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General - Frequently asked Questions - EMV - Chip cards

FAQs for business

Learn more about EMV

What is EMV?

EMV chip technology is now the global standard for credit card and debit card payments. Named after its original developers (Europay, MasterCard® and Visa®), this technology features payment instruments (cards, mobile phones, etc.) with embedded microprocessor chips that store and protect cardholder data. This standard has many names worldwide and may also be referred to as: "chip and PIN" or "chip and signature."

What is chip technology?

Chip technology is an evolution in our payment system that will help increase security, reduce card-present fraud and enable the use of future value-added applications. Chip-enabled cards are standard bank cards that are embedded with a micro computer chip. Some may require a PIN instead of a signature to complete the transaction process.

How does chip technology work?

Your EMV-enabled device will communicate with the chip inside the customer's chip card to determine whether or not the card is authentic. Generally, the terminal will prompt the customer to sign or enter a PIN to validate their identity. This process enhances the authentication of both the card and customer, effectively reducing the possibility that your business will accept a counterfeit card or be held liable for a fraud-related chargeback.

What makes EMV different than the traditional magnetic stripe card payment?

Simply put, EMV (also referred to as chip-and-PIN, chip-and-signature, chip-and-choice or generally as chip technology) is the most recent advancement in a global initiative to combat fraud and protect sensitive payment data in the card-present environment. Payment data is more secure on a chip-enabled payment card than on a magnetic stripe (magstripe) card, as the former supports dynamic authentication, while the latter does not (the data is static). Consequently, data from a traditional magstripe card can be copied (skimmed) – enabling criminals to reproduce counterfeit cards for use in both the retail and the CNP  (Card-Not-Present) environment. Chip (EMV) technology is effective in combating counterfeit fraud, in the card-present environment, with its dynamic authentication capabilities. This is when the dynamic values that are stored in the chip are verified by the terminal, ensuring the authenticity of the card.

How is a chip-enabled card different from a traditional payment card?

A chip payment card looks just like a traditional card with an embedded chip in addition to the standard magnetic stripe on the back of the card. What you see on the card is not the actual microchip but a protective overlay. The microchip provides an additional level of authenticity for the transaction.

Is this technology unique to the United States?

No. The chip technology standard for payment was first used in France in 1992. Today, there are more than 1 billion chip cards used around the world. The U.S. is one of the few industrialized nations that has not fully transitioned to this technology standard.

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