Chip-and-Pin — or “Chip-and-Sig?”

Chip-and-Pin — or “Chip-and-Sig?”

The new year always brings change — not only the resolutions we manage to keep, but change in the form of new laws, products, calendar deadlines, etc. One such change, slated for 2015, is the arrival, at last, of “EMV” cards as the default standard for American credit card users, those micro-chipped credit and debit cards that are already the standard in most European countries.

The Transition to EMV Cards

Merchants are expected to prepare for EMV cards by the year’s end. Otherwise, the responsibility for future security breaches and data theft will transition from card providers to the merchants.

The “Chip and Signature” Debate

But according to a couple of new articles, that “standard” may be a little different in America. Rather than the “PIN” number part of the equation, most upgraded card users here may see a hybrid form, or “chip and signature” card. Ironically, it tends to be the banks pushing for the slightly less secure version.

Banks’ Perspective

As reported in an article on, which references the Wall Street Journal, U.S. bank executives have opted for the signature version to spare customers the burden of remembering a new four-digit code at the checkout. Nevertheless, these cards are still considered more secure since they are inserted into the cash register terminal’s bottom, not swiped, and remain there until the customer signs for the purchase.

The Customer Perspective

In a corresponding NPR article, Doug Johnson, the Senior VP for Payment and Online Security at the American Bankers Association, states that the vast majority of credit card users in the United States are unaccustomed to using a PIN for credit transactions. He suggests that this factor played a pivotal role in the decision-making process of credit card issuers.

Balancing Convenience and Security

And though the use of PINs would make the cards safer still, according to NPR “The banks want to make sure that cardholders use their card, and so they want to make it as easy for the cardholder. And so until they see adoption of PIN across the system, no bank wants to be the only one with a PIN-only-enabled credit card.”

Preparing for the Change

Either way, change is not only in the wind, but in the plastic. To help you get ready — and to keep some of those “resolutions” you made on the business side of your life! — contact your AVPS Rep today for upgrades, and information.

And Happy 2015!

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