Home Depot will activate EMV chip-and-PIN checkout terminals at all its stores by the end of 2014, the company’s CEO told an investment conference on Thursday (Sept. 4).
The announcement by CEO Frank Blake, who will step down on Nov. 1, comes in the wake of an apparent breach of Home Depot’s payment systems that may have affected all 2,200 of the chain’s stores according to a preliminary analysis. The potential breach was discovered after a large number of stolen credit and debit card numbers that appeared to have come via Home Depot went on sale on the black market on Tuesday (Sept. 2).
Blake did not confirm a Home Depot breach, but said customers would not be liable for any losses, the Associated Press reported.
Like many large U.S. retailers, Home Depot already has point-of-sale systems in its stores that can support chip-based EMV payment cards, but does not have the functionality turned on. Customers from outside the U.S. who have EMV cards must use their card’s magnetic stripe to make payments, which is less secure.
Visa and MasterCard have set October 2015 as a deadline for U.S. merchants to support EMV cards or face liability in the event of fraudulent charges. However, only half of all U.S.-issued payment cards are expected to be EMV-enabled by the end of 2015. In a recent interview with MPD CEO Karen Webster, Michelle Lehouck, EMV director for software developer Bell ID, said the top five U.S. banks have just begun to send EMV-equipped cards to their customers.