Visa, MasterCard Petition Aussie Regulators to End Signature Authorization

July 25, 2013

Visa and MasterCard have petitioned the Australian government to require PINs on nearly all credit-card purchases in the country. The two credit-card networks filed a joint application with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) saying a move to PIN authorization would save millions of dollars in fraud. The application asks the ACCC to end signature authorization by June 30, 2014.

“Historically, signature was one of the main types of cardholder verification,” the companies said in their bid to the regulator. “Over time, merchant acceptance practices have become increasingly lax when it comes to verifying the signature on the transaction receipt. Often, the card is already returned to the customer’s wallet before the receipt is even signed. Requiring the use of PIN removes the option of verification by signature.”

Banks and the Australian Retailers Association are backing the Visa and MasterCard play, but small businesses fear changes in their POS systems will be costly. The type of fraud that ending signature authorization would address (stolen or never-received cards along with forged signature) totaled about $23.5 million on Australian cards last financial year. CNP fraud and skimming, however, accounted for a far larger chunk at $235 million.

The ACCC is accepting comment from interested parties until August 9. Submissions can be made at .