Card Sales with No Signature Required

Purchases of $25 or less represent a significant share of all U.S. consumer spending. The purpose of the No Signature Required (NSR) program is to better serve merchants in traditionally cash-based, low-dollar sales where speed is crucial and faster transactions are valued.

Most merchants that accept in-person card sales may participate in the No Signature programs. “No Signature Required” is a Visa term, but each card brand supports a version of the same. Card brand rules and operating procedures vary between MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express including the types of merchants that may participate and the maximum transaction.

However, in general, high risk merchant categories are not allowed to participate. NSR was developed for face-to-face sales environments meeting these basic criteria:

  • The transaction must be under a certain threshold amount
  • The card and cardholder are present
  • The transaction is electronically authorized
  • The transaction or merchant category is not prohibited from participating

For qualifying transactions, the No Signature Required program:

  • Eliminates the need for merchants to capture a signature
  • Eliminates the receipt requirement, unless requested by the cardholder
  • Eliminates the need for merchants to retain transaction receipts and prohibits issuers from making retrieval requests
  • Provides chargeback protection for fraud, and against the signature requirement

Visa transactions on U.S.-issued cards of $25 or less are eligible from most all merchant categories (with a few exceptions). In April 2013, Visa is scheduled to increase the limit to $50 for discount stores and supermarkets with the intent of expanding this service to additional merchant categories over time.

MasterCard has a more restrictive program, requiring registration and PayPass (contactless chip card) acceptance of some merchant categories in order to qualify for the program. Currently the threshold amount is $25 with the exception of Taxi/Limo and Parking/Garages which is $50.

Discover card present sales in an amount of $25.00 or less, including applicable taxes, gratuity, for most merchant categories with a few exceptions.

American Express
Currently the threshold is $25 or less, as of October 31, 2012, the threshold amount will be $50 or less.


Do “No Signature Required” rules impact merchant rates?
The NSR program does not impact Interchange programs and rates.

Do merchants need to retain a copy of the unsigned receipt?
Under the No Signature Program, merchants do not need to retain a copy of the unsigned receipt.

What chargeback protections do merchants have?
It's important to remember that while merchants are protected from chargebacks including: “no signature”, “requested item illegible” and “no cardholder authorization” reason codes, other disputes are possible.