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Credit Card Issuers Embrace The Chip

[Wednesday, August 17th, 2016]

Consumers are getting used to inserting their chip cards into payment readers, rather than sliding their cards through them – and more and more cards are equipped for this change.

MasterCard recently announced that 80% of its consumer credit cards in the United States are now chip cards, rather than just magnetic stripe cards. This represents an 88% increase in chip card adoption since fall 2015, when US rules changed to require retailers to be responsible for fraudulent payments if they didn’t accept EMV chip cards.

The US was slower to adopt EMV chip cards than other countries, but the change is finally coming into effect fully. And card issuers are seeing the results.

MasterCard said counterfeit fraud has dropped more than 60% at the top five EMV-enabled merchants. “MasterCard has helped over 150 countries adopt EMV and, time and again, we’ve seen the same result: significant reductions in counterfeit card fraud,” said MasterCard’s senior vice president of product delivery, Chiro Aikat. “The US is one of the most complex markets in the world, and great progress has been made in securing our payments ecosystem in a short amount of time.”

Confusion still reigns at many checkout counters

At the checkout counter, people are still struggling to know whether to slide or insert their cards. Some retailers have card readers that can accept a chip card, but are still asking customers to swipe instead of insert. But hopefully soon, those with chip cards will be able to insert them at any payment station that can accept them.

Inserting the EMV chip card results in a more secure transaction than swiping. Each time someone makes a payment with an EMV card, a unique code is sent that can’t be duplicated. This ensures that thieves can’t get the account number and make fraudulent transactions with the account.

MasterCard is helping retailers adapt to the payments changed by offering an EMV chip terminal testing program that sends chip readers to retailers in a matter of hours rather than days. Readers must be tested and certified before being used. That may be the reason some retailers are balking at changing their systems over.

Cards are still equipped with magnetic stripes, even if they have EMV chips, so they can be used both ways. Of course, when people are shopping online, they still enter their account information in the usual way – so shoppers should use caution when they are on public Wi-Fi, where account information could be stolen by hackers.

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