News 4 Investigates: Credit card chip readers -

News 4 Investigates: Credit card chip readers

Posted: Updated:
Credit card chip. Credit: KMOV Credit card chip. Credit: KMOV

You see it every time you go through a checkout line, some stores let you swipe your credit card, others make you insert the card into a machine.

One method makes it hard for crooks to steal your information, the other does not.

At Freddie’s Market in Webster Groves, the small locally owned mom and pop grocer has two checkout lines. And if you're credit card has a chip, you must insert the card to pay. Owner Larry Bononi says the credit card companies required him to make the switch.

“If we're not caught up with and don't have the machines in place were liable,” said Bononi.

Liable because swiping instead of inserting makes it easy for criminals to steal your account information. Traditional credit cards contain all of your account information on the bar strip on the back,

Ron Cytron teaches computer science at Washington University in St. Louis. He says credit cards without chip technology are easy to duplicate.

“Cloning the magnetic strip is the physically easy thing to do,” said Cytron.

Crooks use skimming devices at places like gas stations to steal your information off the strip and then duplicate your card. But chip cards are way harder to replicate.

At Mastercard's operation center in O’Fallon, Mo., Chiro Aikat oversees the chip card conversion program. He says fraud goes down in places where chip card usage goes up. He says Mastercard never forced retailers to make the change, but like the owner of Freddie’s Market, there's certainly an incentive to get with the program.

“Merchants make their own decisions, banks make their own decisions, it’s about fraud right,” said Aikat.

So are you at greater risk of fraud at a store that doesn't accept chip cards? While you're more vulnerable, the news isn't all bad.

It certainly creates a headache for the cardholder, but the customer isn't financially responsible. 

And as more and more retailers decide they don't want to be on the hook expect to see more of chip reader technology in the area.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

Powered by Frankly