“The Target credit card breach had just happened, and OWC swung into action and helped OT position EMV chip cards as a key part of the solution. As additional breaches are reported by the media, the firm has made sure we are included in the national conversation about prevention through a layered approach to security.”

Oberthur Technologies

the challenge

OWC was hired by Oberthur Technologies (OT), the leading payment technology company, after the Target credit card breach was made public in December 2013 to position EMV chip cards as the safer alternative to traditional magstripe cards. The next-generation cards, which contain a computer chip and are inserted instead of swiped, create a dynamic code for each transaction that cannot be replicated. The cards are widely used in every other major country, making the U.S. the “weakest link” for hackers. At the time, OT manufactured about 50 percent of the payment cards used in the U.S. and had made a substantial investment in EMV dating back to 1998 with little adoption.


OWC’s educational campaign targets banks, credit card companies and retailers on next-generation technology to secure payment transactions and prevent data breaches. Numerous interviews and articles in top-tier print publications and on broadcast television nationwide have positioned both EMV as the solution to avoiding future breaches and OT as the U.S. leader in producing the next generation of more secure chip cards. Coverage to date includes USA Today, the Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg TV. Nearly everyone in the country had at least one EMV card by the end of 2014. The company credits the campaign for helping increase chip card awareness and revenue in the U.S. substantially.


“French digital security company Oberthur Technologies has recently introduced the Motion Code™ credit card. Currently being tested by two financial institutions in France and a bank in Poland, the card has a small screen embedded on the back containing the security code or card verification value (CVV). … This technology makes it almost impossible for any hacker to use a stolen credit card number after the security code has changed.”


The owner of the plant, Oberthur Technologies, is racing to meet the banking industry’s demand for new cards embedded with a computer chip in addition to a traditional magnetic strip. The goal: to reduce card fraud by making it harder for thieves to create counterfeit cards. … “It took a very, very long time, and now it’s happening on an accelerated basis,” said Martin Ferenczi, president of North American operations for Paris-based Oberthur.


“What will happen in October of 2015 is that if your card is used fraudulently by counterfeing and if your financial institution has issued you a card with a chip, that financial institution will not anymore be responsible for the fraud,” said Martin Ferenczi, North American President of Oberthur Technologies. “The fraud will shift to the merchants, only if the merchant has not moved itself to the chip technology. The race is on. It will happen.”


“Using EMV or chip card technology at the user level is fairly easy. Converting to it is fairly complex. That’s why we believe all the key financial institutions have to rely on an expert company, and we are the best to do that,” said Didier Lamouche, CEO of Oberthur Technologies. “In this business the key word is trust. … The experience we have with countries that have migrated is that fraud decreases suddenly by a factor of 10.”


Part of the solution cited by many experts is for merchants and banks to phase out magnetic-stripe credit cards and convert to computer chip-based card technology, already in wide use in Europe. … “EMV allows it to be dynamic, so every transaction has a different set of data. If the same set of data is reused, the chip recognizes that and stops the transaction,” said Martin Ferenczi, North American President of Oberthur Technologies.


Martin Ferenczi, the North American president of French chip card maker, Oberthur Technologies, says wide use of chip cards in the U.S. is three to four years out. In the meantime, the best and brightest cybercriminals will take as much advantage as they can. “With a chip card, if data is stolen, it is useless because it was only relevant for that previous transaction,” Ferenczi said. “The U.S. is now the weakest link as migration to chip cards is in its infancy.”