I have to admit, I’m perplexed about something….. why aren’t Chip and PIN cards catching on here in the USA? A few things have given me hope in the last year or so.

  • Chase indicated they were finally going to move to Chip & PIN
  • There were lots of fun-filled data breaches at major retailers (Target, Home Depot)
  • Barclays came up with a half measure, Chip & Signature default but Chip & PIN “capable” with the Barclay Card Arrival Plus
  • In October 2015, the liability for fraudulent purchases shifts from the banks/card companies to the merchants IF they do not have the capability in place to accept chip cards

Then, the reality of a Wall Street Journal article published today sat in  – “Why New Cards May Fall Short on Fraud Control” (subscription required). This snippet from the article stood out most. “J.P. Morgan Chase, the nation’s biggest card issuer, had initially planned to issue chip-and-PIN credit cards in 2014, but the bank put those plans on hold after testing them with consumers, according to a person familiar with the bank’s strategy. The bank has issued millions of chip-and-signature cards.”

chip and pin card, chip and pin, chip & pin, em chip card

Chip and PIN is the standard in most of the world at this point, and not surprisingly, most of the world’s credit card fraud has shifted to the USA as we sit around and wait. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised in a country where so comparatively few people possess passports as a percentage of the population and therefore aren’t exposed to Chip & PIN card usage in other countries, but I have to admit…..I’m disappointed. (Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

It isn’t lost on me that a massive investment in charging infrastructure is required to make the shift to Chip & PIN, but I really thought that by now, most of the banks and a solid cadre of consumers would be on board. I suppose I have no better example of the shift in perceptions required to move Chip & PIN forward than this. There’s a Wal-Mart I’ve shopped at in the past that literally will not accept a swipe from a card that has an EMV chip embedded. Over the holiday, I visited a small Wal-Mart in a place that shall remain nameless, and just plopped my chip card into the chip reader out of habit. The cashier looked at me like I had eight heads. After staring at it for a few moments with nothing happening, I just removed the card and swiped it. The transaction processed in seconds. We have a long way to go between now and October.

-MJ, January 5, 2014