Security & Fraud

Home Depot Sues MasterCard, Visa Over Chip Card Security

Visa and MasterCard are using security measures prone to fraud, putting retailers and customers at risk of thieves, The Home Depot says in a new federal antitrust lawsuit.

It’s the latest large retailer to raise the security concerns, with a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Last month, Walmart sued Visa over similar issues.

Atlanta-based Home Depot says new payment cards with “chip” technology remain less secure in the U.S. than cards used in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

Even with chips, U.S. cards still rely on customers’ handwritten signatures for verification, rather than more secure Personal Identification Numbers, or PINs, Home Depot maintains.

“Regardless of how the cardholder’s identity is confirmed, the chip makes data much more secure, rendering it almost useless to create fraudulent cards or transactions,” MasterCard spokesman Seth Eisen said in a statement on Wednesday (June 15).

Home Depot was targeted in a wave of data heists that began with Target’s pre-Christmas 2013 attack. Home Depot’s 2014 data breach at stores in the U.S. and Canada affected 56 million debit and credit cards, far more than the attack on Target customers. Hackers also stole 53 million email addresses from Home Depot customers.

Home Depot pushed hard to activate chip-enabled checkout terminals at all of its stores after the 2014 attack.

While common in Europe and outside of the U.S. for more than a decade, chip cards have only recently started seeing broader acceptance in the U.S.

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