Visa CEO: We need better security, EMV chips, tokens

Visa CEO Charlie Scharf said his company will "continue to move the industry towards the adoption of new safeguards including EMV chip and tokenization."

Visa CEO Charlie Scharf said the data breaches at retailers highlight the need for new security technologies as well as the adoption of chip and tokens.

The comments come after data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus. 

emv chip

Scharf, in Visa's fiscal first quarter earnings release, said:

The recent series of data compromises are terribly unfortunate for everyone involved. However, the established and well understood rules that govern traditional networks coupled with the cooperation between merchants, financial institutions, and the networks have minimized the level of the monetary losses. But these incidents remind us of the need for all of us to continue to work together to secure payments from criminals. Visa is committed to ensuring our network operates at the highest level of security available and will continue to move the industry towards the adoption of new safeguards including EMV chip and tokenization. We also will work with all participants to look beyond these technologies.

EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) chips are commonly used in Europe where credit cards have integrated circuits as an additional layer of security. In the U.S. these chips have been proposed and put off for years. Credit card companies in the U.S. are coming around to them slowly. American Express issues EMV cards for customers that travel internationally. Other banks issue EMV cards as an option.

Retailers such as Wal-Mart already have systems that can take EMV cards.

Given the breaches at Target, Nieman Marcus and others chances are better that EMV cards have more of a shot in the U.S.