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All-Things-Digital: Coffee with CART (4/16/15)

As retailers strive to exert their strength in the constantly evolving retail scene, advancing technology is top of mind. Data security and mobile payments were the main topics of the April 16, 2015 Coffee with CART session. Data security is a major concern for retailers, especially after the past year of highly publicized data breaches of prominent retailers like Target and Home Depot. The CART team continued to discuss their theme of the month (mobile payments), focusing mostly on Apple’s new Apple Pay system.

Retailers’ #1 concern: Data security

Retailers surveyed by Progressive Grocer listed data security as the number one “issue keeping you up at night.” A year ago, data security was only number five on the list of issues concerning retailers. This concern seems justified considering the findings of the Data Breach Investigations Report, which found that retail accounted for 7.7% of all breaches thus far in 2015.

Facial recognition technology

American Express Co. has recently started testing facial recognition technology as a new data security method for mobile devices, according to the Wall Street Journal. Customers could potentially use facial recognition when conducting sensitive transactions like money transfers on their mobile devices. The technology is not yet ready to launch but their progress thus far looks promising.

Are chip cards secure?

In efforts to reduce fraudulent transactions, banks have started distributing chip-based debit and credit cards, but how can we be sure that chip cards will be more secure? An article from Krebs security news reported in the past week 3+ U.S. financial institutions received fraudulent transactions reaching tens of thousands of dollars. These unauthorized charges are believed to be charging to card accounts recently stolen in retail security breaches. What’s really troubling is that these fraudulent transactions were submitted through Visa and Mastercard’s chip-enabled networks — even though the bank had not yet sent chip-enabled cards to any of these account holders.

Shifting liability for fraudulent charges

As of October 2015, EMV technology in the U.S. will shift liability for fraud to whichever party uses “less secure technology” — the merchant or the financial institution. Merchants who do not accept chip-based cards will be held liable for fraudulent charges. On the other hand, if a bank does not issue chip cards but the merchant has chip capabilities, then the bank will be held liable. The purpose of this shift is to persuade retailers and banks to adopt chip cards and reduce total credit card fraud. Essentially, retailers have to “re-terminalize” to accept chip-based cards if they want to avoid liability for fraudulent transactions.

Topic of the month: Mobile payments

When speaking of mobile payments, the CART team is referring to in-store transactions completed using phones instead of physical card swipes or cash. As discussed in Andrea’s recap of 4/2/15 Coffee with CART, mobile payments are estimated to grow extremely quickly: to $800+ billion by 2019. Business Insider credits Apple Pay’s growing popularity.

Apple Pay: Most secure digital payment

In a recent interview by Bloomsberg, Guy Chiarello claimed that Apple Pay is one of the most secure digital payments in the industry. Chiarello is the president of First Data, which is a data security company that processes half of all U.S. credit and debit card transactions. He emphasized that every transaction with Apple Pay is completely encrypted and tokenized. Chiarello concluded that Apple Pay’s security has improved just as the consumer experience has improved.


The Coffee with CART team claims that the march toward all-things-digital is inevitable. There are many positive and negative aspects to the digital world, but no matter how you feel about advancing technology, retailers need to adapt to it. Technology isn’t going away any time soon. Rather, it is becoming more and more integral to consumers’ daily lives. Retailers who utilize technology with their consumers realize just how beneficial technology can be.

Why do I work at AWG? “I love working with independent retail stores to improve their in-store marketing strategies. When consumers compare products at grocery stores, many rely on in-store nutrition information and in-store advertising to make their decisions. By growing the nutrition and rebate programs at AWG stores, I implicitly help thousands of grocery shoppers make healthier choices every day.” -Michelle