What are these new EMV Computer Chips in Credit Cards!?

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If you’ve been paying attention, slowly the various media outlets have began the chatter about EMV credit cards. CNN recently did some coverage on how to make credit cards more secure while CNBC began reporting on this transition as of last October. The switch is coming and it affects everyone!

If you have yet to receive the new credit card, you may soon. The credit cards all look exactly the same, except now, each credit card will come equipped with a computer chip built right into the card.

The EMV chip will look like this:

big credit card

When I personally hit the streets asking businesses if they knew about the EMV transition, a perplexed look fell upon their face followed by the question, “EMV, what’s that?” Here is the short answer, all credit cards will now have a computer chip within them. Yes, built right into the credit card, a computer chip.

All new credit cards will have this computer chip in place meaning that the payment processing industry will be forever changed, literally. The magnetic stripe will soon be a thing of the past as new EMV capable terminals will soon be the only way to accept payments.

Here is everything you need to know about the transition:

What is EMV?

EMV stands for EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa. EMV is the new global standard for authenticating credit and debit card transactions ensuring the security and global interoperability of chip-based payment cards. That means, every business and consumer will soon be set up to either pay or accept EMV transactions.

When is this Happening?

The EMV transition must be complete by October 1, 2015! Yes, it is happening that soon. If you own a business and accept credit card payments, you need to pay close attention to this next part…

Why is this Important for a Business Owner?

Due to the high vulnerability of fraud with the current magnetic stripes, the switch to EMV will provide more security within the payment industry. And what that actually means is, if you’re not accepting EMV payments as of October of this year, your business will be held liable for any and all fraudulent activity that takes place! That’s right, you the business owner will be at fault.

What Does the Computer Chip Actually Do?

Why add the computer chip? For better security of your money, of course! No more need to carry around those bulky As Seen On TV aluminum wallets. The current credit cards in circulation with the magnetic stripe contain unchanging data. This means that anyone who gains access to that data can now use that data to also make purchases and copy that data over and over again.

The EMV computer chip contains data that has the ability to change so that every time an EMV card is used for payment, the card’s chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again.

If I have an EMV credit card and want to use it at a business who does not yet support the new technology, will it work?

Yes your card will still work. The first round of EMV cards will be equipped with both chip and magnetic stripe functions so consumer spending is not disrupted while the merchants are completing the transition.


Stay tuned, we will update you with more information about the changes throughout the year. Hopefully we answered some of your questions, but if not, tweet us @TrueMerchant!