Walmart Sues Visa Over Lack of PIN Use

Retailer’s legal challenge is about protecting consumers from fraud.

May 12, 2016

NEW YORK – This week Walmart Stores Inc. filed suit against Visa, saying the card company wants the retailer to use a less-secure method for verifying debit cards—as in chip and signature instead of the more secure chip and PIN method—to route transactions through its own networks to boost profits, reports Bloomberg.

"Visa has acknowledged in many other countries that chip-and-PIN offer greater security,” Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said in a statement. "Visa nevertheless has demanded that we allow fraud-prone signature verification for debit transactions in our U.S. stores because Visa stands to make more money processing those transactions."

The Wall Street Journal reports that many retailers and security experts say that EMV chip cards would be even more secure if customers are required to enter a PIN, which is the process for most countries that have implemented EMV at the point of sale. However, Visa, MasterCard and the banks issuing EMV cards maintain that consumers aren’t capable of remembering another four-digit PIN—even if it means protecting their private information from fraud and cybertheft.

NACS is educating Congress that PIN technology is a proven security solution—for both credit and debit transactions—available today. All EMV point-of-sale readers are PIN-enabled with encrypted security, and when PIN is required, whether a card number or the card itself is stolen, a PIN protects consumers against fraud. Policymakers in Washington have held several hearings examining the transition to EMV and the impact to small businesses, and NACS continues to educate legislators that chip-and-signature is not effective at protecting consumers without the additional security layer of PIN authentication.

The upgrade to EMV is a massive, estimated-$4 billion investment for the convenience and fuel retailing industry. Without the use of PIN, the investment in EMV technology falls short of providing customers with security against fraud. Learn more at