No signature required


When you make a purchase in a retail establishment, the typical protocol is to sign your name on the screen of the POS terminal or on a printed receipt. But in certain cases, no signature is required. I believe this comes into play when a merchant has opted in to a special program with American Express or other card companies, and the transaction is less than $20 or so.

However, I’ve noticed that these no signature transactions can be a little bit confusing. Even when I’m shopping at a store that I visit regularly, the no signature part always catches me by surprise. In most cases, I press the OK or Yes button on the screen, and then wait for the signature prompt that never arrives. When the cashier finally proclaims that “You don’t have to sign”, I feel a little silly for not realizing that my purchase was under the no signature threshold — whatever that might be.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds the no signature process to be a bit jarring. And a simple change on the POS terminals could eliminate any confusion. Here’s how it would work: at the exact point that the POS system would normally ask you to sign your name, the screen should say “No signature is required for this transaction.” This would provide a clear and obvious indication to the consumer that the transaction is done, and they’d be on their way more quickly — without any intervention by the cashier. Aside from making things easier for shoppers, this would shave off precious time from each no signature sale, thus improving productivity and reducing costs for the retailer.