EMV Proponents Claim Progress in Payment Card Upgrades

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2015-02-03 Print this article Print
EMV Chip Progress

Of the other businesses I called, none had actually heard of EMV; they also hadn't heard of chip cards and had never been approached by their card processors about more secure methods of payment. One of those businesses didn't really care (that would be my barber) because the owner doesn't take credit cards at all.

In desperation, I called a large business to ask about chip card acceptance. Unfortunately, the staff at my local Walmart had no idea what I was talking about. I explained to the head cashier what I meant about chip cards and showed her one, and she was mystified.

Mind you, this Walmart has been accepting chip cards, including chip and PIN cards, since the middle of 2014. I'd actually used the first chip and PIN card I'd received last summer at the same store.

At least I know that my chip cards actually work. When I was at the CeBIT Press Preview in Hannover, Germany, at the end of January, they worked fine when I had to get my German SIM card refilled and again when I made the obligatory stop in the duty free store at the Frankfurt airport.

So the news for me is that my cards work, both in Europe and in the United States. But what's adding to the mystery is that few businesses in the United States, even those that accept cards with chips, seem to know anything about them.

What this means is that despite the stated efforts of card issuers to educate merchants and the public about the security of cards with chips, whatever they're doing isn't working. This lack of knowledge is puzzling because a number of studies discussed at the briefing said that U.S. consumers are strongly in favor of a more secure card payment system.

But if U.S. consumers are so strongly in favor of secure cards, why is it that nobody seems to know what they are? The answer, of course, is that the education campaign needed to get the word out about payment systems in the United States doesn't seem to be working yet. In fact, it hardly seems to be making a dent in the collective consciousness of American businesses.

Of course, this would all change if card processing companies actually started talking to their customers about the issue, but there's relatively little incentive. All that happens if their customers fail to switch to cards with chips is that those customers take the hit on fraudulent cards.

This means that it's up to individual retailers and businesses of all kinds to insist on a more secure payment system and insist that their processors level with them. But it appears that in most cases, it's the merchant that needs to make the necessary effort.



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