Smart Cards have taken over Europe, and are coming to the U.S. soon!
This week, I returned from a family vacation in England, where my brothers in law live. It was great to visit family, see some castles, and (since I’m in the credit card processing biz) see what it’s going to be like next year, when Smart Cards take over in the US.
Every single retail store, restaurant, and gas station in the UK has Smart Card readers, also known as EMV readers. In the UK, they simply call them “Chip and pin” cards. They call it that of course because the card has a microchip in it, and the user has to input a pin for the card to be accepted.
Whenever I would purchase something with my old fashioned, magnetic strip, US based credit card, the English merchant would look at me as if I had just opened my wallet and offered to pay with beads. No exaggeration, they would stop and have to think about how to deal with my old timey, bad security, ID theft prone card, while looking at their EMV reader to see how it would accept the swipe of my card that is about as secure as swiping a refrigerator magnet.
I actually had one merchant say to me, “Oh, now you folks sign this paper don’t you?” Mockery was evident in her smug smile. She had to think about how what to do with the paper after I signed it, since she hadn’t seen a signed receipt in so long. Day after day, as I presented my card made of mere plastic, I got various quizzical looks and questions, and I felt like I had traveled to the future (except for the 1000 year old castles) and I was walking around with a oil lantern and feather pen.
It occurred to me that the US is often on the cutting edge of technology and finance, but in this odd case, we are years behind. Therefore, we have a huge credit card fraud problem – we deal with it literally everyday in our office. We are constantly seeing people try to use fake credit cards, because all they need is a few numbers and a signature.
The new EMV Smart Cards have a chip that creates a unique ID for every single transaction, so that having the card number does not allow anyone to fraudulently use it. Add to that that PIN, and you have a much higher level of security than our current all plastic cards.
The great news is that Payment Depot offers merchants an EMV Smart Card reader now for free, so that merchants can be ready when everyone in the US is forced to begin switching over next year. The bottom line for merchants is that they must be ready, and the benefit is that there will be less fraud, which means less charge backs, which means less hassle and more money in the merchant’s pocket.
It’s time to switch now, because we offer the EMV Smart Card reader for free on our Best Value Membership.