Success and Pain in an ‘EMV for a Week’ Challenge

Last week, I took part in Gemalto’s #ChipAwayAtFraud campaign, and came away with some valuable insights on EMV.

I was tasked with using my EMV “chip” card when making everyday purchases, like getting coffee and shopping. Gemalto, one of the world’s leaders in digital security, wanted a real-world take on the EMV card experience, which includes the security benefits EMV cards presents.

Here’s what I learned:

A significant portion of the retailers I frequented didn’t have the chip terminals in place. The ones that did afforded more security and a seamless transaction. At this point in EMVs rollout, the biggest issue, or frustration, I think, is its lack of deployment. For instance, you may have to redo a transaction when a chip card is inserted opposed to swipe and then to be told by the cashier, “We don’t accept chip cards, yet — please swipe.” The opposite happens too, but less frequently.

Otherwise, chip cards are a no brainer. The “learning curve” for EMV or chip is learned in the first transaction. Once done, you’ll be able to do it every time, and there are no delays or issues with the transaction.

Overall, we are collectively more secure because of EMV/Chip technology. Over time, there will be 100% adoption of this method, as magnetic-striped cards are phased out along with magnetic striped “swipe” point of sale terminals. For now, and really, forever, a consumer’s first line of defense is still to pay close attention to their card statements.

I always recommend signing up for your bank or card company’s mobile app and receiving alerts and notifications with each transaction. This way you’ll be able to dispute fraudulent charges in real-time, if needed. EMV or not.

Meanwhile, chip cards are here to stay. As more and more retailers get up to speed, we will see fewer and fewer news reports of huge credit card data breaches because of EMVs full-scale deployment.

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