Mobile is making itself felt in retail in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. But Visa and Kroger are dealing with mobile in very different ways, with Visa — perhaps a decade too late, but late is better than never — conceding that the authentication of mobile payments makes signing for a purchase no longer necessary. Meanwhile, Kroger is pushing mobile checkout but still wants shoppers to wait in line to pay.
Let's start with Visa. In a very significant — and long overdue — move, Visa last week (Jan. 12) joined fellow card brands MasterCard, American Express and Discover in signaling an end to the payment signature, as of April in Visa's case. Technically, the brands merely said that signatures are no longer required, but given that retailers have begged for the end of signature for years, as a practical matter, it will be gone in the U.S. before the summer arrives.