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Obama signs chip and PIN executive order

17 October 2014  |  19766 views  |  9 US flag

US president Barack Obama has signed an executive order mandating the use of chip and PIN technology at executive departments and agencies for card payments.

With more than a 100 million Americans falling to data breaches over the past year, thanks in part to massive attacks on the likes of Target, Home Depot and JPMorgan, the Obama administration has moved to get its own house in order.

From 1 January, cards issued by the federal government to distribute benefits will have to be chip and PIN and payment terminals acquired by agencies through the department of the treasury will also be upgraded.

"We know this technology works — when Britain switched to a chip-and-pin system, they cut fraud in stores by 70%," says the president.

For online transactions, Obama has given a group of agencies 90 days to come up with a plan to ensure that all those making personal data accessible to citizens through digital applications use multiple factors of authentication and an effective identity proofing process.

Obama ha also set out plans designed to cut the time victims of identity theft have to wait for remediation and actions designed to improve credit score transparency.

"There is a need to act, and to move our economy toward stronger, more secure technologies that better secure transactions and safeguard sensitive data," says the White House in a statement.

The president called on the private sector to up its game, commending those that have taken action, including breach victims Target and Home Depot, who are now rolling out chip and PIN. Earlier today, a trade body set up to push the migration from magstripes, estimated that nearly half of US merchant terminals will accept EMV chip card payments by the end of next year.

In an effort to speed up adoption, there will be a White House Summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection later this year to promote partnership and innovation, with mobile payments a particular focus. Obama is also renewing his call to Congress to enact cybersecurity legislation.

National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay, says: “We applaud the administration for taking proactive and positive steps by adopting PIN and chip technology for government-issued debit and credit cards, among other things."

Obama admits his card was rejected

At today's event, Obama revealed that even the most powerful man on the planet can suffer the indignity of having his payment declined. “My credit card was rejected,” at a restaurant in New York last month, the president said. “Fortunately, Michelle had hers.”

Comments: (9)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 17 October, 2014, 19:21

With VISA and MasterCard setting a deadline for liability, the Chip and Pin cards were already well underway and getting changed in 2015. Obama will now say it was his executive order that did it. Wait for the claims of credit from the White House. Politics.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 18 October, 2014, 10:29 Wasn't the Visa/MC mandate for Chip & Sig cards? This EO would seem to suggest the requirement is now Chip & PIN...? Might seem minor but actually the implications are wide ranging for back end downstream systems and consumer education. Probably opens up a huge opportunity for European software and expertise in the US...
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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 18 October, 2014, 13:33

@Anon2 + 1: EMV in USA was supposed to be Chip+Signature, which, per the analyst quoted in my comment here (http://www.finextra.com/news/fullstory.aspx?newsitemid=26599), "puts EMV seriously at risk". Not sure how this EO will affect private sector implementation of EMV.

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John Candido
John Candido - Black Cabs - Melbourne | 20 October, 2014, 04:48

President Obama's credit card was rejected as potential fraudulant activity. He explained that as he hadn't used very much the system had cast suspicion on his credit card. How very disappointing to realise that the President of America is a cash man. How very backward.

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Bill Trueman
Bill Trueman - Riskskill.com - London | 20 October, 2014, 10:33

@John Candido - not disappointing at all - quite the contrary. The reason that he is alluding to when he remarks that he has not used the system - is NOT that he uses cash, but that he does not pay for anything himself at all. His personal identity/footprint does not exist whilst he executing the office of president of the United States. As part of this, I understand that he relinquishes all his cards etc. He does not have a personal life anymore!

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Bill Trueman
Bill Trueman - Riskskill.com - London | 20 October, 2014, 10:36

Indeed, MasterCard is pushing CHIP & PIN and Visa is in a campaign towards CHIP + Signature. This should change the direction and put people/everyone on the same clear direction towards a sound CVM that works. Going down a CHIP + Signature route that has been abandoned everywhere els in the world (including by VIsa everywhere else too) is nonsensical. 

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Paul Love
Paul Love - Compass Plus - Nottingham | 20 October, 2014, 15:07

"We know this technology works — when Britain switched to a chip-and-pin system, they cut fraud in stores by 70%," says the president.

The President did not mention that Britain switched over 10 years ago, that the US will be the last country in the world to adopt the global standard, and that global fraud is now US centric.

This should have been a "No Brainer", but I guess the US is a different market.

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John Candido
John Candido - Black Cabs - Melbourne | 20 October, 2014, 15:39

Just like they are dragging their feet with a conversion to the SI system of weights and measures, or the metric system. Virtually the entire world has converted or is in the process of changing to the metric system. Why hasn't the United States been more forward looking regarding not only chip and PIN but the metric system as well?

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Kevin Burns
Kevin Burns - Vodat International - Stockport | 23 October, 2014, 07:42

With as many high profile security breaches in as many months – first Home Depot and Sears Kmart and now, reportedly, Staples – perhaps it's unsurprising the issue of data security and Payment Card Industry compliance has not only been pushed higher up retailers' agendas, but is now being discussed at the highest political
level.

In today's global society, news – especially bad news – travels fast; per company, the average cost of a breach is now £2.21m, up 8 percent from 2013 due mostly to increased customer churn. This proves that consumers are becoming more aware of payment security and voting with their feet.

The EO announced by Obama will not just put pressure on the US card industry to move away from signatures and towards the widespread adoption of chip and PIN, it will also drive consumer
consciousness – and confidence – towards this payment method. In a country where just 2% have chip and PIN enabled cards, this can only be a positive step forward.

www.thepaymentsnetwork.co.uk 

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