BuySecure Initiative Approved By Obama: What Is This New Card Technology?

The BuySecure initiative is moving forward, having been signed in by President Barack Obama on Friday. The new movement toward payment security isn’t hacker proof, but it’s another step toward ensuring that our cards aren’t used against us.

The technology is expected to begin crossing the nation next year, beginning with major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot. This is a relief to some, after recent breaches of payment systems belonging to several major retailers in the past few years. Visa and other credit card companies are set to roll out the updated technology in larger numbers.

What is the BuySecure initiative, though?

This new technology eliminates the need for the magnetic stripe on cards today by replacing it with a microchip. Called EMV, an acronym which is literally a combination of Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, this new standard should make it more difficult for identity thieves to take over your bank account. The EMV standard will require the combination of the chip and PIN number to complete transactions. The chip creates a unique code for each transaction, so you can’t simply grab a photo of someone’s credit card number, memorize their PIN entry, and start using their money without their permission. The chip is also much harder to replicate by counterfeiters, a major problem in the U.S..

The EMV standard was initially adopted almost a decade ago, but never really gained traction until several retailers experienced data breaches. This spurred a level of urgency to increase credit card security, and President Obama made it official that the adoption of the BuySecure initiative would be sped up in 2015. It will replace all credit and debit cards with those equipped with EMV chips.

Again, this new technology is not hacker proof, but it won’t be so easy to gain access to others’ bank accounts.

The biggest problem with the new card system would likely be the expense necessitated in updating registers and ATMs with those requiring the chip. It could raise retailers’ bottom line and create employment issues as workers’ hours are cut to “make up for” the loss due to the upgrade. Small business owners are most likely to feel the sting, being unable to upgrade so easily, though there are supposedly programs in place to help business owners deal with the cost.

The EMV standard could cost jobs and drop Americans further into poverty next year, all because it’s being made a legal necessity.

The Consumer Bankers Association also has problems with the new system, claiming it’s not enough. Online transactions are still susceptible to credit card fraud, since there is no chip involved and it would require an additional device to integrate.

Is the new BuySecure initiative worth the cost it will take to bring everything into the EMV standard signed in by President Obama, or will it hurt the economy even more?

[Image via Gemalto]

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