An Open Letter to the Class of 2016 from the Payments Industry

An Open Letter to the Class of 2016 from the Payments Industry

Dear Class of 2016 –


You’re about to enter the workforce.

Did you see all those credit card companies – Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover – exhibiting at random places on your campus the last few weeks of classes and exams? They’re there to sign you up for a credit card with incentives such as a free flight within the U.S. Or maybe a $50 gift card.

So, the good folks here at Instabill would like to offer some advice about some things that you can expect when using your credit card. See, your class is special. Yours is the first class to graduate since the October 2015 EMV liability shift. What’s that, you ask? It’s a long story, but it leads us to our first bit of advice:

Insert where you can. Try not to swipe.

The credit card you recently received has both an embedded chip and a magnetic stripe. Inserting your card at the checkout counter makes for a more secure transaction. That EMV liability shift I mentioned above? That means if you’re at the checkout, and the only option you have is swiping, it’s the merchant who is on the hook for losses in the event of a data breach for not upgrading their point-of-sale software.

Trust us on this.


Your Credit Card Will be Compromised

This one is as true as the night is dark.

While you’re e-mailing resumes and studying up on the hot industries in the U.S., let us tell you about one of the most profitable industries in some other parts of the world, like Eastern Europe and Asia: Consumer credit card hacking.

And these folks overseas are very, very good at it. While you were immersed in football games and frat parties, they took some retail giants like Home Depot, Target and Neiman Marcus for millions and made a lot of U.S. consumers and businesses very nervous.

You like to shop online, right? Be warned. Now that the U.S. is migrating to EMV chip credit cards – which are difficult to counterfeit – fraudsters are now hacking into e-commerce websites. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better!

Check your credit card statement (like, a few times a week) for credit card hacking

We know you will likely ignore this simple, one-minute request. However, there is a war going on and those young, strapping misled folks overseas want nothing more than to steal your personal information. The credit card companies are very good at spotting inconsistencies with your buying habits, but they’re not perfect.

Check your statements for signs of credit card hacking. It only takes a minute.

Thinking of Pursuing a Master’s Degree?

Speaking of hot industries, in case any of you are considering earning a master’s degree, we have some suggestions:

  • Information technology, specifically in the field of data forensics security: Some of these companies have more work than they know what to do with. As we noted above, while credit card security in the U.S. is slowly improving, the global hack-dom is setting its sights on e-commerce businesses. We saw it in the UK and Canada and it’s already started here.
  • Economics, with a concentration in chargeback mitigation. Don’t know what a chargeback is? Well then, study up, because an inappropriately-named crime called friendly fraud – when a fraudster purchases something with his/her credit card, then calls the issuer and tells them it wasn’t them – is growing like crazy. Like data forensics security firms, these chargeback management companies can’t keep up with the demand.
  • Professional Hacker. Already have an IT degree? Pretty good at hacking into websites, are you? I once met a guy at a tradeshow in the U.K., an Eastern European native who was hacking into e-commerce websites for a living. Then he turned legit and got a job with one of the largest financial firms in the world. Now he gets paid to find security deficiencies in his firm’s website.

We’ll go as far to say that these industries will be recession-proof for the next 10-12 years.

So go forward, and spend wisely.

And trust us about inserting instead of swiping.

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