The deadline for gas stations to implement EMV technology was originally set for October. However, in December 2016, Visa and Mastercard announced they would push the deadline back by three years.
The deadline's extension came as a result of gas station operators expressing their frustrations because they would not be able to fully implement EMV systems into their pumps in time, according to Bloomberg. Many older pumps would need to be wholly replaced, and removed from their concrete bases. The estimated cost to replace these pumps is $30,000 per gas station.
"Criminals have increasingly replicated customer cards with magnetic strips"
High costs being paid by customers for lack of EMV technology
The costs involved with EMV implementation, and its delay, affect not only gas station operators but banks and customers as well.
EMV cards create a unique code for each transaction, making credit and debit cards much more secure than their magnet based counterparts, which have a set code that can be easily duplicated.
CreditCards.com reported, criminals have increasingly replicated customer cards with magnetic strips at pump stations using what are known as skimming devices. Thieves attach one or sometimes multiple illegal gadgets to the internal computing systems and POS card processing terminals at gas pumps. Once installed, the inconspicuous devices copy card information from each transaction at the pump and store it on a microchip that someone comes back to retrieve.
In more recent cases, criminals have used skimmers that wirelessly send card information to a mobile device via Bluetooth or SMS text, making it so that no one needs to fetch the equipment, according to Krebs On Security.
Fueling stations in particular make for easy targets because most pumps have not yet been fitted with EMV technology and they are used by scores of customers throughout the day.
"The devices are being found at small merchants, large merchants, urban, rural, new and old convenience stores, so nobody is exempt," said Kara Gunderson, point-of-sale manager for Citgo Petrolum Corp., to CreditCards.com.
Until the gas station EMV implementation deadline is surpassed in 2020, banks are responsible for covering any stolen funds from the use of magnetic strip cards. After the cutoff date, reimbursement falls in the hands of the station from which the theft originated.
The longer it takes gas stations to transition from magnetic strip readings to EMV technology, the more opportunities criminals have to take advantage of their customers.