In the United States, our credit and debit cards still rely on outdated magnetic stripe technology. The magnetic stripe is the black or brown band on the back of your credit or debit card. The stripe stores data, such as your account number, via tiny, iron-based magnetic particles. When you swipe your card through a card reader, the device accesses the data stored on the magnetic stripe. A quick YouTube search yields numerous vendors offering to sell skimming devices, which can be used to steal data from credit cards as they are swiped in an ATM.
EMV, or chip and PIN cards, on the other hand, are far more secure. These so-called “smart cards” contain embedded microchips and are authenticated using personal identification numbers, or PINs. When a customer uses a smart card to make a purchase, the card is placed into a terminal or a modified card reader, which accesses the card’s microchip and verifies the card’s authenticity. The customer then enters a four digit PIN, which is verified against the PIN stored on the card.
EMV technology supports four cardholder verification methods: offline PIN, online PIN, signature, or no cardholder verification. This enhanced cardholder verification process is an additional security feature, ensuring that the person initiating a transaction is in fact the legal cardholder.
Meanwhile, the only way to verify a regular magstripe credit card is for a cashier to check a customer’s identification, but this occurs irregularly at best and may even promote a false sense of security. In card not present transactions, such as online purchases, the CVV or credit verification value is the primary verification method, but this number is visibly printed on the card itself, and is as easily stolen as an account number or PIN.
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.
- Old Credit Card Technology Facilitates Skimming Fraud
Credit and debit cards in the U.S. use old magnetic stripe technology. The magnetic stripe is the black or brown band on the back of your credit or debit card. Tiny, iron-based magnetic particles in this band store data such as your account number. When the card is swiped through a “reader,” the data stored
- Security Snapshot: How Is EMV Safer?
To understand why EMV credit cards—or “chip and PIN” cards—are safer, first we must understand standard magnetic stripe cards. The familiar magnetic stripe, which can be seen on all credit cards carried in the United States, has been around for more than four decades. The security technology behind the magnetic stripe has been compromised, since the
- How EMV Impacts International Travel
In the United States, credit and debit cards rely on magnetic stripe technology. The magnetic stripe is the black, brown, gold, or silver band on the back of your credit or debit card. Tiny, iron-based magnetic particles in this band store your account number. When the card is swiped through a “reader,” the data stored
- Banks Should Promote EMV
The old magnetic stripe technology currently used in credit and debit cards in the United States is inexpensive and readily available, making our cards highly vulnerable to fraud. It’s understandable then that credit and debit card fraud is Americans’ primary fear, with 68% of those surveyed describing themselves as extremely or very concerned about the
- What Security Benefits Does Contactless Technology Offer?
Contactless technology offers many benefits, including faster and easier transactions, versatility to be incorporated into various personal devices including mobile phones, and improved data security over the magnetic stripe technology. According to the Smart Card Alliance, “Contactless smart card technology includes strong security features optimized for applications involving payment and identities. Every day tens of millions
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