For years, U.S. retailers have urged card issuers and card networks to provide cardholders with the same enhanced fraud prevention technology used throughout the rest of the world. Merchants can’t wait any longer for these changes, and so last month, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) launched its Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Initiative. As part of the initiative, RILA called for collaboration among retailers, banks and card networks to advance improved payments security. The RILA plan in this respect focused on four major steps we should take to improve the security of debit and credit cards. First, quickly establish a plan to retire the antiquated magnetic stripe technology in place today. Second, require that every credit and debit card be issued with a corresponding PIN number. Banks require that cardholders enter a PIN number to withdraw money from an ATM; merchants should have the same opportunity to protect against fraud. Third, establish a road map to migrate to chip-based smart card technology with PIN security, also known as Chip and PIN. Finally, recognizing that card security must outpace criminal advancements, the members of the payments ecosystem must collaborate to identify new technologies and long-term, comprehensive solutions to the threats.
In order to accomplish these goals, everyone — merchants, card issuers and the credit card companies — must work together. I have little doubt that all parties share the same goals of protecting consumers and maintaining confidence in the payments system. That is why RILA has begun reaching out not only to representatives across the merchant community, but also to those that represent financial institutions of all sizes in an effort to work together to identify near- and long-term solutions.
If we are going to achieve our shared goals, we must not play the all too familiar Washington blame game. Instead, we must work together as leaders of our respective industries to identify and overcome these challenges in order to give customers the peace of mind they deserve.
Sandy Kennedy is the president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).