For years, the United States has lagged behind other countries when it comes to payment security. EMV cards, also called chip-enabled cards, or chip-and-PIN cards, are standard across Europe and Asia, but haven’t caught on as quickly in the U.S. This is despite the fact that they are more secure than traditional magnetic stripe cards, and also in spite of the numerous data breaches that have compromised consumer payment information over the last year.
As of October 1, 2015, banks have said that merchants are liable for any losses due to credit card fraud and data breaches. The industry-imposed deadline means merchants are required to have the capability to accept EMV cards, which require tapping, not swiping. This deadline was set more than two years ago, giving consumers and businesses alike plenty of time to prepare.
However, consumers aren’t necessarily ready for this deadline. A recent study showed that six in ten people with credit cards do not have even one chip-enabled card. Even if they do have EMV cards, the businesses they frequent might not be able to accept them. BridgePay Network Solutions projects that only 5-10% of businesses in the U.S. are equipped with EMV card readers.
No more swiping
With EMV cards, folks can either dip their card into a terminal, or tap it, or wave it across a reader. Rather than reading information off a magnetic stripe, the machine reads it off a chip. The information is encrypted, and a temporary validation code is issued. Once the consumer signs or enters a PIN, the transaction is authorized.
Free EMV card readers easy to come by
Many payment-processing companies have offered free EMV point-of-sale equipment to merchants who sign up for their services. So, as long as businesses are willing to sign up for a payment processing service, it’s easy for them to get the necessary equipment to be EMV compliant.
Having an EMV card increases the security of consumers’ sensitive payment data and can prevent credit card fraud. Although most major credit cards have zero-liability policies for their customers, having your identity stolen or your credit card information compromised is still a pain. The red tape involved with freezing accounts, getting new cards, or being reimbursed by your bank, in the event your debit card is compromised, is not fun to deal with. Using an EMV card makes it less likely that this will happen.