New EMV chip card changes on the way — what it means for you

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Credit card with microchip

DENVER — The nationwide shift to chip cards is underway, according to the Better Business Bureau, which published a quick guide on what exactly “EMV” means the consumer.

EMV — which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa — refers to a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. These purchases are more secure than normal magnetic stripe transactions, and protect consumers against large-scale data breaches and credit card fraud.

Why switch to chip cards?

The magnetic stripes on traditional credit and debit cards store unchanging data. Whoever accesses that data also gains access to sensitive information necessary to make purchases.

Unlike magnetic-stripe cards, every time an EMV card is used for payment, the small magnetic square chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again. Even if a hacker stole the chip information from one specific point of sale, card duplication would never work because the stolen information created in that instance wouldn’t work again.

According to the Better Business Bureau, EMV technology will not prevent data breaches from occurring, but it will make it much harder.

How do I use an EMV card?

All across the nation, more sellers are adopting card reading terminals that can process EMV card payments, in advance of the Oct. 1 deadline for merchants to become EMV compliant. At these new terminals, you would insert the top part of the card with the chip into the reader instead of swiping or dipping the magnetic stripe.

If fraud occurs, who will be liable for the costs?

Today, if an in-store transaction is conducted using a counterfeit, stolen or otherwise compromised card, consumer losses from that transaction fall back on the payment processor or issuing bank, according to the BBB.

After the Oct. 1 deadline created by major U.S. credit card issuers MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express, the liability for card-present fraud will shift to whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in a fraudulent transaction.

When will this all happen?

Although the upcoming deadline is strong encouragement for all payment processing parties to become EMV-compliant, the Aite Group estimates that by the end of 2015, approximately 70 percent of credit cards and 41 percent of debit cards in the U.S. –1.1 billion cards total — will support EMV.

While many chip cards have already been issued, some people may have to wait longer than others before sent a new EMV card, according to the BBB.

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