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Is this the end of the road for ‘swipe cards’ in Europe?


October.23.2014 0 Comments

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Swiping and signing could soon be a thing of the past, as three credit card companies are reportedly planning to only offer chip-based authentication in Europe.

EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa are rumoured to be phasing out ‘swipe card’ payments in favour of EMV, an authentication standard for credit and debit card transactions that uses integrated chip technology. A unique code is generated each time the card is used, making it almost unfeasible to duplicate payment details.

The move has been brought about for two reasons. Firstly, card payment security has become a critical concern following a number of high profile fraud cases across the world. Most of these have occurred in the USA, where chip and PIN technology is less widely adopted than in Europe.

Secondly, 99.9% of European card terminals are now chip-enabled, facilitating a seamless fade out of swipe cards in favour of chip-based security.

Europe’s transition away from swiping and signing is also expected to accelerate the adoption of EMV technology in the USA, with 70% of the country’s debit and credit cards likely to be equipped with chips by the end of next year.

“All of the data breaches that have happened have woken people up, and progress has been accelerating this year,” analyst Michael Misasi remarked in a recent interview with Wired.

Best Buy, Home Depot and Wal-Mart are among the major retailers who have already rolled-out EMV-compliant Point of Sale terminals stateside – Home Depot introducing the technology in wake of its own security failure in April, when 56 million sets of customer credit card data were lifted.