Before you light your wallet on fire, let’s clarify something: the rollout of chip-enabled cards is going to help prevent fraud in the long run. But for merchants that are yet to get their shit together, the move away from magstripe is actually causing problems.
The US started transitioning to chip-enabled cards (called EMV) last year, with October 1st 2015 being a soft cut-off date for merchants to start accepting chip cards, or accept the costs of fraud from regular magstripe cards.
The transition is working well—for merchants who have managed to get on board. According to Visa, the top five big merchants that have transitioned to EMV systems have seen their fraud levels decrease by 18.3 percent, a number that’s only going to get better as more cards get chips.
Unfortunately, some merchants haven’t started accepting EMV yet. Per Visa, their fraud levels have actually gone up, by a not-insignificant 11.4 percent. Remember, this is a $7 billion problem we’re talking about here.
Why is fraud going up as cards are getting more secure? Simple: magstripe fraud is far, far easier, so thieves are hitting the remaining swipe-only stores while they can.
This isn’t a reason to slow down the adoption of EMV tech—it’s actually a good reminder to speed it up. Sure, re-issuing a billion credit cards and replacing millions of credit card terminals will take time, but the cost of fraud now lies with card issuers or stores, rather than Visa. Hopefully, having to foot the bill for increased fraud will encourage them to get their collective asses in gear.