EMV payments are continuing to grow in a variety of venues in Europe, the latest rollout being a deal to supply 1,600 Hypercom Optimum M4100 EMV mobile payment terminals to taxi cabs in Stockholm. 

The arrangement involves local payment firms, such as Stuctab AB, whose Meg Tax taximeter will be combined with Optimum’s technology to allow drivers to hand the M4100 to the customer with the amount of the fare already entered. The driver is prompted to proceed in the local language, or English, and enters a gratuity in the local currency if desired. The customer then sweeps or enters a payment card and enters a PIN to make payment.

 The deal illustrates the penetration of the EMV standard outside the U.S., which will heighten the debate about EMV in the U.S.—particularly given the fact that deals such as the Stockholm taxi arrangement could increase the problem of U.S. travelers having their cards rejected overseas.

 The acceptance of EMV outside the U.S. has some worried. The continued reliance on mag strip cards in the U.S. may leave it isolated and vulnerable to fraud, since most of the rest of the world is moving to the EMV standard, says Richard Oliver, an evp at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. 

Writing in the Portals and Rail blog of the Atlanta Fed, Oliver says the U.S. may become the only major economic power that still uses mag stripes, thus relying on a standard that’s less secure than most other countries. Oliver says this will cause crooks to migrate to the U.S., and will also create difficulties for U.S. citizens traveling to other nations.

 Oliver joins major retailers such as Wal-Mart in suggesting the U.S. get on board with EMV. U.S. merchants and acquirers have balked at the standard, given the substantial multi-billion dollar expense involved in retrofitting payments infrastructure to accommodate migration. Meanwhile, other protective measures such tokenization and end-to-end encryption have emerged.

 Oliver says this reluctance may make it necessary for the issue to be addressed at the public policy level, writing that it may be time to “charge someone in government with developing a well-thought-out, participatory, multi-year plan to move this country to the emerging global payments card standard.”

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