Thursday, 27 July 2017

Crooks and the people who thwart them are always a step away from each other, especially when it comes to technology.

If you announce a computer network is completely secure, hackers will try to crack the system immediately. The same goes for credit cards.

We're a long way from the days of running the card through a machine to get a carbon copy, leaving the cardholder's information available to anyone with access to the paperwork. But as security features get more advanced, so do the criminals who want to steal our account information.

New credit card technology is here

The new standard is called EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa), and it's a promising way to keep cards more secure. The card is also referred to as a PIN, smart card, or chip card. Instead of what's called static data—information held on the magnetic strip on the back of the old cards that never changes and can be replicated over and over again—there is a small chip in the new card that enables the transaction data to vary slightly each time it is used, making it nearly impossible for fraudsters to replicate.

Anne Phan, BBVA Compass Director of Issuing, is in charge of the bank's consumer and small business payments activities, including credit, debit, prepaid, and personal line of credit payment solutions. “It is important to note that this technology won't stop compromises," Phan says, adding that EMV was designed to make it difficult to replicate a card used in a store, which accounts for about two-thirds of counterfeit fraud.

Upgrading security at the payment point

New merchant credit card terminals are also being updated, which means that consumers are more likely to “dip" their card, rather than swipe it. Those merchants who didn't upgrade their equipment by Oct. 1, 2015, will assume liability for counterfeit transactions. “This deterrent has proven successful in other markets and has reduced the street value of compromised cards utilizing the EMV standard," Phan says.

Experts predict that it will take years before everyone's cards are swapped out and until then, new cards can be read in older terminals, and vice versa. About 73 percent of credit cards in play will be EMV by the end of 2016. By the end of 2017, about 96 percent of cards are expected to be EMV. While the adoption rate in the industry for debit cards is slower, BBVA Compass has reissued 100 percent of the debit cards as EMV cards, Phan noted.

What does the new credit card mean for you? Phan says consumers will notice little to no changes from a transactional standpoint. “The 'dip' versus 'swipe' experience at the point of sale will initially feel different. However, the card is still the same. Only now, there is an added layer of security to protect your data from counterfeit should your card number be compromised," Phan says.

“Consumers should be confident that protection of their data is the top priority." 

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