October 1 is Deadline for More Secure Credit Cards and Terminals
One of the most dramatic changes in retailing in the United States is set to take place in less than two weeks and, while it will affect the vast majority of shoppers, it has little to do with what we purchase. EMV is coming and it will eliminate the final step in most transactions, a ritual most shoppers grew up with: the swipe-and-sign of a credit card transaction.
EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa, is the global standard for chip cards used in credit and debit cards that was introduced in 2005 and has since been widely adopted, with the exception of the United States.
Starting October 1, most large and many smaller retailers will have converted to a system in which you insert your credit card into a slot where the terminal will read a microchip instead of scanning a magnetic stripe. In most cases, a signature will still be required but, for some cards, you’ll enter a PIN if the card issuer has gone that route.
The change is intended to reduce credit card fraud. The United States is the last major market in the world that uses swipe-and-sign and the older technology is a major factor as to why the country is home to almost half of the world’s credit card fraud, even though only one quarter of all credit card transactions are initiated in it.
The credit card industry has been preparing for the shift since 2011 and stores and businesses that are not EMV-compliant by the October 1 deadline will have to bear the costs for all card-present counterfeit fraud losses emanating from their establishments. Only automated teller machines and pay-at-the-pump fuel sales are exempt, although their conversion to EMV will be phased in over the next two years.
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