EMV, the new standard for credit card safety, has been the norm in Europe for a while, and it became the official required standard in U.S. retailing on October 1st. We’re talking about a tiny chip that will replace the magnetic strip on credit cards. It’s harder to copy, it randomizes the code it uses so that it’s impossible to capture credit card numbers or other personal information from its use, and it may be on some of the cards in your wallet right now.
Before October 1st, credit card companies were responsible for credit card fraud. On October 1st, that responsibility shifted to retailers — unless they’re EMV compliant.
But very few retailers are no EMV compliant, and most of the cards American consumers carry still have the strip, not the chip. The first generation of new hardware will work with a swipe or a dip, so retail didn’t grind to a halt on October 1st.
There is no law requiring compliance, and there will be no fines for retailers who do not comply. Some retailers feel that the shift, which involves costly changes in POS systems as well as new hardware, should be paid for by the card-issuing companies. But the responsibility for fraud goes with whoever didn’t make the change: if the consumer doesn’t have a chip, it’s the card issuer’s problem, and if the retailer doesn’t have EMV in place, it’s the retailer’s problem.
The new chip cards combined with a PIN are more secure than the old-style magnetic stripe with a signature. This is particularly true since — as consumers can tell you — signatures are generally not checked.
Walmart has been working toward EMV since 2006, and became fully compliant last year. Walmart cards with the chip started being issued in 2014.
Many observers point to the volume of transactions Walmart has to explain the forward-thinking approach, but Walmart is always innovative, up on new technology, and thinking about customers. Leading the pack with EMV fits right into the Walmart Way.