Next year will herald the end of the swipe-and-sign credit card in the U.S.

This week, Target’s CEO appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the recent breaches that led to the loss of 40 million credit card numbers, as well as information pertaining to 70 million customers. Although malware placed on Target’s system is what exposed the data, most of the committee’s time was spent censuring traditional swipe-and-sign cards. 

It’s a payment ritual as familiar as handing over a $20 bill, and it’s soon to go extinct: prepare to say farewell to the swipe-and-sign of a credit card transaction. Beginning later next year, you will stop signing those credit card receipts. Instead, you will insert your card into a slot and enter a PIN number, just like people do in much of the rest of the world. The U.S. is the last major market to still use the old-fashioned signature system, and it’s a big reason why almost half the world’s credit card fraud happens in America, despite the country being home to about a quarter of all credit card transactions.

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