Walmart Exec Says Chip and Signature Won’t Enhance Card Security
Walmart’s assistant treasurer Mike Cook is speaking out about the predicted disappointment with chip and signature credit cards, indicating that Americans will still be vulnerable to theft after the shift.
In an interview about the changing card infrastructure, Cook told CNNMoney, “The fact that we didn’t go to PIN is such a joke.”
Speaking on Walmart’s behalf, Cook said the company would have been more optimistic if America had chosen to employ the chip and PIN system used in Europe and Africa. PINs are more secure than signatures, but chip-and-PIN cards are also much more expensive to produce. While the embedded chips on signature-based cards will provide some added protection, it won’t be enough to keep fraudsters from getting the information they need to steal and use cards that don’t belong to them.
Cook alluded to the fact that signatures were sufficient 100 years ago but outdated by today’s standards.
“Signature is worthless as a form of authentication. If you look at the Target and Home Depot breaches … not a single PIN debit card needed to be reissued in those breaches,” said Cook. “The card number was worthless to the individual thief and fraudsters, because they didn’t know the PIN.”
As a company, Walmart has been far ahead of the competition with regards to credit card security. The retail giant started installing chip-enabled card terminals in their stores over eight years ago, all of which are active today. Not only does this save Walmart from making a massive transition with the rest of the country this year, but it also ensures that customers can immediately start using their new chip-based cards.