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In the “old days” – the days of magnetic stripe cards – we proved that we were the owners of our cards with a handwritten signature at the point of sale (POS). Then came the chip cards, for which we switched to using a PIN number in card-present situations to authenticate ourselves as the card owner. This is not the case in the USA, however, where using PIN numbers for credit cards and POS purchases are rare, and cardholders continue to sign slips. Even this though, is becoming increasingly rare with US card issuers dropping the requirement for a signature without replacing it with a PIN.
Read more here.