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Card checkouts getting quicker

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http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/b...117nosig17.html

 

 

Erica Sagon

The Arizona Republic

Jan. 17, 2005 12:00 AM

 

Have you noticed something missing from recent credit-card transactions?

 

It's your signature on the receipt, and its absence is making payments easier and speedier at quick-service retailers across the country.

 

Credit-card companies are allowing more businesses to waive signatures on small-ticket purchases, typically less than $25. advertisement

 

"Signatures are like a dinosaur," said credit-card analyst Robert McKinley.

 

The move to no-signature transactions at places such as Starbucks and Subway - where low-dollar purchases are the bulk of business - is in response to consumer demand to streamline service, credit-card companies say.

 

It also helps move consumers a step closer to the seemingly inevitable cashless society. The trend has taken off at fast-food restaurants and is penetrating more market segments, including supermarkets, convenience stores, dry cleaners and movie theaters.

 

A new wave of payment methods is on the way, said Anthony Gracia, vice president of MasterCard International Inc.'s retail and small-ticket markets division.

 

"It really comes down to making the point of sale convenient and pleasurable," Gracia said.

 

But McKinley, chief executive officer of CardWeb.com, a payment-card research firm in Frederick, Md., said credit-card companies have another motive: They're going after your pocket change.

 

People are using plastic differently these days. Once used mostly for big purchases, credit-card transactions now account for 80 percent of all sales under $25 at convenience stores, according to MasterCard.

 

The appeal of waiving signatures is obvious for businesses and consumers: convenience. A swift swipe, and customers are on their way.

 

"Today, when someone stops to write a check at the checkout, people get really irritated. It's like a two-minute deal," McKinley said. "Of course, credit cards do it in a matter of seconds."

 

Nowhere are the benefits more evident than at fast-food restaurants, which initially shied away from accepting credit cards for fear they would hold up lines at counters. Also, pricey fees once made credit-card payments uneconomical for fast-food companies.

 

But with the onset of no-signature transactions and a reduction in fees, participation from quick-service restaurants spiked 45 percent from 2003 to 2004, according to MasterCard.

 

It's spreading to other retailers, too.

 

"I've noticed it, especially at the airport parking lot," said business traveler John Ambler of Atlanta, who was in Phoenix recently.

 

For Zoes Kitchen, with two locations in Phoenix, no-signature transactions simplify business operations. There are no pens at the register and no receipts to file away at the end of the day.

 

"Basically, it just saves a bunch of time," said Lisa Lowrie, who co-owns the two Zoes franchises in Phoenix.

 

There's more good news for retailers: Analysts say people spend more than planned when they use credit cards. In fact, fast-food companies saw a 30 percent lift in sales when they began accepting plastic, McKinley said.

 

People are expected to charge $30 billion to $40 billion at fast-food restaurants in 2005, up from $22.5 billion in 2004, according to CardWeb.com research.

 

In fact, credit-card sales at fast-food places have nearly doubled each year since 2000, when people charged just $1.7 billion.

 

The no-signature method has raised concerns about fraud, but Gracia said, "It's as secure as any transaction that is signed for."

 

If that makes you wonder why people have been signing receipts for years, McKinley said it was more of a psychological exercise than a defense against fraud.

 

"I don't think anyone pays a whole lot of attention to signatures anyway," McKinley said.

 

Waiving signatures is just the beginning of steps credit-card companies are taking to retool transactions.

 

Companies like Peppercoin Inc., based in Waltham, Mass., are working with merchants to capture consumers' micropayments for such items as newspapers and packs of gum, which typically would be paid for with pocket change. Using a credit card embedded with a computer chip, consumers can pay for small-ticket items electronically.

 

American Express Co. has ExpressPay, which allows consumers to pay for purchases by waving a key fob or American Express card embedded with a chip near a reader at the checkout counter. No PIN or signature is required.

 

CVS Corp. stores and other retail outlets in Phoenix have been testing the no-contact payment method since the summer of 2003.

 

MasterCard continues to roll out its PayPass system, another tap-and-go method of payment. PayPass will be available at 5,000 McDonald's Corp. locations within a few months.

 

Retina scans, fingerprint recognition and payment with a wave of a cellphone have all been market-tested.

 

"Everyone is trying to figure out a better way," McKinley said.

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I haven't had to sign a receipt at a gas station in a looooong time. Just pay at the pump and I'm done.

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"Today, when someone stops to write a check at the checkout, people get really irritated. It's like a two-minute deal," McKinley said. "Of course, credit cards do it in a matter of seconds."

TRY AS LONG AS 4--5 MINUTES

 

Watch every price of every item...THEN GET THE PURSE OUT...look for the checkbook...look for the pen in another pocket...THERE IS A PEN ON THE CHECK WRITING COUNTER ON THAT STRING (IF YOU CAN'T FIND ONE)...WRITE THE DATE...WHAT IS THE DATE...THIS IS TARGET RIGHT...OH WAL*MART...FINALLY ALMOST FINISHED...GOTTA WRITE THAT PRICE DOWN...DO YOU HAVE A CALCULATOR SO I CAN SUBTRACT THE 10 CHECKS I WROTE TODAY...OH MY DRIVERS LICENSE...I GOT IT HERE...JUST BE A MINUTE or TWO...PHONE NUMBER...OK...THE BANK TOLD ME TO LEAVE IT OFF SO I WON'T GET PHONE ADVERTISING...OH THEY DON'T GET PHONE NUMBERS OFF CHECKS??? THEY USE COMPUTER AUTO DIALERS??? I DO WASTE A LOT OF TIME GIVING EVERYBODY MY PHONE NUMBER...

 

TAKEN FROM TRUE FACTS FROM A LIFE IN RETAIL

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I haven't had to sign a receipt at a gas station in a looooong time. Just pay at the pump and I'm done.

The credit card readers FREEZE from time to time...

 

I have to pay inside once or twice a year...

 

And when BANK ONE CUT ME OFF WITH-OUT NOTICE

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"Today, when someone stops to write a check at the checkout, people get really irritated. It's like a two-minute deal," McKinley said. "Of course, credit cards do it in a matter of seconds."

TRY AS LONG AS 4--5 MINUTES

 

Watch every price of every item...THEN GET THE PURSE OUT...look for the checkbook...look for the pen in another pocket...THERE IS A PEN ON THE CHECK WRITING COUNTER ON THAT STRING (IF YOU CAN'T FIND ONE)...WRITE THE DATE...WHAT IS THE DATE...THIS IS TARGET RIGHT...OH WAL*MART...FINALLY ALMOST FINISHED...GOTTA WRITE THAT PRICE DOWN...DO YOU HAVE A CALCULATOR SO I CAN SUBTRACT THE 10 CHECKS I WROTE TODAY...OH MY DRIVERS LICENSE...I GOT IT HERE...JUST BE A MINUTE or TWO...PHONE NUMBER...OK...THE BANK TOLD ME TO LEAVE IT OFF SO I WON'T GET PHONE ADVERTISING...OH THEY DON'T GET PHONE NUMBERS OFF CHECKS??? THEY USE COMPUTER AUTO DIALERS???  I DO WASTE A LOT OF TIME GIVING EVERYBODY MY PHONE NUMBER...

 

TAKEN FROM TRUE FACTS FROM A LIFE IN RETAIL

 

hehehehe...but SOOOO true...

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If you ask me, it's just asking for credit card fraud...

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...and then there are the people who LEAVE THEIR COTTON PICKEN' DRIVER'S LICENSE IN THE CAR!!!!

 

20 or 30 on an average day

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...and then there are the people who LEAVE THEIR COTTON PICKEN' DRIVER'S LICENSE IN THE CAR!!!!

 

20 or 30 on an average day

 

Hey, don't laugh! I've actually gone to the grocery store and left my whole wallet at HOME!!! Didn't realize it til I had my cart mostly filled up.

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...and then there are the people who LEAVE THEIR COTTON PICKEN' DRIVER'S LICENSE IN THE CAR!!!!

 

20 or 30 on an average day

:blush: I do that sometimes. When I go to the liquer store on Fridays to get my whiskey and then I forget to put it back in my wallet. But I am getting better! I just figure, I dont write checks so why would they ever need to see my ID? Though Target still ask for it :)

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...and then there are the people who LEAVE THEIR COTTON PICKEN' DRIVER'S LICENSE IN THE CAR!!!!

 

20 or 30 on an average day

:blush2: I do that sometimes. When I go to the liquer store on Fridays to get my whiskey and then I forget to put it back in my wallet. But I am getting better! I just figure, I dont write checks so why would they ever need to see my ID? Though Target still ask for it :beee:

 

Get this...the worst for me was I had flown to Florida and left my drivers license in the friggen car!!!!! Yes, this was pre-911 days!!!!! The reason it was in my car? My stupid gym needed to see ID to get in, so I had left it in the car after working out (which was my habit at the time). Took off for the airport later that day with it still sitting in my car. Obviously, Hertz didn't want to rent me a car at the airport with no DL so I had to have my sister rent the car!! Had to have my mom overnight my DL to me (I was staying in FL for about 2 weeks). What a fiasco!!!

 

Now...how did I get off on that tangent???? heehehe

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If you ask me, it's just asking for credit card fraud...

WHAT???????

 

 

Well, now that they don't require signatures, all I need is someone's card...and not have to worry about signing anything...as long as I keep the amounts low or go to places that don't require signatures...

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If you ask me, it's just asking for credit card fraud...

WHAT???????

 

 

Well, now that they don't require signatures, all I need is someone's card...and not have to worry about signing anything...as long as I keep the amounts low or go to places that don't require signatures...

YOU RISK GOING TO JAIL FOR 5--10 YEARS AND YOU SPEND $7.00 AT McDONALDS???

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It's my understanding that if a merchant swipes the card, but doesn't get a signature that they'll pay a slightly higher fee to their card processor than if they did a swipe + sig. It's a risk/return thing. :blush2: They pay an even higher rate if they take a card # over the phone without any other verification from the customer. At least that's how my card processor explained it to me. :beee:

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It's my understanding that if a merchant swipes the card, but doesn't get a signature that they'll pay a slightly higher fee to their card processor than if they did a swipe + sig.  It's a risk/return thing. :yahoo:  They pay an even higher rate if they take a card # over the phone without any other verification from the customer.  At least that's how my card processor explained it to me. :yahoo:

But with the onset of no-signature transactions and a reduction in fees, participation from quick-service restaurants spiked 45 percent from 2003 to 2004, according to MasterCard.

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...and then there are the people who LEAVE THEIR COTTON PICKEN' DRIVER'S LICENSE IN THE CAR!!!!

 

20 or 30 on an average day

 

Hey, don't laugh! I've actually gone to the grocery store and left my whole wallet at HOME!!! Didn't realize it til I had my cart mostly filled up.

I did that once. I filled up the car, and realized I didn't have my purse. I thought I had left it in the car, so when I left home, I just got in and drove aaway...well, I had to get DH out of work (he's inthe military, so a PITA) to come bring me money so I can pay...what a MORON!!!

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It's my understanding that if a merchant swipes the card, but doesn't get a signature that they'll pay a slightly higher fee to their card processor than if they did a swipe + sig.  It's a risk/return thing. :yahoo:  They pay an even higher rate if they take a card # over the phone without any other verification from the customer.  At least that's how my card processor explained it to me. :yahoo:

But with the onset of no-signature transactions and a reduction in fees, participation from quick-service restaurants spiked 45 percent from 2003 to 2004, according to MasterCard.

Yep, I read that, but it's not true for every merchant. :yahoo::lol:

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Those slips you sign don't go back the the credit card company, MC/Visa/AmEx or the processer...

 

The signing is more of a formality, and can be used in case of fraud and chargeback.

 

You get charged when the card is swiped.

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