October 20, 2014
Heather Bearfield, National Technology Assurance Services Practice Group Leader, Featured in The Wall Street Journal Article, "Retailers Back Obama's Credit Card Protections."
By Ben DiPietro
News of U.S. President Barack Obama's executive order mandating use of pin-and-chip technology in credit cards used by federal workers and in debit cards used to allocate government benefits such as Social Security was applauded by retailers, who say it will spur adoption in the private sector. "Retailers are dedicated to protecting consumers and believe that chip-and-pin technology will better shield U.S. consumers from fraud, just as it has done for consumers elsewhere around the world," said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association trade association, in a statement.
The "chip" portion of the added security protocol issues a unique identifier number for every credit card or debit card transaction, keeping the actual credit card number out of the transaction. The personal identification number, or "pin" portion allows for authentication that the user is the person to whom the card is assigned. While banks, credit unions and card companies are proceeding with issuing chip-based cards, they are not adding pin functionality, although they do so in other countries, Ms. Kennedy said. Regulators and law enforcement have also expressed support for moving toward more advanced chip-and-pin card technology used in Europe, she said.
Heather Bearfield, national technology assurance services practice group leader for accounting firm Marcum LLP, said pressure from competitors and consumers as they become more educated about the new cards will prompt most merchants to adopt the new card technology more quickly because "consumers will feel more secure shopping at a retailer that offers another level of protection for them." Ms. Bearfield said each new technological advance is a huge expense for the organizations that have to implement them, and most will only put in the systems necessary to protect themselves against a majority of the threats out there. "Some organizations are extremely slow to adopt this and won't until they get hit by fraud," she said.