EMV Cards Are Headed to over a Million More Wallets in the USA

creditcardsBy October 2015, all domestic debit and credit cards will feature EMV technology. This technology, which consists of a chip and PIN number, replaces our current signature cards. These cards are already popular in Europe, and have a low hacker percentage. This is great, since there has been a rash of hackings in the USA.

While this change has been coming for years, it was hurried thanks to the massive Target and Neiman Marcus data breaches in December 2013. It is estimated that over 10 million customers in the United States and Canada were affected by the hacking. That was not an isolated incident; in fact, earlier in June 2014 restaurant chain PF Chang’s announced that their payment terminals had been breached, and back in the spring craft chain Michael’s had a massive hacking. These hackings are alarming; however, the implementation of EMV cards will help curb it. This is welcome news to consumers and merchants; however, merchants need to make sure that their merchant account provider is prepared for the changes, as some card companies are going ahead and making the switch before the October 2015 deadline.

Merchants, especially high-risk merchants, need to make sure that their software, security, and terminals are up to date and ready to go. While important for all merchants, high-risk merchants typically see a higher influx of card payments, and their sales could drop significantly if they are not ready. If your merchant account provider is not prepared, you need to look elsewhere. You need a merchant account provider who specializes in high-risk accounts, and is prepared for the new EMV cards. You need to services of highrisk-merchantaccount.com. Highrisk-merchantaccount.com, or HRG, is ready for the EMV card rollout. We are making sure that our merchants are prepared, not only by prepping their software and terminals, but also by education. We are also active in high merchant processing events and high-risk merchant events. We are prepared for the change, and we want you to be, as well.

EMV cards are coming soon, and they will help curb the high rates of data hackings. However, not all merchant providers are prepared, and sadly, some businesses will not be prepared to take the new cards. This will cost them business, and perhaps their reputation. You need a merchant account processor who is prepared. You need the services of HRG.

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Data Thieves are Branching Out from Cardholder Data

cyber-securityCardholder data has and still is the largest target for data thieves. However, hackers are beginning to build diversified portfolios. More and more of data breaches are involving data other than cardholder data.

The U.S. is the prime location for hackers because it still uses 43-year-old technology in payment cards with magnetic strips. According to ISO – Industry News, 42% of all malwares reside in the U.S. The U.S. is making the transition to EMV chip-based cards soon, with a deadline of October 2015. After that date, there will be a fraud liability shift affecting those who are unprepared for EMV payments.

Data thieves are looking to diversify. Hackers are now creating fake persona on networks in order to become “friends” with people who are linked to a targeted person or company. They then use this to hack the targeted person or company with the intention of obtaining sensitive information.

The biggest key for data thieves continues to be passwords. People are creatures of habit. With so many things requiring passwords in the world we live in, it is hard to keep up with them all. Because of this, people tend to use the same or similar passwords. The password you use for social media may be the same as the one you use in the work place and/or for banking and financial sites.

Unfortunately, hackers are more than aware of this fact. According to David Heun’s article for ISO & Agent, almost half of the data thefts that occurred in 2013 involved non-payment-cards data. The combination of using weak passwords and lack of discipline in handling email messages continues to be a very large gap in data security.

Since a hosting country (the origination point for the malware attack) is not necessarily where the criminal actually resides, someone overseas can hack into an individual or a company in the U.S. and further their attacks from their system. A decade ago, security experts were adamant that passwords should never be written down for fear of someone using them to access your information. However, at this point in time, it would be safer to do so. For example, a password on a piece of paper cannot be read from someone that lives in Europe or Russia.

As the deadline for EMV implementation continues to approach, data thieves will begin looking elsewhere. Most likely, they will continue to hack card data as long as there is something left to be had. But, as is already being seen, they will begin to diversify.

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DNT Survey Finds that Few Will Be Ready for EMV

The recent rise in cyber hacking has led to the rush to switch to chip and PIN technology. While it is set to hit the market in 2015, many vendors are going ahead and making the switch via their store-specific credit cards. While this is great, a recent Digital Transaction News, or DNT survey found that many “average” merchants were actually prepared for the change.

About two-thirds of respondents say no more than 40% of merchants will be ready to perform chip card transactions using the Europay-MasterCard-Visa standard. The survey asked how many merchants will be ready by October 2015 to perform EMV transactions. Thirty-four percent said no more than 20% will be ready, while 34% said 21% to 40% will be ready, outnumbering the optimists. Twenty percent said 41% to 60% of merchants will be ready and 11% said 61% to 80%.  This number is alarming, as this change has been known for some time. Gas stations were not taken into account, however, as their terminals do not have to be updated until 2017. This could cause a headache for unknowing customers, who instead of paying at the pump would have to waste time going into the store to use their card, or pay cash.

While it is true that these changes have been known about for some time, these changes are also costly to merchants, and their merchant account processors. While the new EMV chip and PIN technology can help save the plastic card industry, it can also cost more than it is worth to set up, in the minds of some. It is not a “hacker proof” technology as some have touted, and if a merchant account processor is not up-to-date on their technology, it can cause a major backup for their merchants and their customers. While it is probable that terminals will have some leeway when it comes to consumers using magnetic strip cards, Visa and Mastercard are supposedly set to update their customer’s cards with the EMV chip and PIN technology before the October 2015 deadline.

The switch to EMV chip and PIN technology is a welcome one, however there are bound to be kinks in the road. Not all merchants will be ready to offer the service, and not all merchant account processors will be able to update all of their terminals and technologies before the deadline. However, if consumers keep their persistence up, this change will hopefully happen smoothly, with few problems.