Safer Credit and Debit Transactions? Yes, Please.

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014 by PowerCU |

teal credit card digits close-upWill your credit and debit cards really be safer?


These days, it would be hard to find someone who hasn’t heard about hackers, data breaches, and stolen credit card data. You may even have been a victim of it yourself. Target and Home Depot’s breaches made compromised credit card data a daily discussion on the news. A much larger amount of time was spent at ESCU discussing ways to keep our members account accessible while protecting them from retailers’ lack of data security protocol. Some added security measures are on the horizon, that may help, and we think credit and debit card transaction will be safer.

What’s coming our way in the plastic card enhancement department is called EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. These three largest credit and debit transaction processors are leading the way for a more secure authentication process called “tokenization”. Much like a one-time use password, tokenization would prevent hackers from obtaining the genuine card authentication data, making illegally obtained card information virtually useless. Combined with the new embedded chip technology, tokenization will help reduce card fraud dramatically.

This is great news for when you’re making a purchase in person at a local retailer, where fraud can be detected and averted, however, some risk for what are called “card not present” transactions will still exist. New fraud detection enhancements like EMV won’t replace regular vigilance of your account transactions by you, but overall, card issuers like ESCU are eager to convert to EMV for added security.

Migration to EMV in the United States has been much slower than the rest of the world, but with requirements for transitioning to chip technology now in place, both retailers and card issuers are working to make the system ready. Retailers must update their point of sale acceptance equipment to read the chip information, and card issuers like ESCU will begin issuing the new cards.

Your credit union has already taken the first steps toward issuing EMV capable plastics. Our card issuers for both debit and credit cards are helping us through the conversion process. Our plastics are being modified to accept the imbedded chip, and new systems created for generating the token for authentication. A timeline for issuing the cards isn’t available yet, but ESCU will make sure that you are aware of any changes to your card before we begin the re-issue process.

Paying with a credit or debit card continues to be a safe way to pay, even without EMV. Our fraud monitoring systems are always at work, and our fraud center may contact you when they detect potentially suspicious transactions or account activity that is out of your normal routine. You can help keep your card data safe by monitoring your accounts for activity daily and not sharing your PIN with anyone.


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