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Visa waives PIN in use of debit cards

From Times Wire Services

Consumers can now use Visa debit cards for smaller purchases without entering a personal identification number, the same way they can skip signing receipts.

Visa said last week that it would no longer require merchants to treat its debit cards differently when customers use them as PIN debit cards rather than signature cards. The move prompted the Justice Department to drop an antitrust investigation of the practice.

Visa has allowed banks to permit merchants to waive the signature requirement when customers use Visa debit cards, usually on purchases of less than $25, the department said. But Visa had prohibited banks from allowing merchants to waive the entry of a PIN if a customer chose that route.

When a customer uses the debit card as a signature card, the transaction is processed over Visa’s network; if the customer uses a PIN with the same card, it is processed over another network. The signature waiver has reduced processing time, the Justice Department said, potentially giving Visa’s signature network an unfair advantage over PIN networks.

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