US PIRG Statement on Credit and Debit Card Security Announcement
WASHINGTON - Statement of Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director with U.S. PIRG, on today’s announcement of steps to improve credit and debit card security:
"U.S. PIRG commends the President for using the government’s buying power to accelerate improvements in credit and debit security that are critically needed by American consumers and businesses. Recent breaches at major merchants and the nation's largest bank have demonstrated the need for better protections for card information. By announcing that all cards for government users and government benefits such as EBT will be Chip and PIN compliant as of January 2015, the President has moved beyond the Chip-only upgrades proposed by the bank and card networks, which would not have done enough to move past obsolete magnetic swipe cards. Smart chips only prevent cards from being cloned. Adding PIN requirements as well will ensure that cards are used by the right people. Implementing Chip and PIN together will dramatically reduce fraud in retail transactions.
"We still need to drive new solutions to online fraud, but today's announcement of a cyber-summit is a step toward that goal as well. We also believe that consumers need strong legal protections when they use any plastic cards. Currently, credit cards only enjoy the strongest protections by law while strong debit card protections are by bank promise only. We also welcome the improvements to idtheft.org. We look forward to working with the administration, the CFPB, and the FTC on these and the other proposals announced today.
"Finally, any national breach proposal should be based on the strongest state laws and continue to allow states to take the lead to protect the privacy of their citizens."
U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.