The signature, a centuries-old way of verifying identity, is rapidly going extinct. In April, four of the largest credit card networks—American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover—stopped requiring a customer’s signature to complete a transaction. The change is optional for retailers, so stores could still require you to sign—for now. But Walmart considers signatures “worthless” and has already stopped recording them on most purchases, and Target began phasing them out last spring. Most experts believe the signature will eventually be required only for large transactions, such as buying a house or car, or for major life events, like getting a marriage license. What led to the change? “With chip technology and PIN codes, whatever security credit card firms got from signing has become unnecessary,” says Subodha Kumar, professor of marketing at Temple University in Philadelphia. “So you could say that technology is killing the signature.”