Two industry giants are set to face off in court over that chip debit card in your wallet.
Wal-Mart filed a lawsuit against Visa on Tuesday, alleging the network is forcing its customers to use signatures in lieu of PINs when paying with chip-based debit cards, The Wall Street Journal reports.
This compromises customers’ security, Wal-Mart asserts, making them vulnerable to fraud.
“PIN is the only truly secure form of cardholder verification in the marketplace today, and it offers superior security to our customers,” Wal-Mart said in an emailed statement. “VISA nevertheless has demanded that we allow fraud-prone signature verification for debit transactions in our U.S. stores because VISA stands to make more money processing those transactions. We believe VISA’s position creates unacceptable risk to customers and its actions and rules are inconsistent with federal law.”
Visa did not immediately respond to Credit.com’s request for comment.
Protecting Your Payment Information
Retailers have been steadily upgrading their terminals to accept chip-enabled credit cards and debit cards — which generate a dynamic security code each time you pay and are, therefore, considered much harder to counterfeit — before and ahead of new network rules that went into effect last October. These rules essentially require merchants who haven’t upgraded to cover the cost of fraudulent transactions. (Prior to the shift, financial institutions generally covered the cost of fraud.)
Chip-and-PIN cards, which are prevalent abroad, have been touted as more secure than the signature-based chip cards widely adopted in the U.S., largely due to the fact that there’s one more number a thief would need to obtain before they used a card (the PIN) and that they protect cardholders from lost and stolen card fraud.
Of course, regardless of whether you are using chip-and-PIN- or chip-and-signature-based payments, it’s important to monitor financial accounts. Chips, after all, aren’t a fail-safe when it comes to fraud. (They do little to protect your information, for instance, when shopping online.) And the sooner you report suspicious charges to your issuer, the fewer hassles and potential liability you’ll face.
You’ll also want to check your credit if you ever have reason to believe your personal information was compromised alongside your payment information. You can do so by pulling your credit reports each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing your two free credits scores each month on Credit.com.
More on Credit Cards:
- Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards