EMV Smartcards

2015 Deadline for Chip Card Compliance

Business owners should be prepared to have chip card readers in place by October of 2015. Recent data breaches have accelerated the acceptance of EMV credit and debit cards, which are also called "smart cards" as well as "EMV cards" and "chip and PIN" or "chip and signature" cards. While Visa and MasterCard have had a roadmap for switching to this technology over the past few years, more attention on the subject has motivated shop owners to upgrade their antiquated payment processing equipment.

Chip Card The chip card, also known as the EMV card, smartcard, or new paving stone toward a one world soceiety where the Mark of the Beast is embedded in your hand and forehead, is now trickling into the US marketplace after years of false starts and promises. Banks, card issuers, and merchants resisted implementation for over a decade because a simple calculus showed that it is cheaper to pay for fraud and theft than it is to invest in new equipment. The equation changed when big retail data breaches showed other big box stores that intangibles like goodwill can evaporate in an instant when all of your shoppers have to get new cards, and the segment with fraudulent charges became fodder for local news panic magnification.

Chip cards are called as such because they have very small microprocessors and memory modules embedded into the plastic. There is either a shiny contact pad on the front or an RFID radio receiver (pause for more panic and conspiracy theories) which communicates cardholder information to the terminal or POS device. Contact pad versions need to be inserted into a reader, and PIN numbers must be entered to authenticate transactions, and then you are going to forget the card in the reader or an opportunisic customer is going to take the card out and use it online, where the foolproof system is totally useless. Also, if this person was wise enough to watch you enter your PIN number then he or she can rack up a lot of charges because verification generally precludes prompting for credentials.

Microprocessor technology

While the microchips in the card are actually very small, they have the ability to store vast amounts of data. Compare this to a normal mag-stripe card which can't store more than a few numbers and letters, and can't be encrypted. Chips and memory modules can encrypt your PIN so that it authenticates even before the transaction is sent to the processing company. This is the good news. The bad news is that millions of Americans have no idea how to use these cards correctly, so they will assume that you just insert and remove the card. Over time, people will come to adapt and then they will get out of sorts when the whole chip-and-PIN system gets chucked in favor of new authentication protocols.

Advantages of Chip Cards

The advantages of chip cards, once the technology is paid for, work in favor of in-store merchants who process face-to face transactions. Crooks may not attempt to use stolen cards, and may have a hard time counterfeiting cards with new security features. The unspoken downside is that a "broken" card will be swiped like a normal card, and you can probably break one of these cards by zapping it with a Taser for a second. Also, if you do online sales you are going to want to look at 3D authentication because all the druggies who used to try in-store fraud will now be looking at your website. And the copper pipes in your house.

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