AAFES stores temporarily disable cash-back option
June 14, 2016
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service has deactivated cash-back options at its stores because of a problem for MasterCard users with new “chip and PIN” equipment.
“Rather than be inconsistent and have some customers able to get cash back while others cannot, we’ve temporarily deactivated the cash-back option until MasterCard solves the issue, which we anticipate will be in the next 30 days,” AAFES spokesman Chris Ward said in an email Monday.
The equipment, which reads credit and debit cards that include electronic chips and personal identification numbers, is being installed in on-base stores worldwide at the behest of banks.
“The Exchange had no choice but to make the switch,” Ward said.
The equipment includes a front slot where customers can insert chip-and-PIN cards, which provide better security than older cards that rely on magnetic strips or mechanical imprints and signatures for verification.
Chip-and-PIN cards are less vulnerable to fraud than the old-style cards, a Forbes magazine report said.
Criminals steal card numbers, forge signatures and can read and clone a card’s magnetic strip. Americans account for close to half of global credit-card fraud, according to the report.
The United Kingdom, which introduced chip-and-PIN technology more than a decade ago, has seen fraud cut by nearly 60 percent, the Forbes story said.
Including a personal identification number can make a transaction up to seven times more secure, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve.
“The Exchange has currently converted 200-300 stores worldwide to the new system with more being converted daily and there have been very few complaints,” Ward said.