U.S. banks and retailers, a decade behind in deploying the secure, high-tech credit cards used elsewhere in the world, may take years longer to switch to a system that all but eliminates common types of fraud, the Washington Post reports. Under pressure from credit card companies, major banks and retailers have begun to roll out the cards, which carry a computer chip and advanced security software that keeps the customer's account number and other details invisible, even if crooks manage to steal records from a store or bank.
The conversion could take years to reach critical mass amid a squabble over who will foot the $8 billion bill, and despite fears that scammers have been targeting the U.S. because of its outdated technology. U.S. credit card fraud rates, once the world’s lowest, have doubled in the 10 years since chip cards spread through Europe. The theft of tens of millions of dollars of records from Target over the holiday shopping season focused attention on the U.S. as a weak link. Lawmakers have begun to call for faster action to secure systems while law enforcement agencies investigate the massive breach, thought to have been the work of sophisticated overseas hackers. The large card companies have said that as of late 2015, they will hold merchants or banks who have not moved to the chip-card system responsible for fraudulent purchases that the advanced cards would have prevented.