Virginia becomes first state to mandate EMV cards

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With a soft industry deadline of this October, more and more companies are readying themselves for the implementation of embedded chip credit cards. Now, one state government is joining the private sector in this mandate.

Last week, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Directive 5, which requires all state agencies that accept credit payments to accept EMV, or chip and pin cards, by the end of the year. The order further requires that the state finance and technology departments implement advanced electronic payment technologies that meet or exceed current federal standards for the state's merchant, prepaid debit card and purchase card programs.

"I am keenly aware of the need for best practices and models to help spur states to advance their cybersecurity position and make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to our sensitive data," McAuliffe said in a statement. "We must partner with the federal government, the private sector and other states to push innovation and adoption of enhanced electronic payment technologies — by our agencies, our merchants and our citizens — to help reduce credit card fraud. This directive will ensure the highest level of security for transactions conducted between citizens and state agencies."

The governor signed the directive at the Virginia Security and Consumer Protection Summit, which is sponsored by Visa, one of the companies behind the new standard of the chip and pin cards, or EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa).

Virginia Executive Directive 5 echoes a federal executive order signed by President Barak Obama in February, which calls for the same actions but on the federal level. That order goes a step further, requiring federal law enforcement agencies share more information with banks and retails upon the discovering of identity theft rings.

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