Chip-enabled credit cards have been adopted as the norm in Canada, Australia, and Brazil, with the US trying to push this technology to the masses. It’s estimated that roughly 70% of US credit card holders now have EMV chip cards, but many of these card holders are having a hard time finding a retailer that will let them use it.

Credit Card EMV

As of October of 2015, retailers are financially responsible for fraudulent charges made with stolen credit cards. Traditionally, this was something that fell to financial institutions to sort out, but as chip technology is designed to make credit card fraud a much more difficult task, dealing with the consequences has fallen to retailers that fail to make using this more secure alternative possible.

Chip cards prevent skimming, a common fraud tactic that copies the information on your card’s magnetic strip to be used to make duplicates. Chip cards produce a unique one-time use code for each transaction, making it much harder for your card to be duplicated. If a card has a chip, but the retailer does not offer the use of a terminal that can read your chip, you’re forced to swipe and sign, losing out on the security benefits your new card is meant to offer.

Many large retailers like Walmart and Target have made the transition to chip-enabled terminals, but a number of smaller retailers are still holding out. In many cases, it’s not an unwillingness to step up and make the change, it’s a lack of support from vendors and financial institutions. Some retailers have purchased their new terminals, but have been force to wait months for them to be properly set up and verified for customer use.

What could be written off as an annoyance most days is a real cause for concern this time of year. With the holidays approaching, more and more consumers are reaching for their credit cards, placing themselves at risk of potential theft and fraud. It might not be possible to avoid having to swipe rather than insert, but you can protect yourself by keeping a close eye on your account balance, and reporting any suspicious activity immediately.

If you will be using your credit card to shop online, make sure you stick to reputable online retailers that provide effective security to guard your personal information against hackers, and never use a public or unsecured Wi-Fi connection to make online purchases. Inputting your credit card information while connected to unsecured Wi-Fi places you at serious risk of financial or identity theft.

Want to learn more about the steps you can take to keep your personal and business data safe? Contact us at {email} or {phone}. We’re the IT professionals businesses in {city} trust.