News & Views - Savantor

But where are the flying cars?

Thursday, 09 October 2014
In 2000, IBM ran its iconic ad campaign for Lotus software that touched home for many people – promises of a technologically advanced future offering solutions to today's problems that don't transpire because the world moves on and the envisioned 'future solutions' become redundant. 10 years ago, the UK started the roll-out of EMV chip and PIN, resulting in a significant downturn in POS card fraud. The same results were seen across Europe and subsequently around the world as EMV chip and PIN was adopted in more and more markets. Despite this success, the US remains something of a quandary with its frustrating inertia. However, recent high-profile events at Target and Home Depot among others seem to have garnered a reaction. This month, Barack Obama has decreed that all US Government-issued payment cards used for the purpose of distributing benefits must be chip and PIN cards from January 1st and that all terminals acquired by the Treasury must be suitably upgraded. The call for chip and PIN in the public sector is a shift from some initial recommendations for US EMV that openly encouraged signature as a CVM – to ease the US into EMV adoption – with PIN being just an optional extra. There is no indication that the issuing and acquiring banks supporting day-to-day payments in the private sector will follow suit – embedded as they are in a culture where a signature (often unchecked) remains an acceptable proof of identity – but this may come. The US financial industry has looked long and hard for a solution and has considered a range of options over time. They will all incur deployment costs for the banks in putting the infrastructure in place and updating their own back-end processing platforms. They will all cause some level of culture pain for their customers as well but, in this case, EMV is a well-trodden path and an enduring solution to a problem that has blighted card payments everywhere since day one. Sometimes a solution does remain viable for long enough to solve the problem long-term. Flying cars were never the solution to increasingly congested roads, but in EMV chip and PIN there is a robust weapon against POS card fraud in the US which we know works.
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