By Ken Paterson, Director of Mercator’s Credit AdvisoryService
As I have commented in other documents, there is no gloryin being right about the growing acceptance problems of US magstripe cards in chip and PIN environments; I’d rather the cardsjust work.As noted in a new article this week, recognition of thisproblem seems to be building: http://www.bai.org/bankingstrategies/product-management/credit-products/waiting-on-the-chip?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BankingStrategies+%28BAI+Banking+Strategies%29.
As I have also noted, this is an interesting situationwhere the networks, acquirers, and terminal manufacturers haveprobably actually done a good job enforcing their rules andensuring (technical) interoperability of mag stripecards.
The problem is, increasingly, a new generation of clerkswho have little familiarity with mag stripe cards and nounderstanding of how to use them.My personal experience indicatesthat just because a terminal has a stripe reader built in (I couldsee it!), a chip-savvy clerk will not necessarily know what to dowith it.Practical (as opposed to technical) interoperability isincreasingly suffering.
Regardless of the ultimate US direction on EMV, thisproblem will only get worse in the mid-term as memory of magstripes continues to fade.In the meantime, opportunistic US issuersmay find some very motivated prospects for EMV cards.The UnitedNations Federal Credit Union, which obviously has a lot oftravelling members, is so far the only US issuer to announce itwill issue EMV cards, and frequent travelers are already inquiringif they can join.
And bring back those foreign currency windows inbranches!