Several States Want To Use Credit Cards At EV Stations, Security Concerns Arise

A number of states across the U.S. are proposing to install magnetic stripe credit card readers at publicly-funded electric vehicle charging stations – and that’s causing concern among security experts.

Tech Crunch reports that most current EV charging station rely on a credit card linked through an app or contactless payments with RFID-enabled credit cards or a driver’s smartphone or smartwatch. Not only are contactless payments easy, but they are also very secure and reduce the chance of cards being cloned or having data skimmed.

Also Read: Electrify America And ChargePoint To Simplify EV Charging In The U.S.

Despite this, states including Arizona, California, Nevada, Vermont, and those in New England may introduce more traditional card readers.

“While these proposals may be well-intentioned, they could expose drivers to new security risks while providing cybercriminals with easy access to attractive targets,” security researchers April Wright and Jayson Street said in a report from the Digital Citizens Alliance. “These proposals would effectively reverse the industry’s careful considerations regarding EV charger payment options.”

The report went on to state that charging stations don’t have security measures and aren’t always populated, meaning they could attract criminals who could install machines to steal credit card data without detection. The states considering the introduction of more traditional credit card readers re reportedly considering doing so for ‘ease of use’ purposes.

Tech Crunch notes that the continued reliance on magnetic stripe cards across the United States remains an issue as data can be skimmed off them much easier than more secure chip-and-PIN cards frequently used in other parts of the world.

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  • FlameWater

    Let’s go back in time to solve a non-problem

  • Mr. EP9

    Yeah, it’s not like some criminals can’t put a credit card skimmer on those or anything on the traditional credit card readers. No, let’s not skimp on security for “ease of use” purposes.

  • Haggy

    Fake news. Or just plain ignorance on the part of reporters who don’t bother reading the text of proposed laws. California is planning to require that charging stations accept credit cards, but there’s nothing at all in the plan about mag stripe readers. It’s explicit about EVM chip support. It’s also explicit about NFC for app support, and presumably companies will use that for “tap to pay” NFC cards too. But mag stripe readers aren’t mentioned anywhere in the government’s proposal.

    I haven’t read proposals from every state, but I don’t see why any of them would explicitly ask for something that nobody wants or needs. The EV charging companies would simply lobby to get that taken out of any bill so they could use the same equipment as in California, where about half of all US EVs are currently located.

    Most people are using apps as it is, so it won’t be hard to satisfy that requirement, and some providers will send people cards with a code, but none uses mag stripes now and I don’t see why they’d want to add one. Adding an EVM chip reader is much simpler and secure.

    It’s most likely that people hear “credit card readers” and automatically assume that it means mag stripe readers without even bothering to read what the governments are asking for.

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