chip card
by Stephen Garner

chip cardOne year after card companies’ deadline for retailers to accept new chip-based credit cards, delays by the card industry have left thousands of new chip readers unused and consumers with far less improvement in security than what was sought by merchants, the National Retail Federation said today.

“Most major retailers have done their part, but the card industry continues to drop the ball,” said Mallory Duncan, senior vice president and general counsel at NRF. “Retailers have spent billions of dollars to install the new equipment but card companies have failed to sign off on the installations in a timely manner. Many retailers have had new chip card readers sitting next to their cash registers for a year waiting for the card companies’ blessing. We wish they cared as much about security as we do.”

“This is frustrating for retailers and confusing for consumers,” Duncan continued. “Worst of all, the new cards provide just a fraction of the security they could because they are only chip-and-signature rather than the chip-and-PIN used throughout the rest of the industrialized world. Without a secret PIN, virtually any illegible scrawl of a signature is good enough for a criminal to use an innocent person’s credit card with or without a chip.”

A recent NRF survey of members found that 86 percent of retailers plan to have the new Europay MasterCard Visa chip card technology fully implemented by the end of 2016. Of those who do not yet have EMV in operation, 57 percent said they had already installed the equipment but were waiting for certification by the card industry so they could turn it on. And 60 percent of those said they had been waiting six months or longer.

While chips make it more difficult to create counterfeit cards from stolen card data, retailers surveyed said they are also working on technologies like tokenization and encryption that make it difficult to steal card data in the first place.