EMV: The Who/What/When/Where/Why

It’s okay if ‘EMV’ sparks confusion, frustration or worry, we have gone through all iterations at different times. The thing to note is this transition is with good intention, and in the long run will reduce fraudulent charges across the entire country.


Everyone! Over the last six months banks and credit card companies have been sending out new chipped cards. If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry! You can still use regular stripped cards, but those with the chips have increased security keeping both you and the merchant safer from fraud.



Let’s begin with a brief refresher on just what EMV is. EMV (aka EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa) is a sometimes ovular, other times rectangular microchip embedded into a credit card. Instead of the typical swipe of the card so the machine can read your card’s unique magnetic strip, you insert the card (termed ‘card dipping’) and wait for the transaction to process.



The magical day is October 1st. This date signifies when it is assumed a merchant will have the capability to accept chipped cards. What changes after the sun rises on that Thursday morning is as simple as this: if a customer uses a fraudulent chipped card at a store who doesn’t yet have the ability to read that chip and instead swipes the card, the merchant is liable for that fraud. The basis behind this is assuming that if the merchant had the hardware to read that fraudulent chipped card, it would have been able to deny the transaction.


Everywhere! The rest of the world has utilized this technology for nearly a decade, and because of this, half of the credit card fraud in the world exists solely in the United States.

Keep in mind that EMV compliance at this point is only for when the credit card is present, e.g. retailers.  At this point, it does not impact online stores or those that process credit cards via phone or via credit cards information on file.


The United States is the last major market to adopt EMV.  Other countries experienced a dramatic reduction in credit card fraud.  Once these other countries adopted EMV, couterfeiters headed to the U.S., due to the less secure, older magnetic stripe interface.  In 2013, credit card fraud totaled $13 billion worlwide, of which 51% is in the U.S.  Huge.  The intention, of course, is for the U.S. to experience a similar reduction.

The name of the game is ‘security’. The technology provided by the chips is many many times more secure than that of the stripes. Card dipping creates a completely unique transaction code that changes upon every use. Magnetic strips have one unique code, which if someone is able to get a hold of it, they can use it elsewhere. Where as with a chip, after approval of the transaction, that unique code associated with your card is already outdated and a new one is generated, keeping both your information and card safe.


This is where it gets tricky again if you’re a merchant/vendor, but that’s why we’re here to help. In order to accept EMV compliant cards, merchants must have machines that can read the chips. For integration purposes, your POS software must integrate with that new machine. This is where it can get a bit cloudy, so please feel free to contact us with any questions, we’re always happy to help.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *