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EMV Chip Credit Card Technology FAQ

Cards with EMV chip technology are becoming the world standard in credit card technology. The technology is being pushed by a consortium of credit card companies called “EMVCo”.

EMVCo is managed by the most advanced and richest creditors in the world, with control split equally among Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card, China UnionPay, and Japanese Credit Bureau (JCB). These are the prime movers in the industry anyway, but the list should indicate how profoundly EMV chips are going to change the finance and borrowing industries.

To give shoppers and merchants a better understanding of what the change means to them, I’ve written an FAQ as a guide to the EMV changeover. A recent study showed that 62% of VISA and MasterCard cardholders still do not use EMV chip credit card technology. The controversial Payment Networks’ Liability Shift of October 2015 shifts a good deal of liability on cardholders and away from the issuers of credit, which could have a major impact on you.

What this means is money gets taken out of your pocket if an identity thief steals your information. During a short grace period, you’ll be charged a $50 liability for unauthorized charges. Shortly, that number increases to $500. By next year, those who have their identity stolen and aren’t using EMV chip technology are going to be liable for unlimited charges–people’s credit rating and bank account will be ruined. So read on to learn what you and your family needs to do to protect yourself.

EMV Chip Credit Cards USA

Most of the information in this article is going to be focused on the USA, instead of the international market. Cardholders in India, Australia, or Europe might have very different policies, local laws, or technological restraints. For instance, the DBS EMV smarts cards of Singapore are going to use slightly different swipe policies and pin number information. This guide deals mainly with VISA and MasterCard payment cards, whether it includes credit, debit, or prepair. Citibank, Capital One, and Chase cards are covered.

With that in mind, here are some frequently asked questions you’ll want to know, which are offered in an easy-to-follow Q&A form. I hope this helps clear-up any confusion.

What Is EMV?

EMV Black Credit Card

Here is a closer look at the EMV chip technology on a typical credit card.

EMV is a chip technology designed in partnership by “Europay, MasterCard, and Visa”–which lend the technology its codename in acronym form. The EMV chip is becoming a global standard for shoppers using both credit and debit cards.

These smart cards uses chip technology to provide an additional layer of security when swiping cards. It is used for plastic charge cards, mobile smartphones, and other forms of electronic payment. It protects your data by creating a unique code which changes every single time the card is swiped.

It has different brand names or phrases attached to it, depending on the region it’s being discussed. Thus, you’ll hear phases like “chip and signature” or “chip and pin”, but these are referring to the same process.

What Is Chip Technology?

Devices with chip technology have a microchip added to them. This piece of technology allows the card to do several things which old dumb cards couldn’t do. It makes it much harder for identity thieves and other fraudsters to use fake magnetic strips to steal your information and charge payments to consumers.

It also helps to eliminate much of the fraud encountered by merchants and processors. All of that’s good, but the Liability Shift procedure means vendors need to upgrade their technology to accommodate EMV payments, or else they are going to be liable for any fraud which could have been prevented.

Which Cards Have EMV Technology?

The six members of EMVCo are issuing new upgraded cards to their members as you read this. In many cases, cards have been issued in the months leading up to October 2015, which is a pivotal time in regards to the liability shift.

As the stats imply, only 38% of cardholders have the new technology at present. As the months pass, the percentages should rise by a wide margin. Below is a partial (if substantial) list of major EMV-enhanced credit cards. Keep in mind this is a site for people with bad credit, so merchants should ignore my notes on which programs this site recommends.

American Express

  • Platinum
  • Business Platinum
  • Gold Delta Skymiles
  • Delta Amex cards
  • Platinum Delta Skymiles
  • Delta Reserve
  • Blue Cash EveryDay
  • EveryDay Preferred
  • Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (RECOMMENDED)
  • Asiana Airlines American Express
  • Plenti Credit Card from American Express
  • The Amex EveryDay Credit Card
  • The Amex EveryDay Preferred from American Express
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
  • American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
  • The Platinum Card from American Express
  • American Express Green Card
  • Amex Gold Card

Chase

  • Chase Freedom
  • Chase Slate
  • British Airways Visa Signature
  • Chase Marriot Rewards Visa
  • Citi Hilton Visa Signature
  • Marriot Rewards Premier Visa
  • Hyatt Visa
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (RECOMMENDED)
  • JP Morgan Palladium Visa
  • JP Morgan Select Visa Signature

Capital One EMV Cards

  • Capital One Credit Card (basic)
  • Capital One Venture Rewards
  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards
  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards

Bank of America Cards

  • BankAmericard Credit Card
  • BankAmericard Cash Rewards
  • BankAmericard Travel Rewards
  • BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card for Students
  • BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students
  • BankAmericard Visa for Students

Citi

  • Citi Hilton HHonors Reservve
  • Citi Hilton Visa Signature
  • Citi Executive AAdvantage World
  • AAdvantage Platinum Select
  • AAdvantage old
  • Citi ThankYou Card
  • Citi Prestige
  • ThankYou Premier
  • ThankYou Preferred
  • Diamond Preferred
  • Citi: All consumer and college credit cards

MasterCard EMV Tech

  • Bank of America Spirit Airlines World
  • Barclaycard
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite
  • The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite
  • Upromise World
  • Carnival World
  • Diamond Resorts International
  • Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard
  • Norwegian Cruise Line World MasterCard
  • USAA Platinum World MasterCard

More VISA and Amex EMV Cards (Chip + PIN Cards)

  • Amazon Credit Card
  • PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature
  • Wells Fargo (PIN) Propel World Amex (RECOMMENDED)
  • Hyatt Credit Card
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • United MileagePlus Club Card
  • US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa
  • US Bank Korean Air SkyPass Visa Signature
  • US Bank Korean Air SkyPass Visa Classic
  • Bank of America Card
  • BankAmericard Travel Rewards
  • Barclaycard Arrival
  • Wells Fargo Propel World
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Arrival Plus
  • Alaska Airlines Visa
  • British Airways Visa Signature
  • Marriott Rewards Premier
  • United MileagePlus Explorer
  • Royal Caribbean Visa Signature
  • Discover It Double Cash (RECOMMENDED)
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier
  • Delta Reserve
  • Discover: All consumer and college credit cards
  • Wells Fargo: All consumer and college credit cards

This isn’t a complete listing, but it should give you an idea of the scope of this changeover and the logistical problems created in changing over to EMV chip-enabled cards. Hopefully, shoppers at your location have been upgraded. If not, merchants and processors need to start following-up with issuers, because the cost of inaction could be huge.

Do Merchants Have Incentives to Accept Chip Cards?

EMV Guide to Merchants

Merchants and Processors Need to Pay Closer Attention to the EMV Cards Than Consumers Should.

Yes. American Express, VISA, MasterCard, and Discover have issued upcoming rules and guidleines for merchants and processors. These policies are going to encourage vendors to support EVM chip technology.

For instance, the payment brands have announced programs which waive a merchant’s annual PCI-DSS audit, if 75% of their brand-specific payments in a year are processed through contactless and dual contact EMV certified devcies.

A negative incentive is also in-effect. The impending chip liability shift means mearchants who don’t investment in the new tech could be held financially responsible for card-presetn counterfeit. Merchants and processsors who allow lost and stolen fraud which could have been prevented by a chip-enabled POS system might find themselves liable for those transactions. It’s a huge incentive to adopt new policies.

Vendors who want to upgrade the support for EMV Discover Cards should call 1-800-533-4912. As I find counterpart numbers for the other companies, I’ll post that information here.

Is Chip Technology Unique to the United States or an International Change?

No. Chip technology became is not a US invention. It was first used in France in 1992. Since then, 1 billion chip cards are used aroun the globe. In fact, the USA is one of the few western countries which has not transitioned to this newer fraud-resistant upgrade. For all the talk of this changeover being driven by all-powerful U.S. corporations, they credit card companies have been dragging their feet for years on implimenting these changes.

Does This Standard Apply to Gas Transactions?

Not yet, but it will. While most retailers need to have changes completed by October 2105, petroleum pay-at-pump merchants receive a bit more of a grace period. Gas merchants need to support EMV by October 2017.

How Are Consumers and Merchants Impacted by the Liability Shift?

The liability shift encourages early adoption, because it shifts liability onto the merchants. Chip-on-chip transactions (a chip card swiped by a chip-reader) provides what’s called “dynamic authentication data”, which protects both parties. From the vendor’s perspective, when a counterfeit magnetic stripe card is presented at your stores and retail outlets, liability for the transaction reverts back to the card issuer.

If you don’t make the necessary changes, the liability falls right back on your head.

What Will EMV Migration Do to the Card-Not-Present (CNP) Merchants?

CNP merchant are those which use your number over the phone or the Internet. These are the most vulnerable and the ones most-often used for fraud, so it stands to reason the liability shift is eventually going to hit these merchants, though it hasn’t yet.

Also, as fraudsters find it harder to hit stores with fraudulent magnetic strips, they are going to take more of their scummy business online. The CNP merchants are next-in-line for a massive wave of fraud, so they need to get their proverbial ducks in a row. The need to know their customers’ habits, beyond just AVS and CVV. Also, technological experts are suggesting they stop using Address Verification and card validation values (aka: security codes) as their sole fraud detectors.

Studies have shown that the false-positive factor is high when these methods are used alone. Unfortunately, you’ll need to upgrade your technology to to confirm fraudulent activity and mitigate its damage to you and your business.

How Long Will Dumb Transactions Work?

As far as I can tell, the card issers are going to continue to support “Future Proof Terminals” for the time being. They would lose a lot of money if they didn’t. But they are going to encourage you to move away from that method in the near-future, so be ready to suffer the consequences if you don’t upgrade soon.

This should cover the basics of EMV chip credit cards technology upgrade process. The bottom line is you need to be aware of the Liability Shift and follow the steps in this FAQ to assure you comply with EMVCo standards. If not, you could lose thousands of dollars to fraud.

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