Anyone who has any experience with swipe and sign cards knows exactly how they’re charged by a merchant. Your card is taken, swiped and then a receipt is printed, which you sign and then collect your card and receipt before going on your way again. That’s the way it has been in the U.S. for a long, long time, even though many countries in the world have now transitioned to using chip-based cards, which don’t require signatures, users just have to enter their PINs to authorize transactions. Its highly likely that swipe and sign cards may not work after October 2015, since that’s the deadline both Visa and MasterCard have chosen to complete the switch to chip-based cards.

The news comes at a time when questions are being raised about the security of user data, stemming from the recent major security breach Target faced over the holiday season. Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus also announced that it too had been a victim of a similar data breach, with credit and debit card information of millions of customers being compromised. A Senate Judiciary Committee was told that such attacks will be difficult to pull off once the current system is transitioned out in favor of chip-based cards, because even if card information is gathered, its essentially useless without the chip.

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