the Miami Township Police Department in September 2012, according to the township.

He was removed to Kettering Medical Center by the Miami Valley Fire District for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. He is now resting at home for what is expected to be a lengthy recovery.

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Teens stop basketball game to take knees, pay respect during funeral procession

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 7:19 AM

Teens Stop Basketball Game, Kneel During Funeral Procession

A group of teens hitting the hoops near Baton Rouge are going viral for a simple gesture of respect.

They stopped their basketball game in Franklinton, Louisiana, on Friday to take a knee, paying respects to the recently departed during a funeral procession, WAFB reported.

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Lynn Bienvenu and Johannah Stroud attended the funeral for their cousin, Velma Kay Crowe.

They were the ones who saw the teens stop their game and pause as the cars went past, WAFB reported

Bienvenu posted the photo to Facebook where it is getting noticed.

Bienvenu said of the teens, “They took a knee not out of disrespect but honor. There was not an adult in sight to tell them to stop playing. This meant a great deal to our family. May God bless each one as I feel they will achieve greatness.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

She told WAFB that one teen contacted her on social media to give his condolences for the loss of Crowe, whom the teens did not know personally.

They were identified to WAFB as Shimar Davis, Shimon Davis, Edward James, Brandon Burton, Qundon Burris, Stacy Ard, James Bickman, Avant Money, Malachi Martin and Kalarrian Dillon.

This is not the first time the teens have paused their game. Others have told Bienvenu that they have been seen doing the same thing for other funeral processions.

Many residents told WAFB that coaches and teachers at Franklinton Junior High School have repeatedly told students that they should show respect when a funeral procession drives by.

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Guns, minimum wage top issues in Democratic governor primary

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 10:05 AM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 10:12 AM

Bill O’Neill, Richard Cordray, Dennis Kucinich and Joe Schiavoni
Bill O’Neill, Richard Cordray, Dennis Kucinich and Joe Schiavoni

Four years ago, Ohio Democrats pushed hard for a gubernatorial candidate who looked good on paper and found one: Ed FitzGerald.

The campaign was soon run aground by scandal — including news reports that he had been questioned by police after they found him in a parked car in the early morning hours with a woman who was not his wife — and the Democrats lost a landslide election to Republican Gov. John Kasich.

This time around voters have half a dozen Democrats on the May 8 primary ballot and the Ohio Democratic Party is officially neutral.

VOTERS GUIDE: Compare the Democratic candidates on the issues

Only four of the six appear to be serious contenders, and most observers see it as a two-person race between Richard Cordray, who has been on the statewide ballot five times; and Dennis Kucinich, a former Congressman turned FoxNews commentator.

VOTERS GUIDE: Compare the Republican candidates on the issues

In many ways Cordray and Kucinich are polar opposites. Cordray is known for his professorial style while Kucinich has a reputation for fiery rhetoric.

The sleeper candidate could be state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, an attorney and a former boxing champ who is currently sponsoring gun control bills in the Ohio Senate. But Schiavoni is barely known outside his Youngstown area district, and he’s running out of time to boost his name recognition before the May primary.

Also running is former Ohio Supreme Court justice Bill O’Neill, who is still trying to live down his November 2017 Facebook post when he boasted of sleeping with 50 beautiful women and brushed off the seriousness of the #MeToo movement. He has admitted he made a mistake.

The other two candidates on the ballot — Paul Ray of Alliance and Larry Ealy of Dayton — don’t appear to be actively campaigning.

The field doesn’t include a single woman. The three women who originally filed to run — Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and former Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich — all dropped out and are supporting Cordray. Sutton is Cordray’s running mate.

Although no single issue has dominated the campaign so far, Cordray and Kucinich appear furthest apart on the issue of guns, with Kucinich calling for far stricter limits on gunownership and touting his F rating from the National Rifle Association.

Early voting in the primary is already underway. To ensure that voters have the background they need on each of the candidates, we profiled the Republican candidates last Sunday and are doing the Democrats today. The winner in November will replace Gov. John Kasich, who is term-limited.

Related: O’Neill’s boasts bring calls for his resignation

Richard Cordray

Cordray, 58, is a familiar name to Ohioans, having won his first election — for a seat in the Ohio House — in 1990. He won statewide elections for Ohio treasurer and Ohio attorney general before losing to Mike DeWine in the 2010 AG’s race. Cordray was then selected to head the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a post he left nine months early so he could run for governor.

Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray answers a question during The Journal-News and WLWT-TV sponsored Ohio Democratic Party sanctioned debate for governor candidates hosted by Miami University Regionals Tuesday, April 10 at Finkelman Auditorium on the campus of Miami University Middletown. Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill, Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni and former congressman Dennis Kucinich were also in attendance. NICK GRAHAM/JOURNAL-NEWS(Nick Graham)

“(My running mate) Betty Sutton and I are focused on the kitchen table issues that affect families and are top of mind for them: how they’re struggling to secure their futures, access to affordable health care, better education and training, getting access to more and better jobs, and we have a track record that shows we can make a difference on those issues,” Cordray said. “We can get things done.”

Cordray says he doesn’t see a need for tax increases but wants to re-prioritize where the state spends money — less for failing charter schools and more for local government to deal with issues such as the opioid crisis, he said.To combat the crisis, Cordray supports education and prevention, a drug take-back strategy, efforts to get illicit drugs off the streets and adding treatment and recovery programs.

Cordray said he wants to continue Kasich’s reforms, such as clamping down on over-prescribing of painkillers, and continuing Medicaid expansion, which extended health care coverage to 725,000 low-income Ohioans, many of whom suffer from mental health and addiction issues.

“Medicaid expansion is going to be key,” he said. “If we don’t keep Medicaid expansion, we’re going to have an even worse problem.”

He pledged to enforce the 10-year-old federal mental health parity law, which requires insurance plans to cover mental and drug abuse issues on par with physical ailments.

Related: State’s record enforcing insurance mandate is questioned

Cordray opposes efforts to make Ohio a right-to-work state where union contracts cannot mandate membership as a condition of employment and he supports boosting the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over time — a move that he says may require a statewide ballot vote.

When it comes to gun control, Cordray favors universal background checks and banning high-capacity magazines and bump stocks but he stops short of calling for an assault weapons ban or measures to remove guns from those who appear at risk of harming themselves or others.

“You know that I have always respected people’s 2nd Amendment rights and I’ve defended those rights in court,” he said. As attorney general, Cordray defended a state law that blocks local governments from adopting gun restrictions.

Cordray said he supports cracking down on abusive payday lending practices. “They’re high everywhere but it’s almost 600 percent (APR) in Ohio. Nobody can think that’s a responsible way to lend money to people or that it’s going to help them succeed in their lives,” he said.

Related: Payday lending bill comes to life as House speaker faces probe

Dennis Kucinich

Kucinich, 71, is the oldest candidate in the field, having started his political career in 1970 on the Cleveland City Council, and bills himself as the most progressive.

“I’m the real Democrat in this race. I’m a true-blue Democrat,” he said. “I think people want a governor who drives real change, positive change and not just be into incrementalism. Our campaign has been dynamic, energetic, passionate, forward looking, visionary — showing Ohioans what kind of state they could have. They could have education for all and health care for all and jobs for all and safe communities and where women’s rights are protected in an uncompromising way.”

Former congressman Dennis Kucinich answers a question during The Journal-News and WLWT-TV sponsored Ohio Democratic Party sanctioned debate for governor candidates hosted by Miami University Regionals Tuesday, April 10 at Finkelman Auditorium on the campus of Miami University Middletown. Former Ohio attorney General Richard Cordray, Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill were also in attendance. NICK GRAHAM/JOURNAL-NEWS(Nick Graham)

Kucinich pledges to veto bills the erode access to abortion, oppose right-to-work efforts and block executions on his watch. He also promises to issue executive orders in his first week on the job to mandate a $15 an hour minimum wage for all state employees and state contractors and to use the bully pulpit to push for it statewide.

When it comes to tax policies, Kucinich said he wants to eliminate the new provision that allows Limited Liability Companies, or LLCs, to pay no state income taxes on the first $250,000 in earnings. He said he supports a bond issue to raise money for infrastructure projects, such as rebuilding roads and bridges.

He’s made gun control a big part of his campaign, and favors banning assault weapons, bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and expanding background checks, school safety measures and safe storage of guns from children.

Related: Where do candidates for Ohio governor stand on gun issues?

When asked about Medicaid expansion, Kucinich said he favors a state-level single-payer health care plan that would cover all Ohioans, and he wants to legalize marijuana and treat drug addiction as a medical crisis, not a criminal crisis.

Kucinich agreed with Cordray that payday lending reforms are needed but he criticized his opponent for leaving his federal job early, where he had the chance to protect consumers in all 50 states.

“He walked off his post at a time when he was needed the most,” he said.

Kucinich’s opponents criticize his willingness to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has used chemical weapons against his own people. Kucinich has met with Assad multiple times.

“I defend peace, I don’t defend people. I stand for peace,” Kucinich said of his meetings with Assad.

Bill O’Neill

O’Neill, 70, resigned from the Ohio Supreme Court in January — up until then he was one of just two Democrats holding statewide elected office in Ohio. (Sen. Sherrod Brown is the other one). His platform has one main theme: legalize marijuana and use the pot tax money to re-open state mental health hospitals to serve people with drug addiction.

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill answers a question during The Journal-News and WLWT-TV sponsored Ohio Democratic Party sanctioned debate for governor candidates hosted by Miami University Regionals Tuesday, April 10 at Finkelman Auditorium on the campus of Miami University Middletown. Former Ohio attorney General Richard Cordray, Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni and former congressman Dennis Kucinich were also in attendance. NICK GRAHAM/JOURNAL-NEWS(Nick Graham)

When it comes to gun control, O’Neill supports banning bump stocks and high-capacity magazines and instituting a “red-flag” law that would allow families to petition the court to remove guns from loved ones who appear to be at risk of self-harm or hurting others. He favors increasing the purchase age for assault weapons to 21 and requiring that they be registered with local police on an annual basis.

O’Neill opposes abortion, capital punishment and right-to-work. He favors increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour through legislation. And while he supports reforming payday lending practices, he maintains that the services are needed in Ohio.

When it comes to education, O’Neill said the school funding system has been illegal for 20 years because it relies too heavily on property taxes and results in inequities. He wants to outlaw for-profit charter schools and mandate a 40-percent cost reduction for students attending public colleges and universities over the next four years.

O’Neill points to administrative bloat and expensive athletic programs areas where universities could cut costs.

“I’m experienced. I’m a retired Army officer with a Bronze Star. I’m a registered nurse and I’m a former Supreme Court justice who brings focus to the race,” O’Neill said. “We need to do something real about the heroin crisis. We need to do something real about the for-profit prisons, like put them out of business. And we need to legalize marijuana to create jobs and save lives.”

Joe Schiavoni

At age 38, Schiavoni is decades younger than the other candidates, and the only Democrat in the field currently holding elected office.

Former Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni answers a question during The Journal-News and WLWT-TV sponsored Ohio Democratic Party sanctioned debate for governor candidates hosted by Miami University Regionals Tuesday, April 10 at Finkelman Auditorium on the campus of Miami University Middletown. Former Ohio attorney General Richard Cordray, congressman Dennis Kucinich and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill were also in attendance. NICK GRAHAM/JOURNAL-NEWS(Nick Graham)

He opposes right to work and favors increasing the minimum wage over a decade to $15 an hour, starting with a bump next year to $12 an hour. He supports abortion rights and believes the death penalty should be used in more limited circumstances. And he favors full legalization of marijuana if it passes a statewide vote and tax revenues from it are earmarked for a specific, worthy purpose, he said.

Although he has a B-plus NRA rating, Schiavoni is sponsoring a “red-flag” bill in the Ohio Senate to allow families and police to remove guns from people who appear to be a danger to themselves or others. And he says he is for banning bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.

Schiavoni supports expanded Medicaid, and has long pushed to earmark 10-percent of the state’s rainy day fund for local governments struggling to deal with the opiate crisis. He said local authorities could use the money for education programs, first responders, foster care services, job retraining programs and recovery programs.

He supports efforts to crack down on payday lending. “We’ve reached a level where it’s a scam,” Schiavoni said. “It’s a rip off and it’s hurting our most vulnerable people.”

When it comes to education and job creation, Schiavoni is calling for universal pre-kindergarten for 3-year-olds, changing the school funding formula so Ohio is less reliant on property taxes, clamping down on for-profit charter schools and tying college loan forgiveness to home purchases as a way to get Ohio’s brightest and best young people to stay in the state.

No fan of massive tax cuts pushed by the GOP over the past 15 years, Schiavoni said the recent tax break given to LLCs needs to be rolled back. And Ohio needs to increase its severance tax on oil and gas extracted from the ground and boost the state gas tax by up to 5-cents per gallon to help fund infrastructure improvements, he argued. He pledged to push for renewable energy and clean water projects.

“I think we’re giving people something they’ve been clamoring for for years — somebody who is real, who is authentic, somebody who is willing to work,” Schiavoni said. “People are sick of both parties. All they want is somebody real, somebody who is going to deliver on their promises. That’s the stuff that I’ve been talking about.”

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MORE ABOUT THE CANDIDATES

Richard Cordray

Age: 58

Hometown: Grove City

Family: Married, two children.

Education: Michigan State University, B.A.; University of Oxford, M.A.; University of Chicago, J.D

Experience: Former director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Ohio attorney general, Ohio treasurer.

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Dennis Kucinich

Age: 71

Hometown: Cleveland

Family: Married, one grown child.

Education: Case Western Reserve University, bachelor’s and master’s degrees

Experience: Former Cleveland mayor, member of Congress and FoxNews contributor.

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Bill O’Neill

Age: 70

Hometown: Chagrin Falls

Family: Widowed, four grown children.

Education: Ohio University, bachelor’s degree; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, JD; Huron School of Nursing, RN.

Experience: U.S. Army veteran, pediatric emergency room nurse, civil rights attorney and former Ohio Supreme Court justice.

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Joe Schiavoni

Age: 38

Hometown: Boardman

Family: Married, two children.

Education: Ohio University, bachelor’s degree; Capital University, JD.

Experience: Attorney for injured workers; state senator and former Senate Minority Leader.

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Key Issues: Where do they stand?

Abortion: Cordray, Kucinich and Schiavoni favor abortion rights. O’Neill opposes abortion.

Death penalty: Cordray supports, Kucinich and O’Neill oppose; Schiavoni says its use should be more limited.

Guns: Schiavoni favors allowing removal of guns through court order from those who seem a danger to themselves and others and he wants to ban bump stocks, close background check loopholes and limit high-capacity magazines. He also says he would sign an assault weapons ban. Cordray wants to increase school safety, institute universal background checks and ban bumpstocks and high-capacity magazines. Kucinich favors a swath of gun controls, including ban on assault-style weapons. O’Neill wants to require registration of assault weapons.

Marijuana: Schiavoni and Cordray say Ohio should move to full legalization only through a statewide vote. Kucinich and O’Neill support full legalization.

Minimum wage increase: All four favor increasing it to $15 an hour.

Right-to-work: All four oppose it.

Medicaid expansion: Schiavoni, Cordray and O’Neill favor keeping it in place. Kucinich favors a state-level single payer health care program.

Taxes: Cordray calls for a halt on further tax cuts and pledges to re-prioritize state spending; Kucinich and Schiavoni favors eliminating the small business tax cut and increasing severance taxes. Schiavoni also favors increasing the state gas tax by up to 5 cents per gallon for road improvements. O’Neill wants to tax marijuana but doesn’t favor other hikes.

Wright-Patterson AFB: All four candidates say they’ll work to project jobs and programs at the base.

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Fairfield considers plan to demolish historic home

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 10:06 AM


            City Council will consider demolishing the Cooper House, a historic home on the property known as the Muskopf property. The property is part of the Marsh Park expansion project. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
City Council will consider demolishing the Cooper House, a historic home on the property known as the Muskopf property. The property is part of the Marsh Park expansion project. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

The city of Fairfield Parks and Recreation Board unanimously recommended the city tear down a historic home a group of residents were trying to save — and city council will consider a vote to demolish the home tonight, April 23..

The Save the Cooper House committee had requested the city not raze the 19th-century home and convert it to an educational facility. The city purchased the 3.3-acre property in 2016 with an Ohio Public Works Commission grant.

RELATED: Residents are trying to save this 1820s home, but its future is uncertain

The purchase included the 1824-built Cooper House and a barn, which has since been razed, with the intent provide leverage of the Marsh Park expansion project.

Dean Breuwer, who has led the Save the Cooper House committee, wants the house saved because it was owned by Thomas Cooper, one of the first inhabitants of what is now the city of Fairfield.

“This is critical to the areas to preserve the cultural heritage of Fairfield,” he told this news outlet in December. “This actually was more than likely the first inception of the first settlement within (what is now known as) Fairfield.”

Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller has repeatedly said the city doesn’t need to subsidize another historic building.

The city already subsidizes the Elisha Morgan Mansion, a historic home on Ross Road, at a cost of about $40,000 a year.

Miller said for him to support saving the Cooper House the committee needed to develop a plan that included a funding option.

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