Smart Credit Cards

Most small businesses have to accept credit card payments. Target’s card information theft has changed the landscape for credit cards. We have been using the same basic tech developed and used in the 1960s. Human signatures are a contractual obligation and not a security scheme. I have always felt signing is pointless and a waste of time and manpower. And why are there different rules on signing at different businesses? It’s time to change but what is this ‘chip in a card’ anyway? Gizmodo has a detailed explanation.

papercoinmoneyWhen we all used paper and coinage there was no security against theft. If someone could get their hands on your money then it was gone and there is no amount of signatures and protests that would get it back. We need to understand that signing for something is not a security measure but an indication you are passing along money. And that signature is antiquated, designed for the legal system. What we want to do is to add security to our money spending. That means encryption, process and control. Two factor authentication is designed to keep at least some of the pieces away from a thief. Without all the pieces they could not ‘get your money’.

EuropecreditcardWhen I went to Europe last year I was flummoxed to find I could not easily use my credit card. I was asked for a PIN but was spending with a credit card not a debit card. I don’t have a PIN so I had to call back to the states and get one from my credit card company. Everyone else just slid their card and typed a pin. I noticed a chip in the middle of their cards, something I lacked.

The US tends to change only for financial reasons. If there is no demonstrated financial benefit there will be no┬áchange. Target has finally provided us with that financial benefit. So get ready to adapt your credit card process, if you swipe cards you’ll need a new reader.


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