Criminals Target Stores Without Chip Readers

Identify theft protection not offered by stores without updated technology

Shaun Plum
MoneyTips Contributor

Borrowing Credit Cards

Criminals Target Stores Without Chip Readers
March 4, 2016

While many credit card companies and banks have made the switch to cards with microchips in them, there are still a number of stores that haven’t updated their card reader technology. These stores still use the magnetic strip to make credit card transactions and criminals are creating lists of these stores to target. Because magnetic strips are much less secure, more and more customers are finding that their personal data is no longer protected by these companies.

The switch in card technology officially went into effect in October, but credit card companies did not require merchants to make the change. This is why new credit and debit cards include both the chip and the magnetic stripe. Some vendors made the choice not to spend the money in upgrades, while others have been on the waiting list for the new technology. According to VISA, more merchants are upgrading their equipment, but even so, by the end of 2016, they only expect that about half of all retailers nationwide will have replaced the strip readers with chip terminals.

One type of merchant that has not embraced chip technology is gas stations. Because the credit card reader is built into the pump, they would have to replace the entire pump to install chip readers. As more and more retailers switch to chip readers, experts expect to see gas stations and other vendors who haven’t upgraded to be targeted more and more. Customers may want to start paying indoors when fueling up until more gas stations upgrade their systems.

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