VISA announced on 18Jan2018 that it is making the signature requirement optional for all chip cards

Frequent Contributor

Visa has announced ( that as of April 2018, all chip and contactless cards will make the signature requirement for transactions optional. As I read that, what they will do is change the priority to Chip&PIN instead of Chip&Signature. Will USAA make these cards available to its customers who have been dealing with this issue overseas for years?


Hello R_S, That's a great question. At this time, we do not have any information if the option to change the priority of the cards will be available. However, I share your comments with our banking team. We continually look for ways to improve our services to our members and your comments will help us do so. Thank you. - Ben

Any update to this? I was just in Germany, Hungary and Poland, and all my USAA card transactions there continue to require the merchants to print out a receipt for signature.

@R_S, we have not received any information yet from Visa that this has taken effect. Since they are the ones making this change within their systems, you may want to reach out to Visa directly to find out more information regarding this. Respectfully -Colleen

An April 24, 2018 list from (link below) includes the USAA Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card as a Chip & PIN card, along with 11 other bank cards. It is clear they know the difference, because they have a separate list for Chip and Signature cards. Is this card available to members?

**Post edited due to posting guidlines. 

@R_S, USAA is Chip and PIN capable; however at this time we are Chip and signature preferred. What this means is that the PIN requirement is available when using the card overseas; however, if the merchant has not made it mandatory that that the PIN be provided, then the signature will be the default second verification. Most overseas issued cards are Chip and PIN preferred, so most merchants do not set a PIN requirement which is why you see the need to sign with live merchants. You will see at overseas kiosks, such as metro lines, the PIN will be required so it will be asked for each time and signatures are not be needed at these locations.  At this time we do not have any information that we will be changing the preference on our cards to PIN preferred; however if we do, the communication will be made on our website. I hope this is helpful. ~Michelle

Thank you, Michelle. This was an informative reply. I still wonder, however, how this squares with the VISA press release back in January that stated as of April, 2018 all chip and contactless cards will make the signature requirement for transactions optional. If the signature is now optional, then there should be no need to sign overseas, and USAA ought to issue cards that are PIN preferred. I can only surmise that U.S. merchants are largely unwilling or unable to make the adjustment to PINs.

@R_S That may be the case. I wish the response could be different. Thank you for interacting with our Member Community. It is a great recourse for feedback such as yours . It gets a lot of attention. Thank you, ~ Suzy

Thank you Michelle as this is a very clear and well explained answer. The only part I'm not sure about is that I would think that Chip & Pin are more secure than Chip & Signature and since USAA is not at this time looking to use contactless because of security concerns, I am surprised it doesn't lean torwards having Chip & Pin as priority.


I have a couple of cards in my wallet and my USAA card is the only one without contactless and I have been using contactless for quite some time and absolutely love it. The convienence of simply tap & go is great and the security that it has a smaller limit gives peace of mind. I do understand that mobile wallets can be used but just out of pure habit I still just naturally pull out my wallet when I go to pay for something.


As I've heard said, if one thing is constant in IT, it's change. Thank you for all you do and still happy to have you as my bank :)

@World Travler, Thanks for your post. Chip cards are an evolving technology. Globally, Chip-and-PIN cards are common. This card requires a PIN number to be entered in order for the transaction to be processed Chip-and-signature cards, mirror the behavior of today’s credit cards in the United States, and simply require a signature to perform the transaction because all purchases can be authorized “live” and in real-time. This was not true when this technology was first introduced in Europe, so PIN became a default requirement as it helped validate transactions where the merchant was not able to support processing live authorizations. This is not an issue in the U.S. as merchants are able to process authorizations live. There are also contactless cards where the cardholder passes the card over the terminal, though this is not in wide-spread use at this time. This technology will continue to evolve as mobile devices begin to play a larger role in the payment world.


USAA will issue signature preferring chip cards (chip-and-signature) to its members for broader acceptance in the United States. However, it will also have PIN capabilities to allow members to perform cash advances or to complete transactions should a merchant require it. I hope this information helps. - Ben