Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has issued a store-branded MasterCard that uses chip-and-PIN, or EMV, technology. The retailer announced the new card on its corporate blog, telling shoppers they can expect theirs in the mail within "the next few weeks."
The initiative is ahead of the mandated 2015 deadline. Sam's Club was the first major retailer to do so, introducing its chip-enabled MasterCard in June. Walmart has been quick to follow suit.
Walmart has long been a proponent for EMV chip technology and installed EMV-capable terminals in stores about eight years ago, according to the company. These terminals are now activated in more than 4,600 stores, including all Sam's Club locations. Terminals in the remaining U.S. stores will be activated before the end of the year.
EMV is considered a safer alternative to today's magnetic swipe cards with enhanced security features that make it more difficult to duplicate, thus increasing protection against counterfeit fraud.
But security experts have been quick to point out that the new technology won't fully protect retailers from cybercrime. EMV won't do much without point to point encryption (P2PE), according to security blogger Brian Krebs.
When the cards are used at chip-enabled terminals, the new cobranded card can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted around the world.
Walmart has been a leader in pushing toward payments that offer greater security than the traditional signature-based, magnetic stripe technology. This can only help drive EMV technology forward in the U.S. as it gains traction.
-See this Walmart blog post
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