Credit cards and debit cards made in the United States rely on outdated technology that hackers and data thieves have learned to master.
The recent case involving mega-retailer Target, which exposed as many as 40 million customers to credit card and debit card theft from Nov. 27 through Dec. 15, is a prime example of 20th-century card technology breached by 21st-century hackers.
In most countries outside the United States, cards are equipped with digital chips that generate a unique code for each transaction, codes that criminals have difficulty duplicating. The codes are much more foolproof than the easy-to-copy magnetic strip on the backs of U.S.-made cards. And in many countries, a cardholders also uses a personal identification number with each transaction, rather than a signature, which is easy to forge.
It’s high time the banks, retailers and card companies cooperate on a card upgrade, rather than continuing to squabble over who should pay for the overhaul. After all, the consumers will be the ones stuck with the tab in the end. But at least their card won’t be compromised in the process.