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January 23, 2014

NRF Supports Speedy Transition to Chip, PIN Cards for Increased Security

The National Retail Federation (NRF) pledged its support for a speedy transition of magnetic-stripe credit/debit cards to PIN and chip cards for securing consumer data from hackers and cyber thieves. In a letter to the congressional leaders, the NRF reiterated its commitment on behalf of the retailing industry in protecting the consumer data. The letter was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner.

In his letter to the congressional members, Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer at NRF, wrote, “The National Retail Federation and our 12,000 members are committed to combating this criminal threat to our industry and our customers, and we strongly recommend the adoption of meaningful steps to fight cyber theft and credit card fraud.”

With the growing number of cyber attacks, hacking and data thefts, NRF’s letter stressed on the need for replacing the current cards with PIN and Chip cards that are more secure. The PIN and Chip cards have the data stored in a computer micro-chip embedded on the card and need a PIN to make a transaction rather than a signature. These cards are considered more secure than the magnetic stripe cards that are more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The PIN and Chip cards are deployed on a large scale in around 80 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa. However, the banks have continued to issue the conventional magnetic stripe cards in the U.S. despite rolling-out the PIN and Chip technology for its international customers. This practice is being seen as a major security threat to the sensitive financial information of consumers in the U.S.

Reiterating the retail industry’s commitment to data security, Shay continued, “The retail industry is eager to work with banks and card companies to fight cyber attacks and reduce fraud. These efforts include installation of sophisticated new PIN-enabled point-of-sale-systems and readiness to adopt cards with more secure microchip technology, but the fact remains that retailers cannot do this alone.”

The National Retail Federation is the largest global association of retailers representing the interests of the retailing industry in the U.S. and 45 other countries. The association represents discount and department stores, Main Street merchants, home goods and specialty stores, wholesalers, grocers, restaurant chains and Internet retailers.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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