A major change is underway for the credit card processing industry in the United States, and it’s spelled E-M-V.
EMV® is a global standard for credit and debit cards that’s based on chip card technology. It is a joint effort between Europay, MasterCard® and Visa® (hence the acronym EMV) to ensure security and global interoperability.
Official figures released in mid-2012 revealed that there were more than 1.5 billion EMV payment cards in circulation worldwide, and 76 percent of all credit card terminals globally were based on EMV. As the cards become widely adopted in the United States, TransFirst® is assisting its merchants with transitioning to the new technology.
EMV cards, which are also referred to as chip-and-PIN cards or smartcards, are manufactured with an embedded microprocessor (microchip), a type of mini-computer that offers strong security features and other capabilities not available on the magnetic stripe cards that are the current standard in the U.S. The chip stores information securely and performs cryptographic processing that keeps the data safe from fraudsters and identity thieves.
There are two basic types of chip card technology: contact chip, which requires physical contact with a card reader to exchange data with the terminal, and contactless, which relies on an exchange of data via radio frequency (also known as near-field communication, or NFC).
Switching to EMV
Transitioning to EMV technology in the U.S. will have several distinct advantages. EMV cards are considered much more secure against credit card fraud than mag stripe cards, which rely on data encoded in the stripe on the back of the card. The chip stores considerably more information than the stripe and supports enhanced cardholder verification methods. EMV cards are accepted worldwide, which is not the case for mag stripe cards.
Both Visa® and MasterCard® have announced initiatives to accelerate EMV adoption in the U.S. by offering financial incentives to retailers who voluntarily upgrade their credit card processing systems and equipment. The new systems will be able to multitask, processing mag stripe and EMV chip cards as well as mobile credit card processing systems involving smartphones. The switchover is expected to take five years or more.
Major banks and credit unions are already issuing EMV cards to their customers, particularly those have encountered problems with mag stripe card acceptance while living or traveling abroad. As acceptance continues to grow, all sectors of the credit card processing industry will need to change with the times.
Savvy merchants will be early adopters of EMV technology, embracing the new technology and profiting from being able to accept all forms of payment cards and advanced credit card processing options.
A trained TransFirst representative can answer your specific questions about EMV and general questions about setting up a merchant account that allows you to accept smartcards. Complete the form on this page and we’ll respond quickly to your inquiry.
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