Clearing up some chip card confusion

The transition to credit cards with microchip technology has been a popular topic of discussion for many circles in the wake of several high profile security breaches of retailers. However, for consumers all of this talk can become confusing, especially because not all card providers are on the same page, not every merchant has the same technology and deadline talk looms.

In a recent article from the New York Times, J.D. Biersdorfer answered reader questions about the technology landscape. The most recent column features one inquiry about when the United States will need to adopt better credit card security.

MasterCard and Visa are spearheading this shift and both companies have a deadline of October 2015 for merchants that accept credit cards to deploy card readers that accept chip technology. After this point a new liability shift will take place where the bank or merchant will be held accountable for fraud if they have not updated the technology. Essentially the party with the weaker security measures must pay.

Some card providers including JPMorgan Chase, American Express and Citi have already issued new cards that have chips and others are getting on the bandwagon. These cards use two kinds of security. Tapping the chip to a receiver at the cash register replaces the need to use the magnetic strip and then customers will be required to either sign (the traditional way) or enter a PIN (considered more secure) to authenticate the transaction.

Merchants do not need to rush out and upgrade their POS credit card processing software right now, but they will soon. There is a little over a year before the deadline passes and in this time, retailers need to monitor the industry, see how other businesses handle it and then make a smart investment in the future.

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