Credit card issuers Visa and MasterCard are making headlines lately by introducing a fix for the slow terminal checkout lines with the EMV enabled terminals. New software, designed to speed up the EMV enabled terminals and save consumers and merchant precious time at the checkout. It is much appreciated that the major card companies are seeking to improve this process, but it seems that these fixes that have been rolled out are just window dressing and not serious improvements in speed.
These latest steps by MasterCard and Visa to fix the slow terminal processing problem and the poorly planned out and worsely executed EMV transition could not be a worse fix. Right now, you cannot remove your card until the transaction is complete. This creates the perception that the transaction is slow and time consuming. Visa and MasterCards fix, changes the perception of the process, allowing the consumer to dip their card, and then remove it, does nothing to speed up the transaction.It changes the perception of slowness, without changing a thing. A customer still needs to stay put until the transaction is completed.
Even though these programs are questionable in the amount of time they will save in the transaction speed but there is a bigger issue at play here. A larger security issue with these new cards seems to be either ignored or the issuing companies are unwilling to address. European EMV cards require a PIN as a second layer of protection, instead of just a signature. For some reason the US issuers, Visa and MasterCard are unwilling to add the PIN security for the US issued EMV cards.
US card are being referred to as chip and signature cards. These cards are more secure than the old mag stripe card that they have replaced, but without the PIN, they can still be compromised and have valuable information stolen from them. For whatever reason Visa and MasterCard chose to not replace the antiquated signature verification with the newer and more secure PIN verification. Case and point, the signature verification has become so obsolete, that all card issuers have raised the maximum signature less transaction to $50 now. This encourages merchants to not require a signature on transactions less than $50.