Hacking — whether of credit card information, computers or smartphones — tops the list of crimes Americans worry about most, according to Gallup’s most recent annual crime poll conducted in mid-October. That may be because a relatively high percentage of respondents said they or another member of their household had information from a credit card used at a store stolen by computer hackers during the last year.
Participants in the Gallup poll were asked how often they worry about a list of 13 potential crimes. Sixty-nine percent said they frequently or occasionally worry about having the credit card information they used at stores stolen by computer hackers, and 62 percent said the same about having their computer or smartphone hacked. In fact, hacking ranked higher than any other crime including home burglary (45 percent), having a school-aged child physically harmed while attending school (31 percent), being mugged (31 percent), sexual assault and murder (both 18 percent).
Although this was the first year Gallup asked Americans about having credit card information stolen, those surveyed were not unfamiliar with the experience. Twenty-seven percent said they or a household member had been victimized in the past year, making it the most frequently-experienced crime on the poll’s list.
The survey concludes that Americans’ concerns about hacking may affect their shopping habits as they take measures to protect their identities and finances. “Consumers may avoid stores that have been hacked, and begin paying more frequently with cash or prepaid cards to protect their identities,” it warns. “To protect their customers and themselves, some credit card companies are switching to security chips, which are more secure than the magnetic strips currently common in the U.S., and are cautioning customers to check their accounts for suspicious activity.”
Those “security chips” are microprocessors embedded in payment cards, commonly referred to as EMV® cards. While widely in use elsewhere in the world, the EMV card is a relative newcomer to the United States.
As more EMV cards are issued to cardholders, retailers must be ready to accept this new technology by upgrading their credit card processing terminals. This is particularly important in light of the liability shift date set by the major credit card brands. Beginning October 1, 2015, financial liability for counterfeit fraud losses shifts to the merchant if they don’t make an EMV transaction possible.
Upgrading now to an EMV-compatible terminal means you and your business will be a step ahead of your competition. Many options are available, including countertop models that offer EMV and contactless card capabilities, wireless Bluetooth® and 3G terminals.
Be ready ahead of time by transitioning to EMV today. Talk to a TransFirst® representative about your options by completing the form on this page or calling the toll-free number.
The Bluetooth® wordmark is a registered trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. EMV is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries and is an unregistered trademark in other countries, owned by EMVCo.