Canadians take up chip and PIN

Source: Interac Association

Adoption of a new payment card technology that provides enhanced security and convenience to merchants and consumers is gaining momentum in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Members of the payment card industry - Interac Association, MasterCard Canada Inc., Visa Canada and many of their respective card issuers and payment processors - today reported positive preliminary results from an industry trial of chip technology in Kitchener-Waterloo.

"The chip card is the next evolution of credit and debit cards," said Tracey Black, Program Director, Kitchener-Waterloo Industry Chip Trial. "Cardholders have been receiving chip cards from their financial institutions and we are pleased with the feedback from merchants and consumers as the cards are used more widely."

Since the payment card industry announced plans in October for a chip technology trial, some 200,000 people - over one-third of local residents - have received chip-enabled debit and credit cards and are incorporating them into their day-to-day consumer activities. Local merchants have installed over 2,300 chip-enabled point-of-sale terminals and 65 percent of automated banking machines (ABMs) have been updated to support chip card technology. All financial institutions in Kitchener-Waterloo now offer chip-enabled ABMs.

At stores that offer chip and PIN technology, cardholders will notice two changes when paying for goods or services using a chip card. The card will be inserted into the device and the chip card will remain in the terminal for the duration of the transaction. Also, most credit cardholders will need to enter personal identification numbers (PINs), just as they do today for debit cards, instead of signing a sales receipt. As in the past, debit card holders must PIN all transactions.

"Merchants and consumers have much to gain from the migration to chip technology," added Ms. Black. "Chip cards and chip terminals make a secure transaction system even more secure."

A chip card is a credit or debit card containing an embedded computer chip, which gives the card the ability to securely store and process data. Global standards for EMV chip cards allow the payment card industry to harmonize technical standards to ensure chip card technology operates efficiently across all payment brands.

"In Canada, each member of the payment card industry and merchant community has its own timeline for introducing chip card technology," said Ms. Black. "All chip cards will continue to have a magnetic stripe on the back of cards to ensure acceptance in countries that have not migrated to chip."

The industry trial is scheduled to run until the end of October 2008.

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