Berger to Congress: Merchants’ EMV ploy is smoke and mirrors

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger told congressional leaders Thursday that merchants and other retailer groups are intentionally detracting from important data security issues by asking for a delay in the EMV liability shift as they wage a “smoke-and-mirrors campaign on ‘chip and PIN.’”

The Food Marketing Institute is asking major credit card networks for a delay in the EMV liability shift, now set for October, due to “significant investments of both time and money” and the increased time it will take consumers to move through checkout lines with this new technology. Berger said such arguments by FMI and other merchant and retailer groups just distract from the issues at hand, “including stringent data safekeeping.” Berger wrote to leaders of the House and Senate.

FMI’s request is “remarkable,” he wrote, given the growing number of merchant data breaches and lawmakers’ and regulators’ intense interest in this issue. He also reiterated findings of a NAFCU Economic & CU Monitor survey showing credit unions spent, on average, $226,000 and 1,600 hours last year on debit and credit card fraud issues arising from retailer data breaches.

The conversation about EMV is important, Berger said, and merchants and retailers need to do their part. “Congress must act to ensure technology standards are accompanied by strong data safekeeping standards for merchants and retailers akin to what credit unions comply with under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA),” he urged.

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