The Deadline for EMV Credit Cards Has Arrived: What Does It Mean?

Secure Chip Credit CardToday marks the official deadline when chip-enabled credit cards are to become the industry standard. Yet, according to a new survey from ACI Worldwide, 59% of consumers have not received their new, chip-enabled credit cards and 67% of credit card users have yet to receive information about the new chip based credit cards. Almost as concerning is that only a third (32%) of those who have received their EMV cards are aware that the US is moving to EMV, with the majority not knowing the real reason they received a new card.

What is EMV?
While there is a lot of different terminology in use for chip-based cards (eg. Chip Card, EMV card, Smart Chip, etc.), they all basically are referring to the same technology. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, who maintain the chip technology standards.

EMV has two primary benefits for consumers: 1) It should make your international travel easier, as many merchants, especially in Europe, will not accept credit cards that do not use a chip and 2) it makes your credit card information more secure, as they are designed with an additional layer of fraud protection that transforms cardmember information into a unique code when used at a chip-enabled terminal, making it much more difficult to duplicate or copy.

What does this mean for consumers?
The good news is that, practically speaking, the move to EMV from traditional magnetic-strip card technology does not change a lot from the consumer’s point of view. If you haven’t received a new chip-enabled EMV card yet, your old magnetic strip cards will still work properly. The shift to EMV cards also will not affect your legal rights that protect you from credit card and debit card fraud–those protections remain in place, as before.

What will change slightly is how you interact with the payment terminal. Instead of swiping your card, you’ll insert your card into a slot at the front of the payment terminal. (If you try to swipe on a terminal that supports a card with the chip, you’ll get an error message prompting you to insert the card into the machine instead.) It may also take a bit longer to process your transaction under the new system, as terminals take slightly longer to read a chip card than a magnetic stripe, so make sure to wait for the terminal’s instructions before removing your card. Then, you’ll still need to sign for your purchase.

What does this mean for merchants?
The biggest change comes for merchants, who are may now be responsible for covering the cost of fraud that occurs if they don’t have a new chip reader installed. Effective today, merchants will assume liability for any fraudulent transactions that occur because they are using a less secure technology. For instance, if a customer uses a chip card, but the merchant runs a transaction under the old system with a swipe and signature, the merchant will be responsible for any costs arising from fraud. Previously, the issuing bank was always responsible for absorbing those losses.

For more information on EMV, see

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