News & Views - Savantor

Time to phase out mag stripe?

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Despite a recent report indicating that the growth in worldwide adoption of the EMV interoperability standard between chip cards and chip capable POS terminals and ATMs has slowed down, European banks are considering banning the use of magnetic stripe credit and debit cards according to the chairman of the European Payments Council. The belief is that European financial companies would have largely completed the transition to the EMV by 2011 so the EPC would be able to advise its members to stop accepting magnetic stripe cards, which are less secure than those that use EMV.

ATM skimming has long been a rich source of card data for fraudsters and recently police in Devon and Cornwall discovered three card skimming devices at cash machines in the south of England which they believe were so sophisticated that they would be hard for experts to spot. The gang who planted the skimmers also tampered with a speaker grill above the PIN pad, inserting a camera to record user keying. We hear about such cases time and again with the resultant increase in UK card details being used fraudulently abroad. So is it time to accept that the mag stripe is too insecure to survive any longer and take a stand to remove it? Is Europe ready to take a unilateral stance at the risk of upsetting the rest of the World?

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