In an article on Digital Transactions “Could Visa’s New No-Signature Rule Hurt Contactless Payments?” it was argued that Visa’s expansion of its policy to no longer require signatures for transactions less than $25 for most U.S. merchants would undermine contactless payments.
In our blog post Visa Changes Debit Debate, Backs Contactless, we suggested that extending Visa's No Signature Required (NSR) program (on transactions <$25) to most merchants (along with converging signature and PIN debit rates and expanding small ticket Interchange on transactions <$15) were policies that supported contactless payments.
Changing ingrained behavior takes time and doing it in steps makes sense. Step one, training merchants and cardholders that neither a signature nor PIN are needed to authenticate a transaction. And we agree with Visa who states “the No Signature Program is often an initial first step, while an upgrade to contactless acceptance offers merchants the ability to accept a new generation of chip-enabled payment products…that also offer speed and convenience at the POS.”
As consumers become accustom to faster transaction times, they will come to expect a different experience at the POS. Ultimately I believe that consumer demand will drive merchant adoption of contactless payments. And innovation will accelerate as consumers continue the rapid adoption of smart phones and social networking combined with continued investments in contactless and NFC technology in both payment and identity management. Finally contactless will be needed in the U.S. to advance security and global interoperability issues. These important issues will continue to drive policy.