MasterCard and Visa have both stated that this date is when the “liability shift” will go into effect. Meaning, from that date on, whomever is still using the ol' sign-signature-on-receipt technology, whether they be merchant or card issuer, will be responsible for any fraud that takes place on that card. And, with Target and other major retailers experiencing major credit-card fraud last year, it is a problem that needs to be addressed quickly.
The rest of the world already uses the chip-and-pin system. According to MasterCard representative Carolyn Balfany, there are several benefits in using this system: “One thing to remember is this migration really isn’t about a single device or technology, it’s about establishing a technological platform for the next generation of payments," she says. "So, the EMV standard that we are moving toward isn’t limited to chip and PIN cards, it also includes things like contact-less payments, where you can tap the card against the reader, all with the same level of security.” Looks like we’re going to have to find another way to practice our signature. (Wall Street Journal)