Three things retailers say about security this holiday season

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COLUMBIA - According to the National Retail Federation, there's good news for shoppers worried about data breaches and the security of personal information this holiday shopping season. 

The NRF has three things shoppers should know before swiping their cards at retailers: 

First, new chips on a lot of shoppers' debit cards may take longer to process at the register, but make transactions safer. 

Nick Kieffer, Retail Strategy Executive for Columbia's Landmark Bank, said instead of passing along a credit card number after swiping, the chips give the retailer an encrypted number. This prevents the retailer from ever having access to a consumer's personal information. However, the safety of the chips is only guaranteed in "card present transactions."

"Make sure you know who you're purchasing from," Kieffer said. "Be careful who you're transacting business with, specifically online." 

Columbia resident Kristen Adam said she generally doesn't have concerns when shopping, but admits that may not be the best policy.

"Honestly, I probably should be, but I'm just really not. I think I get a lot of safety because we live in Columbia, Missouri, and it seems like a safe place to be," Adam said. 

Adam has a chip on one of her debit cards, but she said she doesn't feel any more or less secure when she's shopping as a result. 

Secondly, according to the NRF, retail IT teams have already tackled the newest detected malware that causes data breaches. 

Debra Lake of Central Bank said she's seen an improvement in malware detection and defense. 

"Merchants and retailers, in that respect, are definitely taking more and more precautions to safeguard transactions as they're coming through," Lake said. "And it's ensuring it's not out there in a way that it can easily be gotten to."  

Lastly, U.S. retailers are spending more money and time than ever before on protecting its customers, the NRF said.

"Retailers are definitely putting forth a lot of effort in ensuring they are putting forth the most secure payment technology," Lake said. "Whether that be accepting EMV chip cards, or mobile payments like your Apple Pay or Master Pass, there are definitely positive strides taking place there." 

However, good old fashioned consciousness is always the best defense against fraud when shopping this season, she said.

"Being aware of your surroundings, shadowing the pin pad as you're entering your pin and just having your card in hand as you're making your transaction," Lake said. 

 

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