EMV, commonly known as "Chip & PIN" or "Chip & Signature", is a technology that is replacing the magnetic data stripe on the back of credit cards. It is a small microchip embedded on the front of the card that is very hard to duplicate. The goal of EMV is to reduce credit and debit card fraud.

EMV stands for "EuroPay Mastercard Visa", as they were the original companies that developed the technology. EMV was introduced in Europe in 2006, and in Canada in 2010. Interac Debit also changed over to the EMV standard in 2010. The US followed suit with their EMV liability shift in October of 2015.

EMV is often referred to as "Chip & PIN". This is because the most common way to use an EMV card is to insert the Chip and enter your PIN. However, this is an oversimplification of the EMV standard, which also encompasses other transactions 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 (near-field communication), where customers tap a chip card against the terminal to pay.

Is swipe going away?

Not immediately, but its removal is on the road-map for Visa and Mastercard in the coming years. Merchants can still swipe credit cards but are exposing their businesses to the risk of fraudulent transactions. Most chip cards will also have the magnetic swipe on the side as merchants transition towards accepting EMV chip card technology.

What about manually keyed and ecommerce transactions?

The EMV technology does not impact card-not-present (ecommerce) transactions as it only deals with card-present (retail) transactions. The policies in place for manually keyed transactions have not changed so they are not impacted by EMV chip card technology. However, this can change the way fraudsters target businesses, and fraud may shift towards keyed in and ecommerce transactions, so you should ensure you are using best practices for these payment methods.  

How can I accept EMV transactions?

You simply need a credit/debit machine that supports EMV chip card transactions. When customers are ready to pay, they use an EMV chip-enabled card.

What if a customer doesn’t have an EMV chip card? 

The decision to accept the card by swiping it is up to you. If the customer doesn’t have a chip card, you can ask for another form of payment. Most banks are issuing all customers with EMV chip cards, so they will gradually replace cards that can only be swiped.   

Learn more about POS systems that are EMV-enabled.  



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