Multi account cards greatly affected by EMV
December 09, 2014

There are a lot of reasons that EMV may be able to help retailers keep customer data safe, while also increasing their compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard. It will bring in more customers, prevent data breaches in various degrees and bring back trust to shopping at a brick-and-mortar storefront. However, not everything is prepared for the coming transition deadline of October 2015 and some technology is lacking the ability to properly function in the event of a switchover. Ironically, one of them is a relatively new technology designed to address multiple credit cards in a single wallet: multi account cards.

It's all in one card
Sometimes referred to as Card 2.0, multiple account cards are programmable magnetic stripe cards that a readable at any point of sale that accepts credit card payments, including those with integrated payments systems. As Time noted, they resemble regular plastic cards, except they have buttons on the front. The programmable function is important: It allows a user to store multiple credit or debit card accounts on it. When it comes time to pay, the user can press the buttons to get the right account and then swipe to make a payment. This allows for the elimination of multiple cards in a person's wallet. The two leading makers of these cards are Stratos Card and Coin.

However, there is one problem with multi-account cards that likely will not be addressed in time to deal with the EMV transition date. The issue is that these cards aren't actually cards issued by banks containing card data, but third-party products that store information from other cards. There is also no standard for having multiple accounts on a single smart chip.

As a consequence, what Stratos Card and Coin can in theory do is link to cards that have EMV incorporated into their systems. However, that would make eliminate access to the chip itself, and thus would make the original card no longer compliant with EMV, according to Payments Source. The question becomes then of what would happen when the EMV card is swiped with magnetic stripe through these multi account cards. Because a third party handled the card data, the issuer of the multi account card and not the bank could be held liable for any fraudulent charges. This may deter some current users from continuing. Stratos Card is working to address this before the deadline, while Coin remains silent on the matter.

Nexus: G-WEBCD1