Credit Breaches Fueling EMV Fire
The high-profile information breaches that recently occurred have the consuming public in an uproar over fraud and identity protection – and not without good reason. While the potential for mayhem and damages emanating from these breaches may be incalculable at this time, there appears to a growing consensus that new security technologies are necessary to repel fast rising criminal activity. A byproduct of this concern is an accelerating interest in EMV, and its potential to reduce fraud, even in the face of massive breaches of transaction data. While EMV by itself could not have prevented these breaches, the nature of transaction information transmitted within the EMV structure, renders much of the data that could be intercepted unusable for additional transactions – and therefore of little interest to fraudsters.
As a global provider of traditional and EMV mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions, AnywhereCommerce has been a part of the EMV community for many years—in many markets around the world. One common theme we've seen is that EMV has proven to reduce fraudulent use of credit card information. While the jury may still be out on the cost of implementation versus the hard savings in fraud-prevention in a market as large as the US, adoption mandates from card brands, consumer and merchant concerns over breaches in the headlines, and technology evolution, mean that the EMV tide is definitely rising.
The popularity of mobile technology is a large contributor to moving the needle on adopting new security and authentication technology like EMV. Mobile POS is no longer just for the mobile repair service or the small nomadic retailer, and mobility is no longer linked just to the smartphone. This dynamic category also includes a broad variety of powerful handheld tablet solutions designed to operate within the traditional retail environment, and good number of these offerings support EMV today.
Interest in tablets as a POS tool was clearly demonstrated at the National Retail Federation "Big Show" held this past January. From the conversations I had, merchants large and small are definitely looking for mobility and flexibility to engage customers, and tablets appear to be holding the interest of both retailer and provider. However, as these organizations look to introduce new POS technology, it is pretty much of a certainty that they will only do so if the new method is more secure than what they have today. This bodes well for EMV, which is already entering the market, and has been time-tested in both traditional and emerging markets around the world. The perfect storm of public concern, mobile technology evolution, and robust fraud prevention capabilities is definitely forcing merchants and providers to take a closer look at EMV.
From a practical standpoint, we are already noting a significant uptick in the urgency and frequency of EMV-based discussions and inquiries from our US customers. There seems to be a lot less window shopping and more genuine interest in moving forward quickly to deploy EMV as an element of increased security and fraud-prevention efforts. While this may not scientifically indicate a macro industry trend, there certainly appears to be a strong reaction from the payments industry to offer merchants – and their customers—a more secure path forward. And finally, whether the card brands and the marketplace determine whether EMV in the United States will be chip-and PIN or chip-and-signature, at the end of the day, the increased transactional security and fraud prevention that comes with EMV is certain to appeal to anyone engaged in business.
Mitch Cobrin Mitchell is a co-founder of AnywhereCommerce and serves as the CEO of the company. He has nearly 20 years of sales, marketing and high growth experiences with the last decade focusing on the electronic and secure payment processing industry. www