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    Visa to Expand 'No Signature Required' Program

    Cardholders will be able to swipe and go for purchases at more U.S. merchants.

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Visa Inc. said it plans to offer its No Signature Required program to the majority of merchant categories in the United States beginning July 2010. Under the new expanded program, retailers can accept U.S.-issued Visa cards for domestic transactions totaling $25 or less without requiring a cardholder signature.

    The program has the potential to increase speed at the point-of-sale and enhance customer satisfaction, the credit card company said in an announcement yesterday.

    "Visa's No Signature Required program has been enormously popular with Visa cardholders and merchants in busy retail environments like quick-service restaurants (QSR) and coffee shops," stated Bill Sheedy, president, the Americas for Visa. "Innovation comes in many forms and enabling Visa cardholders to swipe their card and go at most U.S. retailers is a small, but significant advance in the ongoing migration to digital currency."

    With the changes, approximately 98 percent of all U.S. merchant category codes in the Visa system will be covered by the No Signature Required program. Currently, 26 merchant categories are eligible for No Signature Required in the U.S. They include auto parking lots and garages; bakeries; book stores; bus lines; candy, nut and confectionery stores; car washes; dairy stores; drug stores and pharmacies; dry cleaners; fast-food restaurants; laundries; local commuter transport; miscellaneous food stores; motion picture theaters; news dealers and newsstands; quick copy services; restaurants; service stations; taxicabs and limousines; tolls and bridges; and video rental stores.

    According to a Visa Inc. survey, 69 percent of respondents cited either convenience or speed as the primary reason for using their credit or debit card. Visa consumer research also found that payment options influence a consumer's decision to visit a business, and acceptance of payment cards has the potential to lead to stronger customer satisfaction and retention for retailers.

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