…or at least, it’s “EMV Anniversary” time. Last year, in October, it was the “liability” swtich that mandated merchants switch to EMV-capable POS devices, or be left to reimburse any card fraud expenses themselves.
In a Money Magazine look back from the one year vantage point, they note there are now “two million active chip-reading terminals, a whopping 486% increase since the liability shift occurred last October, according to data from MasterCard. That said, two million merchants represents only a third of all U.S. retailers.”
Money also notes that despite all the rumblings one hears about EMV use, according to a Nerdwallet study, “the vast majority of consumers view chip-based transactions favorably, and more people would rather use a chip card than swipe a magnetic strip. Nearly 80% of borrowers said they felt positively about chip cards, and almost half said they believe that consumers benefit from the improved technology…..Even when things don’t go as planned, most people don’t get too terribly bent out of shape. Two in five are indifferent when the reader doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, while another 24% said they are amused.”
Though one might paraphrase a Martin Scorsese film and ask: “Is it the job of EMV readers to amuse you?”
Well, no — the idea is keep financial data safer. Which brings us to our current October, when now, ATM machines are required to become EMV compliant, as well. Or to be clear: MasterCard is now requiring it. Visa will follow suit next October.
As the banking-related “Deposit Accounts” website asks, “with so many reports of criminals using skimmers to steal ATM card numbers, it is surprising that banks have been so slow in completing upgrades to their systems, whether or not required by the card networks.”
But the same article also points out that costs can be daunting both for financial institutions with hundreds or thousands of terminals, as well as “mom and pop stores,” with a single outlet for customers.
Still, it’s assumed that an eventual EMV switch will help put a serious dent in the “skimmers” that swipe PIN and magnetic stripe numbers on targeted machines. But the same article points out that while “crooks may be not be able to use any data they skim from chipped cards at an ATM or retail store with chip readers installed, they could still use the card number to make online purchases where no check of card chips is possible.”
So the frontiers of payment security continue to be expanded. And so do the October anniversaries. Next year at this time, Visa will be requiring its own ATM liability switch. And payment terminals at gas stations will also need to become compliant.
Meanwhile, “Merry October!” Or wait — are we getting ahead of ourselves?