Visa exec: Intrust switch to chip-based cards not a mandate

About 150 Intrust Bank business customers and guests heard from an executive from Visa and bank officials about the upcoming conversion to chip-based credit and debit cards.

The “chip switch” event was held Wednesday at Intrust Bank Arena.

“For the consumer experience, it shouldn’t be much of a change,” said Brian Hamilton, Visa’s senior director of global corporate initiatives.

But it will be for merchants and other businesses that operate point-of-sale terminals.

That’s because in October 2015, the liability of a fraudulent transaction shifts to the party that doesn’t have the equipment or systems to accept or process a transaction made with a chip-equipped card.

“We’re not mandating it,” Hamilton said of the EuroPay, Mastercard, Visa Standard, “but the party that has not made the investment is not protected.”

Hamilton said nearly 20 million EMV chip cards have been issued in the United States, and half of the top 50 credit issuers are actively or selectively issuing EMV cards. He said 30 percent of the nation’s point-of-sale terminals are EMV capable.

EMV-enabled cards store information on computer chips on the cards rather than on magnetic strips. Each time a card is used at an EMV register, the chip creates a one-time use code called a cryptogram that is good only for that transaction. The cryptogram prevents the information in that transaction from being used to create counterfeit cards, Hamilton said.

Intrust officials said at the event that the bank began offering EMV-capable terminals to its business customers six months ago. Intrust officials said they expect to have the software available to process those transactions by the end of the year.

While not offering specifics, Intrust officials downplayed the cost of the new equipment.

“You’re not going to see a large shift (in costs), even from a hardware perspective,” said Tom Morrison, Intrust Bank division director who is overseeing the bank’s EMV conversion.

Tony Esposito, president of CTA, a phone systems and computer networking equipment company, said his company processes maybe a couple of credit card transactions a month from its business clients.

He said the presentation helped him better understand the conversion process and reasons behind it. “I’m glad to see Intrust and Visa pro-active on this,” Esposito said.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.