The news keeps repeating a story about how the US will soon be getting Chip and Pin machines.

I will live for the moment when I can say I had a row with one.


I’m still not exactly clear on what they are. Apparently I’ll be finding out!

They’re a type of credit card technology.  But they use a different technology that, frankly, is harder to hack than the type banks typically use in US cards and machines.  Hence, ‘chip-and-pin.’  American banks have been slow to switch over because they just didn’t want to spend the money to upgrade a bunch of machines and systems and re-issue cards.

I got SO MANY weird looks when I’d hand over my card in the UK with a “No, you have to swipe it.” Half the time the cashier person wouldn’t quite believe me the first time, until I explained that we don’t have chips in our cards. And then they’d be like “WHY?” And I’d mostly just shrug, because I don’t make those decisions for the whole of the US.

Because money.  The cards cost more (and you don’t think the banks are going to shoulder that willingly, do you?  Prepare to be charged for replacements if you have to have your card re-issued), and all the ATMs and check-out counters and swipe machines will have to be replaced with new ones.

Here’s an article:

Basically what changed was the Target hack.  VISA and Mastercard have wanted chip-and-pin cards in the US for years, and now they’re sick of having to shoulder the enormous additional financial risk when their customers’ accounts get defrauded due to using the old-fashioned swipe card system (and it’s HUGE; I can’t remember them offhand, now, but I saw the numbers in an article a few months ago, and the difference in fraud costs between US card systems and European ones is pretty stupid).  So they’ve announced that after October 2015, they simply refuse to be responsible for any fraudulent card activity that happens using the swipe card system.

So that’s that.  It’s not theoretical; it’s happening.  Everybody will have to suck it up, because the Credit Card Companies have spoken.

As I remember, I think this is also one of the issues standing between a smoother integration between US financial systems and international ones.  So 1: it may make international travel easier on your wallet and 2: this means that international credit card companies will now be able to play in the US market, since we’ll finally have the technology they use.

So if you loathe your credit card company with the passion of a thousand burning suns, keep an eye out for that.  More market competition is always nice.  ESPECIALLY IN OUR STUPID INBRED BANKING INDUSTRY.  (Awww, poor multi-billion dollar babies have to face fair market competition from the world economy, cwy cwy for them.)

(Bitter?  Why do you say that?)

God, I feel like the poor kid with holes in her jeans trying to hang out with the yuppies.  How does the US keep convincing itself that it’s still on the cutting edge when our industries are too frigging cheap to bother springing for the good technology?

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