March 4, 2015
Creditcards.com conducted a poll recently revealing that the rich are receiving credit cards containing EMV chips before the less wealthy. EMV is the most recent advancement to combat fraud. Cards with EMV or chip and signature are very secure and some may also require a pin entry for transactions instead of just a signature.
The results showed that almost 50% of the families whose household income was over $100,000 already had cards with EMV chips compared to just over 10% of the families whose income was less than $35,000. The poor most likely not having credit cards already is not the main reason for the uneven distribution of the cards. The distribution varies, so everyone will not receive them at once. International travel warrants a great need for the card and most banks have issued EMV cards to customers who travel most already, or will very soon. The priority seems to be international travelers followed by new card acquirers. After that, customers may not receive one until their card expires or until there is a mass-distribution. It is predicted by industry experts that by the end of this year, over 50% of Americans will have cards containing EMV chips. Banks are attempting to issue the cards as conveniently as possible for everyone.
After many years of industry-wide ambiguity in supporting the technology in the US, Visa and Mastercard, in 2013, imposed a deadline for compliance with incentives for merchants to adopt it by later this year. Yet, it took a number of data breaches at major big box retailers for the merchant community to publicly come out in support of this new technology. Target Chairman and CEO, Gregg Steinhafel said in a recent interview to CNBC that he supports the EMV technology, especially in light of cyberbreach at the retailer, which put the personal and credit card information of as many as 110 million customers at risk.
Consumers in the US, on the other hand, are expected to quickly adapt to EMV. More than 80 countries already use cards with EMV chips. While there is some debate on whether chip-and-signature is as good as chip-and-pin as implemented in Europe and elsewhere, it’s clear that even the non-PIN option is far superior to the magstripe on current cards, whose information is easy to steal and duplicate. However, online purchases will still not benefit from the chip in the new cards - that’s where the recent tokenization schemes will come into play.
Here’s the link to video that explains how EMV works: