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It’s almost three years since the top-four Card Companies in the US made signatures noncompulsory for most of their transactions, yet consumers are still made to sign—and this continues even with its dwindling ability to ensure that only the rightful card-owner uses it to initiate transactions.

It seems like PINs and signatures can’t suffice in a payments world where cybercriminals are learning to breach all security walls.

Last year but one (2018), the NRF conducted a study where over 40 percent of retail officials said they’d ditched signature requests for card transactions or intended to do so by the close of the year. Thirteen percent planned to follow suit in 2019.

And no need to beat around the bush about it! Cybercriminals find PINs easy to breach while signatures lack the “something a user knows” aspect that makes authentication more accurate. These two aren’t secure enough even if individually combined in EMV chip cards.

Signatures, were never part of online business, but merchants adopted it to address authentication issues like account takeovers and synthetic identities—which involve criminals taking over a legit shopper’s account or using partially-true info to create a fake account, respectively.

And with billions of personal customer data circulating the internet, nailing authentication can be a little tricky.

What Next For Authentication?

The Multi-Step Approach

With many technologies available, merchants should now work towards multi-step authentication!

To stay safe, use two to three walls of security. For instance you can combine the use of biometrics with PINs and personal questions (something only a customer would know). That way, a criminal may still fail in one step even if they pass another.

Post-Pin Verification

An excellent way to reinforce your PINs is to add a post-pin verification step that looks into biometrics like customer habits. Habits like password-typing speed, frequently visited websites etc. can help make the authentication process more accurate.

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The Challenge For Merchants

But in pacing the shift towards better authentication, businesses are still worried about how customers will respond to the new technologies and additional steps.

Streamlining the authentication experience is a concern because a tiresome and difficult authentication procedure can lead to churn and abandonment.

Final Words

For merchants, the idea to design a painless and secure authentication process. One that will not only allow smooth verification but also protect customer data and security.

Author Bio: Blair Thomas has been a music producer, bouncer, screenwriter and for over a decade has been the proud Co-Founder of eMerchantBroker, the highest rated high risk merchant account provider in the country. He has climbed in the Himalayas, survived a hurricane, and lived on a gold mine in the Yukon. He currently calls Thailand his home with a lifetime collection of his favorite books.


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