The Scoop on Chip and Pin Technology

Nonprofit Management

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Brace yourselves, nonprofits! Chip and pin cards are already used in Europe and the UK, and they’re set to come across the pond to America. Here’s a rundown on what they are, when they’ll be here, and what they’ll mean for you.

1. What’s A Chip and Pin Card?

Chip and pin cards are credit cards that are more secure than the ones we have here in the States. They contain a microchip, which replaces the standard magnetic strip on our cards, and require a PIN number. The chips cut down on credit card fraud because they’re harder to clone; scammers can “skim” or “clone” magnetic strips, but the chips aren’t compromised as easily. Even if a scammer did manage to clone a chip, they’d still have to provide the PIN number that is required to use the card.

2. Why Is Chip and Pin Technology Important?

Magnetic-stripe credit cards are easily compromised. Remember the hullabaloo over the Target security leak? 70 million credit card numbers were stolen.  Since those credit card numbers weren’t really protected with any security measures, the theft put millions of people at risk. That wouldn’t happen as easily with chip and pin cards, which require a PIN to make any purchase.

3. Who Will Be Affected?

Pretty much everyone, honestly. As credit card thieves get craftier, the average Joe’s financial information is increasingly at risk. As chip and pin technology moves into the United States, they’ll become the new standard for credit cards.

4. When Will Chip and Pin Take Over?

Right now, the plan is for American financial institutions to switch to chip and pin technology by October of 2015. Although some US institutions offer the cards, the switch to this technology has been slow. That’s mostly because producing chip and pin cards is more expensive than producing magnetic cards, and it will take a while for financial institutions and stores to retrofit their card readers for the new technology.

Despite the cost of updating credit card technology, the major credit card companies are preparing for change. After the October 2015 deadline, banks and retailers will reportedly face penalties if their clients’ cards are compromised in a security breach. It’ll be expensive for merchants to upgrade their equipment, but it could prove very expensive if they don’t. Whether or not the October 2015 deadline is set in stone remains to be seen; similar deadlines have been set and passed with no changes.

5. How Will Qgiv Clients Be Affected?

First things first: don’t worry! You’ll still be able to accept online donations even after the advent of this new type of card.

Second: we’re keeping a close eye on chip and pin technology and its progress in the States. Previous deadlines for adopting the new tech have changed in the past, and we’re staying up-to-date on all new developments. Right now, there are only a few chip and pin card readers for mobile devices (like our mobile Virtual Terminal) available on the market. As soon as they’re readily available, you’ll be the first to know!

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