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Let’s invest in credit card technology

Published: Saturday, March 15, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

Credit card fraud alerts and potential financial mayhem caused by data breaches have found their way into the headlines recently in Illinois. 

Retailers and other businesses are making their best efforts to secure databases and the consumer information they process in the face of organized and highly talented crime syndicates.

But while we are attempting to protect our customers, we are also calling on banks to join the crusade: Financial institutions must commit to investing in 21st-century credit card technology. 

The time has come for banks to abandon their outdated credit cards and transition to the significantly more secure chip and PIN card used in the rest of the modern world.

The United Kingdom enjoyed a 69 percent reduction of fraud at the point of sale after it transitioned to the chip and PIN card. Even Iran and North Korea have abandoned magnetic stripe credit cards and implemented a chip-and-PIN credit card system. 

American banks have created, monitored, and enforced the current security standards, payment system, and outdated credit cards that are under attack from hackers all over the world.

Data security experts have repeatedly noted that criminals worldwide are focusing on the U.S. because of its outdated credit cards and processing system. 

It is time for consumers and businesses to demand that the banks have the same concern for their U.S. customers that they have had for their customers in the rest of the world and implement the more secure chip-and-PIN system.

In a state where the financial challenges are many, Illinois cannot afford to wait for chip-and-PIN technology any longer. However, we must be also wary of reactionary legislation but instead carefully form a national solution that is needed to protect customers who shop from coast to coast. 

Note to readers: Rob Karr is president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

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