A group of attorneys general from eight states and the District of Columbia have jumped into the debate over PIN versus signature requirements for EMV cards, choosing the side of retailers.

The seven attorneys co-signed a letter sent Monday to the chief executives of the four largest credit card networks and four of the largest banks that issue cards. The officials urged the executives to require the use of PIN numbers, instead of signatures, on purchases made with EMV-chip cards.

The attorneys general said PINs provide greater protection from fraud and data breaches.

"Attackers have targeted payment systems and private financial information, seemingly exploiting our continued reliance on outdated and less secure magnetic stripe payment cards," the attorneys general said.

The letter was signed by the attorneys general from Connecticut, D.C., Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

The American Bankers Association has said that PIN requirements will not be adopted in the U.S.; the FBI in October removed a warning about data security from an announcement on EMV cards, prompting Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to demand the FBI explain if it bowed to pressure from the ABA.

The National Retail Federation said it "welcomed" the letter from the attorneys general.

"Top law enforcement officials and security experts agree that continued reliance on an illegible scrawl isn't good enough to protect American consumers when the technology of a secret, secure PIN is readily available," Mallory Duncan, the federation's general counsel, said in a news release.

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