Chip and Signature OR Chip and PIN?

The switch to EMV in the U.S. raises a few questions…

With Obama’s BuySecure initiative calling for the federal government (including military travelers) to implement chip and PIN technology along with new EMV cards and terminals, what does this mean for the rest of us?

Will the U.S. follow Europe’s chip and PIN standard or will chip and signature authentication be the norm in the states?

The answer as of now is: chip and signature will be how most Americans complete EMV credit and debit card transactions. American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, MasterCard and Visa are issuing millions of their chip and signature EMV cards, which have no PIN capabilities.

Although the U.S. is taking a step in the safer direction, it’s only a half step. The bottom line is that chip and signature is less secure than chip and PIN. Forging a cardholder’s signature is simple for a thief to do, especially when many merchants do not crosscheck buyers’ credit and debit cards with drivers’ licenses or other forms of identification.

wireless card processing

What are the reasons behind companies choosing chip and signature over chip and PIN?

According to NASDAQ, companies don’t want to discuss their decision in choosing the less layered security process.

“A Chase spokeswoman says the bank is working on implementing chip-and-PIN in the future, although she says there is no timeframe.

An American Express spokeswoman says: ‘The current standard practice in the U.S. is the chip and signature. We are closely monitoring the industry and if there’s a broad scale change, we will re-evaluate our plans and determine how best to proceed.’ “

The U.S. is a decade behind other countries with the EMV transition, and now we are still playing catch up with credit and debit card security. Hopefully BuySecure will soon influence card companies to ditch chip and signature and follow the government’s lead with issuing more secure chip and PIN technology.

Call our customer support at 1-866-651-3068 to learn more about how your business can become EMV capable.

At Frontline Processing, on average, we save our merchants 12% or more on their credit card processing fees! 


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