EMV chip cards, which stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, is a technology designed to protect you as a credit card holder and your personal information. In the United States, credit card fraud is a major problem and a problem that is growing at an increasing rate. To protect consumers, new technologies are being developed in an effort to prevent such fraud.
The way EMV cards work is you have a physical chip in your card, you can see the protective cover for the chip usually on the left side of the card, just above your credit card number. This chip acts as a replacement for the old magnetic strip used on the back of traditional cards.
The old magnetic strip technology, when swiped at a store, transmits your credit card information to that store. The problem with that technology, if someone gets that information, they can fraudulently use your credit card.
With the new EMV chip technology, each time you make a transaction, a unique code is generated and transmitted to the store. The code is only valid for that purchase and if someone gets the code, they will not be able to use it. It will be invalid after that purchase and new codes will be generated for each new purchase. This virtually eliminates the possibility of someone stealing your credit card information if you pay using the EMV chip technology.
There are still risks when using your credit card, so you should still practice caution with your credit card. First, not all stores and vendors have the equipment necessary to process EMV chip transactions. If the store does not have the equipment, you must still swipe the magnetic strip on the back of your card, ultimately making you still vulnerable to fraud. You should also practice caution when making online purchases, the EMV chip technology does not protect you when entering your credit card information into websites.
Not all credit cards offer the EMV chip technology, but an increasing number of companies are switching to the new technology because of the significant benefits it has for both consumers and the credit card companies themselves. Credit card companies have a mutual interest in preventing fraud, and the new EMV technology helps them do just that.
If you want the increased protection of a credit card with the new EMV chip technology but do not know how to use the card in store, it is fairly simple and easy to use. If the store has the equipment to process the chip, there will be a small slot on the card reader just below the number keypad. Place the chip end of your card into the slot and do not remove the card.
Unlike swiping a traditional magnetic strip, the chip must stay in the card reader for a moment while the transaction is processed. After you have inserted the card, follow the prompts on the screen of the card reader and it will tell you when to remove the card. If you do not know if a store accepts EMV chips, or if you are not sure how to use the card, ask someone at the store and they should be happy to help.