Visa plans to offer 'No Signature Required' program to the majority of merchant categories in the US beginning July 2010.

Under the new expanded program, for domestic transactions $25 and less, retailers can accept US-issued Visa cards for purchases without requiring a cardholder signature.

Currently the 26 merchant categories eligible for No Signature Required program in the US include: auto parking lots and garages; bakeries; book stores; bus lines; candy, nut and confectionary stores; car washes; dairy stores; drug stores and pharmacies; dry cleaners; fast food restaurants; laundries; local commuter transport; miscellaneous food stores; motion picture theaters; news dealers and newsstands; quick copy services; restaurants; service stations; taxicabs and limousines; tolls and bridges and video rental stores.

The program is expected to allow hundreds of thousands US retailers, including traditionally cash-heavy merchants such as discount stores, to enjoy the benefit from card acceptance on low dollar transactions. These benefits include the potential for faster payment, increased sales and operating efficiencies they don’t get from cash and checks.

Bill Sheedy, president of the Americas at Visa, said: “Visa’s No Signature Required program has been enormously popular with Visa cardholders and merchants in busy retail environments like quick service restaurants and coffee shops. Innovation comes in many forms and enabling Visa cardholders to swipe their card and go at most US retailers is a small, but significant advance in the ongoing migration to digital currency.”