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Letter from MAG Board Chair: On The EVE of EMV (MAG Quarterly- Volume Three, Issue Three)

By Lee Jurgens, MAG Chairman and Director, Sales and Tender Audit - Ralph Lauren

September 3, 2015

The publication of this edition of the MAG’s quarterly newsletter comes on the eve of the liability shift associated with EMV. As Chairman of the MAG, I believe it is important to note the MAG’s fervent belief that the American public and the MAG’s members are getting less than they deserve from this costly conversion. 

The MAG has campaigned vigorously (and, it appears, in vain) to convince banks to replace their fraud-prone magstripe cards with chip & PIN. Our campaign along with those of other members of the merchant community has gained the support of the White House and consumer groups, but not the banks. It is my opinion that the banks are selfishly guarding their own interests while telling the public they know what’s best for all of us. The banks’ failure to embrace the international standard of chip & PIN will likely continue to consternate international travelers for years to come. There is little doubt in my mind that the banks oppose the move to PIN primarily because their legacy credit card processing platforms are not equipped to handle PINs and they don’t want to spend the money to address the problem. This is the sad reality in today’s payments where the unavoidable logic of moving to PIN (and relegating signature to the junk pile where it belongs) are secondary to the interests of big banks unwilling to change.