In the Wake of Breaches, EMV Speeds Up. Some Security Folks Think That’s Fine.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a “push for the new cards is taking on greater urgency following a number of high-profile data breaches in recent months that have exposed millions of consumers to potential fraud.”

By “new cards,” they mean those EMV-chipped cards we’ve been reporting on here, that are already standard in much of the world. The cards would require an “extra step” beyond a swipe to use; either a signature or pin while the card stayed in a card reader.

And  by “high-profile breaches,” the article refers to not only the all-too-many breaches we’ve had to report on here, but even the ones since last week — mainly the pilfering of potentially millions of customer credit card numbers from the SuperValu grocery chain (which included Albertsons, Osco, and other stores).

“In all,” the article continues “U.S. lenders will issue more than 575 million chip credit and debit cards by the end of 2015, representing roughly half of the one billion cards now in circulation, according to an industry-group projection.”

“”By the time we get to holiday shopping,” it says further, quoting Carolyn Balfany, who is overseeing the EMV transition for MasterCard “there will be a good base of chip cards in the market.”

And that’s a good thing, according to Jack Jania, an SVP at data security firm Gemalto. He was interviewed by, and spoke of the notion that some in the payments have had that consumer payments may basically “leapfrog” straight over EMV conversion, to mobile payments, where phones and other devices would be used for payments. Each of these could be programmed to only allow payments in certain geographical areas, for example, thus limiting the potential to use stolen account data for fraud in far-flung locales.

“Everyone sees the Holy Grail of mobile payment, but in reality, if you look at the numbers, many people will not have access to mobile payment, and it won’t be as ubiquitous as the plastic form factor,” Jania says. “Moving the plastic form factor to EMV will make it more accessible to a larger distribution of people in the U.S. because mobile devices will require upgrading terminals to support EMV and NFC.”

“NFC,” remember, stands for “near field communication,” in other words, the “contactless” kind of payment interaction that mobile may allow.

“The real question,” he opines “is: Do we really want to leave the mass population of consumers vulnerable to payment fraud when EMV is available today?” Of course, “today” means the “next several months,” in terms of U.S. rollout, but you can certainly start to get ready today by calling your AVPS Rep.

Payment types and procedures are changing – from mobile to online and more — and we can help you be ready for all those seismic shifts when they come.

In fact, you might be so ready, you may not feel a thing, seismic or otherwise. Except, perhaps, more secure.

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