Why Are Retailers Taking So Long to Upgrade Credit Card Readers?

by Alex Johnson 0

Gift cards

The October liability shift for EMV compliance is making the merchant community nervous, to say the least. This has led retail organizations to request extensions on the coming deadline:

“In April, a retail organization called The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) — which represents thousands of retail food stores and pharmacies — asked for a delay of the shift into next year. Stores just aren’t ready, the group claims, according to the Wall Street Journal. There’s a backlog and delay of card-reading terminal orders; and no one wants confusion over new payment methods to mess up the holiday season. Wait till 2016, the organization has requested.”

The financial industry, however, is not going for it. From a recent op-ed by the Financial Services Roundtable:

“American consumers deserve to be protected with strong security measures and technologies, ensuring they remain confident in the payments system…Further delay only gives cyber criminals more opportunity to victimize both American consumers and companies.”

While the card associations are right to ask “if not October, then when?”, they do owe merchants answers on a few of the fraud issues still not addressed by EMV:

“First: America’s banking system is not migrating to the safer “chip and PIN” system that Europe favors, which requires consumers to enter a numeric code at checkout. Here, we will implement chip and signature. However, signatures are essentially meaningless and provide no fraud protection.”

“Second: The bigger issue is card-not-present fraud – mostly online fraud. Criminals will still be able to take a stolen account number and use it to buy things online as they do today.”

Overview by Alex Johnson, Sr. Analyst, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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