As technology continues to alter the credit card landscape (Apple Pay, anyone?), two leading card processors will be making some changes to the transaction process in the coming months.
American Express said it will no longer require its merchants to require a signature when its card is used for a purchase. And Visa is adding a characteristic sound that will be played to signify to customers that a transaction has been completed.
Starting next April, American Express said, merchants worldwide that accept the AmEx card for payment will no longer have to get the cardholder’s signature to complete a transaction.
“The need for signatures has declined around the world due to a number of advancements in the payments industry,” the company said. “These include the growth of contactless payment options, including card-based and mobile tap-and-pay methods, the global adoption of EMV chip technology, and the continued expansion of online commerce. American Express has also deployed advanced machine learning algorithms that allow for more precise detection of fraud while minimizing disruption of Card Members’ genuine spending.”
AmEx noted that it had already dropped the signature requirement for lower-priced transactions (e.g., less than $50 in the U.S.), but it added that the new no-signature-required policy will apply no matter how large the amount. Merchants will still have the option of collecting a signature if they want to, or if local laws require it.
At Visa, meanwhile, the product team is expecting to roll out “sensory branding” for cardholders in 2018.
What’s that? It’s a distinctive two-tone sound — lasting less than a second — that the customer hears when his Visa transaction goes through, in recognition of the fact that so many purchases and payments are made these days via smart phone apps, tablets and similar personal tech devices. In addition to a sound cue, Visa is also looking into an “animation cue” that could pop up on the screen for the same purpose, and even a “haptic cue” — i.e., a distinctive vibration.
Here’s what Visa will soon sound like.
“As new payment experiences continue to take shape in the world, this suite of sensory branding elements will give consumers the assurances we know they want every time they use Visa,” said Lynne Biggar, the credit card company’s chief marketing and communications officer.
The move to sensory branding is supported by extensive consumer research in eight countries, Visa said. The company found that more than seven out of 10 consumers consider a website to be secure when they could see the Visa logo. “In a digital world filled with connected wearable devices, Visa’s sensory branding elements are designed to evoke those same emotions, even in environments where the traditional Visa logo is not visible,” the company said.
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