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Credit Card Chips More Common Now, But Still Missing Layer Of Security

LEOMINSTER (CBS) - The swipe is now the chip. Over the past two years, shoppers have been getting used to the new credit cards with the shiny silver or gold square.

"I hate it! I feel that 9 times out of 10 you're standing there for 20-to-30 seconds, a lot longer waiting for the chip to work," Christina Ibanez told WBZ-TV while making a purchase at Cutiques, a consignment shop in Leominster.

Customers may hate the time it takes to process the new cards, but the reason for the chip is that it's supposed to be harder to counterfeit.

"It's a step. But, it's like half a step," said Neil Abramson of Cutiques.

Abramson told us the system still leaves shoppers vulnerable. Travel abroad and you'll see why. The chip cards have an extra layer of security across most of Canada and Europe where shoppers use a four digit PIN, just like our debit cards. Here in the U.S. only a signature is required for most credit card sales.

credit card chip

"I can take your wallet this afternoon and I can go on a shopping spree," explained Abramson.

We reached out to several major banks and credit card companies and they told us, at this time, there are no plans to include a PIN at checkout. The American Bankers Association said "The security is in the chip - it does not need a signature or PIN to be effective."

Retail giant Target was the center of a massive data breach in 2013 and they say the 4-digit PIN does add an extra layer of security.

Shoppers are required to use a PIN when using Target credit cards at checkout. To drive home his point that the PIN adds security Abramson had this to say,

"The bank is not going to give you $20 at the ATM without your PIN. If it was really that secure, the chip technology, you'd be able to go to the bank and get a $20 bill out."

credit card chip

For the retailers, it's not just security but money. Retailers pay a percentage to the banks for every transaction. That rate is higher for credit compared to debit card transactions.

"The merchants pay for it and ultimately the consumers," explained Abramson.

Instead of adding extra security, look for credit card purchases to get even easier.  Many companies are moving toward a tap and pay system, allowing shoppers to simply waive their card in front of a device at checkout.

For now, the most secure shopping method may be to just stick with cash.

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