New Credit cards with chips = lame.

David Gluzman September 29th, 2009


That’s right. Damn you technology!

Recently I’m getting a bunch of new credit cards in the mail, and it seems they have all adopted this new chip thinger.

Apparently the credit card companies think this will make transactions more secure. Sure, sure. And a hell of a lot more annoying to boot!

Firstly, the pin. Guess what most people are going to do? I’ll take a stab in the dark and say, “use the same pin as their debit card”. Why? Cause people are lazy, and remembering things is hard (and bloody inconvenient!). On that note, when was the last time you changed your personal email password? ;)

From TD Canada Trust:

“Chip cards have an embedded microchip that stores information in a secure, encrypted format, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to copy or access the information on the card. When used with Automated Banking Machines (ABMs) and chip point-of-sale devices, new chip TD Visa Cards and TD Canada Trust Access Cards will offer a higher level of security for credit card and debit card transactions. Magnetic stripe credit and debit cards will continue to be secure and welcomed by retailers. Customers will be able to continue to make transactions in Canada and around the world with the same confidence, just as they do now. “

Uuuhh.. Sooo.. The magnetic stripe will continue to be used (just like how Windows XP will continue to be used I guess). So why the pin? Oh right! Security! Sorry, I forgot.

From Visa:

“Chip cards and chip terminals help make a secure transaction system even more secure by validating the cardholder’s Chip & PIN . This enhances the security of your card whenever you use it in a face-to-face transaction. When using your card online, other Visa layers of security, including Verified by Visa, are in place to help prevent fraudulent use of your Visa card number.”

*sigh* Face to face transactions will be FAR more secure. Is this why many merchants keep asking for my drivers license when I use a credit card (which by the way is against the terms of service from most credit card companies)? This is just another added step that doesn’t really change anything. Sure, it’s a deterrent for fraudulent use, but truly it won’t stop it.

One of the largest problems regarding this new PIN code “new technology” is that now credit card companies are free to change their terms of service to impose conditions were transactions with their new card makes them 100% liable for all transactions. Isn’t that handy?

All this talk is making me tired. I’m gonna wrap this up by saying, why aren’t we just adding photographs to our credit cards (I’ve seen this!)? Isn’t that easier than imposing all this newfangled technology, info-structure, and user frustration?

Actually I think the 1cm high signature pad is good enough. They’ll never be able to crack that one!

Also there’s a pretty decent article from TheStar that goes through some of these points as well, I’d recommend reading up. At the very least the commentary is entertaining..

  • TDJ

    I’ve just moved to the UK from Australia and everyone has the chipped credit cards, I’m the odd one out with a regular swipe card. I think one of the main reasons to encrypt the data and take it off the magnetic strip is to stop card skimming, which was becomming quite a problem in Australia before I left. Microchips are the future man!

  • David

    The reason they have the chip and not the photo is because it moves the majority of the liability of the security to the user, away from the merchant and the creditor. Basically, we’re now more responsible for our purchases and VISA/MC/Amex is less responsible in the case of a refund or misuse.