Swipe or Chip?

     Fraud has doubled in the past seven years here in the U.S. due to our lag in security and delay in updating our credit card technology. Inevitably, you have seen the new chip reading machines at your local merchants in the places you frequently shop and patronize. With the new EMV technology, the credit card industry has now closed that gap! You walk into a place of business and politely request your desired goods or services. Merchandise is exchanged and you reach for your preferred method of payment, “plastic”! Who carries cash these days? You hand over your credit or debit card, and within seconds you are on your way. Have you ever considered exactly how secure your transactions really are? Has it ever occurred to you that your card information may be copied, stored, or stolen for later use? The U.S. was the last major market to continue using the magnetic strip cards. However, this new state of the art technology will keep your credit identity safe and secure. So what exactly is EMV technology and how does it make your CREDIT more Luxurious?

      EMV is short for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. This acronym accurately represents both the origin and purpose of the card itself. EMV cards contain a small but “smart” computer chip that distinguishes them in many ways from their magnetic strip bearing relatives that are still commonly used here in the U.S. The new cards will make it much more difficult to carry out fraudulent transactions, therefore minimizing the cost of credit card and identity theft to both the victim and the merchant. The new technology is housed inside a small computer chip that is lodged within a credit or debit card. This chip, however, operates completely differently from the magnetic strip we Americans are more accustomed to. There are a number of differences between the two. But, where they differ most, in terms of card security, is in how transactions are processed. A traditional magnetic strip card’s data can easily be copied and used again and again because it does not change from one transaction to the next. However, EMV chip technology prevents this type of fraud automatically by generating a new and unique transaction code each time it is used.

      While the added security may make things more secure for consumers, there are some time consuming and costly adjustments your local merchants have been making in order to accommodate and accept your new EMV credit or debit card. A number of these changes may not bode so well with you. New point of sale card readers will be required in order for merchants to accept the new card technology as the new card chips are not read in the same way as the magnetic strips. Major credit card issuers have been rolling out the new technology gradually, replacing expired magnetic strip cards with the new EMV chip technology first.

       So how, exactly, does this new technology work? Ironically, it works more like a magnet than the magnetic strip that was commonly used in the past. Rather than a swipe of the card, the new chip will require either a “dip”, inserting the portion of the card containing the chip into the card reader, or a “tap”, connecting the chip to a portion of the card reader, to process a transaction. Either of these motions allows the card’s chip to pass information to the issuing financial institution so that the card holder’s legitimacy can be quickly verified and the transaction processed. By now you’ve likely had your patience tested as the EVM chip transactions do take just a few moments longer than the magnetic strip method. However, be assured, the added security and identity protection are well worth the wait.

      Have you received your new EMV chip card yet? If so, how has your experience been with transactions and point of sale use of the card? Are you confident in the added security of the card? Leave your comments, questions, and concerns below.



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