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EMV Cards - What You Need to Know

Chip-enabled card technology, also known as EMV, was designed specifically to prevent card counterfeiting and combat fraud.

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Stepping up security

Chip-enabled debit and credit card technology was designed specifically to prevent card counterfeiting and combat fraud. This technology is also referred to as EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard®, and Visa® – the three companies that originally created the standard. Now this highly effective, more secure technology has become the global standard and is spreading throughout the U.S. in response to the rampant, large volume of fraud in recent years.

A little chip that does big things

Chip-enabled cards use a unique microchip embedded in the face of the card to create a one-time communication between the card and point-of-sale machine (also referred to as a terminal), generating a unique transaction code. The data from this transaction is not stored and cannot be duplicated — which means that any new transactions attempted using that same data would be denied.

The microchips within the cards also carry security credentials, known as “keys,” that prevent the skimming or cloning of cards – the most common way that cards are counterfeited.

Chip vs. Stripe

Because the new chip-enabled cards also retain magnetic stripe technology, the actions you take during your day-to-day purchases won’t really change that much. If you are conducting a transaction with a chip-enabled machine, you will be prompted to insert your card into the terminal and leave it for the remainder of the transaction so that the chip can be read and your purchase processed. Don’t forget to retrieve your card once your transaction is complete!
(For chip-enabled debit cards: Depending on how the merchant’s terminal is set up, you may or may not be prompted to select Credit or Debit, which may affect your ability to receive cash back.)

If the merchant doesn’t have a chip-enabled terminal, you’ll just swipe your card using the magnetic stripe and continue with the transaction as you normally would. If you’re not sure what type of machine you’re using, don’t worry — the terminal, and generally the cashier, will tell you!

How to use your chip-enabled debit card

Chip-Enabled Terminal Regular Point-of-Sale Terminal            
Insert card into terminal & leave it for remainder of transaction     Swipe card using magnetic stripe
Debit cards: Select Credit or Debit, if prompted Debit cards: Select Credit or Debit, if prompted
Sign or enter PIN to verify transaction Sign or enter PIN to verify transaction
Retrieve card once transaction is complete