Maine CUs Working Hard To Educate Consumers On EMV

September 4, 2015

Three letters are having a big impact on consumers and Maine credit unions are working hard to educate consumers on what EMV is, how it works and what it means.  EMV -- which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa -- is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions.  Maine credit unions have been planning for the transition to EMV for some time now, and the first successful transaction using a credit union-issued EMV chip card in Maine took place earlier this year.  

In the wake of numerous large-scale data breaches and increasing rates of counterfeit card fraud, U.S. card issuers are migrating to this new technology to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud.  As of October 1, 2015, new liability rules go into effect, which credit unions and other financial institutions are looking forward to because, up until now, the responsibility for covering fraud losses, even when not at fault, has usually fallen on credit unions and other financial institutions.  In the past eighteen months, the cost of fraud due to merchant data breaches has exceeded $2.5 million for Maine credit unions.

"These new and improved cards are being deployed to improve payment security, making it more difficult for fraudsters to successfully counterfeit cards," says Julie Conroy, research director for Aite Group, a financial industry research company and a partner with the Maine Credit Union League in the EMV migration. "It's an important step forward."

For consumers, it means activating new cards and learning new payment processes.  The Maine Credit Union League and Maine credit unions are spending a lot of time helping consumers to understand what the transition to EMV is all about and how it works.  "It will take time for consumers and many others to understand what EMV means, and we take the job of helping members to be well-informed very seriously.  The most important point for members and consumers, in general, is that it means greater protection against fraud.  That will hopefully reduce the cost of fraud for credit unions and our member owners," explained John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League.