Decades ago, credit cards were a luxury item that were only possessed by the top tier of society. Nowadays, cards are more popular than cash. And, in addition to credit cards, consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with debit cards.
These cards can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs, but often, they’re used to make direct payments. Cards are less bulky than wads of cash, so they’re easier to carry around. They’re also safer, because consumers worry about walking around with bundles of notes. They feel more secure with a little piece of plastic.
Credit cards also offer the advantage of letting consumers spend when they don’t have cash on hand. They can make that purchase and pay for it at the end of the month, so they never really feel ‘broke.’ They can enjoy the good things in life.
Safety from card skimming
As cards have become more prolific, criminal elements have discovered new ways to steal. With a regular card, a thief can pretend to be you and run up a bill on your card. They get free products and services and you get stuck with bad credit. In addition to physically stealing cards, criminals discovered skimming.
To skim a card, an artificial card reader called a skimmer is placed on top of the genuine reader on an ATM or electronic keypad. When the card is swiped, the skimmer collects the card’s details. These details are then copied onto a dummy card, which is then used to make purchases. The bill goes to the owner of the card even though they didn’t buy anything.
EMV cards are a new kind of card that is more difficult for skimmers to access. Instead of the usual magnetic strip, EMV cards have information that is encrypted every time you swipe. So if a skimmer tries to use a dummy of your card, it won’t work, because that specific data verification can only be used once. The dummy encryption will no longer be valid.
EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. These are the card companies that introduced this security feature. It’s now used on cards all over the world, though the uptake in the US has been slower. EMVs use a chip and PIN security system which is harder to crack than magnetic strip technology. The cards use static, dynamic, and combined data authentication.
There Is Vulnerability with EMV Chip Cards
Unfortunately, as secure as EMV chip cards are with respect to skimming, they also have some limitations when it comes to their security. One arises when people are using a card for a purchase but they are not present. Given all that’s occurred in 2020 and into 2021, more and more people are making purchases from home or some other remote location than ever before. That’s a potential problem for EMV chip cards.
These cards enable secure card processing for swiped transactions, but they can’t prevent theft and fraud for card-not-present transactions. These are transactions where you use card details rather than a physical card. Online purchases are card-not-present transactions, for example, and these transactions are drawing a commensurate amount of interest from scammers and criminal elements, as these people understand where to look for opportunities.
Whether it’s EMV chip cards, an EMV card reader or overall chip technology, you should take every possible step to protect yourself and your customers from theft. Unfortunately, the criminal element is relentless in nature, which means that you can never relax nor let your guard down in this regard.
The last thing you and/or your business needs is some type of data breach, hack or some other technological incident that exposes people’s credit cards to potential theft. As mentioned above, EMV chip cards will not be of help in that situation, so you need to work with a partner who understands what it takes to provide secure transactional environments that give both you and your purchasers the peace of mind you all deserve.
If your website allows customers to buy using card-not-present methods, you need a secure merchant processor to keep your customers’ cards and data safe, as it’s simply impossible to be too cautious. Your merchant processor should have military-grade encryption and PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance. Ask for testimonials from their previous clients, just to be sure.
For more information about EMV cards, or to sign up for a merchant account today, just call 1-888-924-2743 or visit Charge.com. We can help you get the right system in place so that you can conduct business safely, efficiently and securely.