Signatures for credit card transactions will soon be a thing of the past
Credit card networks are finally ready to concede the obvious: Signatures are not a useful way to prove identity. This month, American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa will stop requiring them. When credit card signatures disappear, handwritten authentications will be relegated to a few special circumstances: sealing a giant transaction like a house purchase, or getting a celebrity to autograph a piece of memorabilia. Card signatures won’t vanish overnight. The change is optional, leaving retailers to decide. Target plans to eliminate them this month. Walmart considers signatures “worthless” and has already stopped recording them on most transactions, said Randy Hargrove, a spokesman. It will soon get rid of them completely. Mastercard said it has been wanting to make the change for years, but held off until cards embedded with computer chips became common. Card companies started adding microchips more than a decade ago to reduce fraud. The chips create unique codes for each transaction, making cards much harder to copy. The chips have long been popular in Europe and Asia but took off in the United States only three years ago. At that point, signatures became largely irrelevant in resolving fraud claims. “The signature has really outrun its useful life,” said Linda Kirkpatrick, Mastercard’s head of business development in the United States. — NEW YORK TIMES
Profits lagging, Deutsche Bank replaces its CEO
Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board on Sunday appointed Christian Sewing (right) as chief executive. A member of the German bank’s management board since January 2015, he was appointed as president in March 2017 and now succeeds John Cryan (left), who’ll leave at the end of April. Cryan took over in 2015 after the previous co-CEOs stepped down as the bank struggled with uneven profits that were repeatedly eroded by funds set aside for litigation expenses. Cryan pushed to cut costs, streamline computer systems, and leave less profitable businesses and regions. Still, progress has been slow amid low interest rates that squeezed lending margins and reduced income from trading stocks and bonds. Deutsche Bank lost $903 million last year. Rumors that Cryan might be replaced had swirled for weeks. Sewing heads Deutsche Bank’s private and commercial bank division. He joined the bank in 1989. — ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pacific Coast pipeline project put on hold
Kinder Morgan said Sunday that it is suspending all nonessential activities and related spending on its controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that would nearly triple the flow of oil from Canada’s oil sands to the Pacific Coast. The company said its decision is based on the British Columbia government’s opposition to the project, which has also been the focus of sustained protests at Kinder Morgan’s terminal in British Columbia. Kinder Morgan says it will consult with ‘‘various stakeholders’’ to seek an agreement that might allow the project to proceed. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted the project be completed despite the protests and British Columbia’s court challenge. The federal government urged British Columbia on Sunday to stop delaying the project. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by the Canadian division of Texas-based Kinder Morgan would dramatically increase the number of oil tankers traveling the shared waters between Canada and Washington state. The project has drawn legal challenges and opposition from environmental groups and Native American tribes. Opponents say increasing the flow of oil sent by pipeline and boosting the number of ships to transport it would increase the risks of oil spills and potential harm to fish, orcas and other wildlife. Supporters say expansion of the pipeline would give Canada access to new global markets, providing jobs and millions of dollars in economic benefits. — ASSOCIATED PRESS
US average gas rises 8 cents in two weeks
The average US price for regular-grade gasoline shot up 8 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to $2.74. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the increase was driven primarily by rising crude oil prices. The current gas-price average is 30 cents above where it was a year ago. The highest average price in the contiguous 48 states was $3.63, in the San Francisco Bay area. The lowest was $2.37, in Baton Rouge, La. — ASSOCIATED PRESS.