EMV or Chip and PIN Cards
  • 26 Sep 2022
  • 2 Minutes to read

EMV or Chip and PIN Cards

EMV stands for EuroPay Mastercard Visa, after the three original companies that developed the standard.

EMV was introduced in Europe in 2006, in Canada in 2010, and in the US in 2015. Interac Debit, which applies to Canadian merchants only, also changed over to the EMV standard in 2010.

EMV is often referred to as Chip & Pin because the most common way to use an EMV-enabled card is to insert the chip and then enter your personal PIN code. However, this is an oversimplification of the EMV standard, which also encompasses other transaction modes such as "Chip & Signature," where customers enter a card into a terminal and then sign instead of adding a PIN, as well as "Tap & Pay," where customers tap a chip card or phone against the terminal to pay.
credit card in a terminal

Using EMV to Reduce Liability

While EMV has not completely replaced swipe for credit card transactions, if you choose to swipe credit cards instead of using EMV-enabled hardware, due to the recent liability shift, you are exposing your business to the risk of fraudulent transactions.

Card-Present vs. Keyed

To accept an EMV transaction all you need to do is use a terminal machine that supports EMV chip card transactions. When customers are ready to pay for their purchases, they simply use an EMV chip-enabled card. If a customer does not have an EMV chip card, it is up to you if you'd like to accept their card - and potentially open yourself up to unnecessary risk - or ask for an alternate form of payment.

EMV technology does not impact card not-present (ecommerce or manually keyed) transactions as it only deals with card-present (retail) transactions. The requirements for manually keyed-in transactions have not changed, so they have not yet been impacted by EMV chip card technology.
credit card tapping a terminal

Near Field Communication

NFC (or Near-Field Communication) is a technology used in a multitude of contexts from product scanners and key fobs to file sharing and children's toys. If a credit card, debit card, smart phone, or wearable device is NFC-enabled, then they are able to pay for a purchase by simply holding their card or device close to the terminal, essentially facilitating contactless payments. Even though the card or device needs to be within about an inch and half of the terminal in order for the communication to occur, NFC payments are also commonly referred to as "Tap & Pay," "Tap & Go," or simply "Tap," because the user can simply tap their card or device on the terminal's surface to complete the transaction. Mobile and wearable payment technology, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, also rely on NFC technology to complete transactions.

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