Is it time for the US to Improve Credit Card security?

by Lynette Baker- Director of Outreach and Marketing

 

The United States has been lagging behind other countries in improving credit card security. That may be changing soon, due to success in other countries and the recent slew of credit card breaches at major retailers.

The days of the magnetic stripe appear to be numbered, EMV is set to make its mark on US credit cards. EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. These companies developed the technology used for the new cards which feature an embedded microprocessor chip instead of the usual magnetic stripe. Most EMV cards require a personal identification number (PIN) instead of a signature, thereby enhancing the security of the transaction. EMV is widely used in Europe and is being adopted in other countries, but has been slow to enter the US market. The cards are slightly more expensive to produce and the card readers are a big expense for retailers, but in the long run, the consumer and retailer will benefit with the reduction of fraud.  Travelers may already be familiar with the technology which features a handheld card reader used for payment. The credit card never leaves your sight and the combination of the chip and PIN is highly secure.

The US is one of the last countries to switch to EMV, but American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa have announced plans for shifting to an EMV-based payment infrastructure in the US. Visa has set deadlines for retailers to accept the cards within the next four years and Mastercard has given US ATM owners 2 years to upgrade their machines.

Some banks are beginning to roll out the EMV and magnetic stripe cards as current cards expire. For a list of credit card issuers who offer EMV- enabled cards, visit NerdWallet  http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/top-credit-cards/nerdwallets-best-emv-chip-credit-cards/  or call your credit card company.


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