EMV® – One of the Hottest Topics in the Payments Industry

As a leading payments processor, plans are already in place to support EMV®. The rollout of EMV® in the United States will affect the entire payments ecosytsem, including the cardholders themselves. It is important for everyone to familiarize themselves with EMV® and what it means to them.

What is EMV® ?

EMV® is a series of specifications that define a more secure method of payment. It was developed jointly by Europay, MasterCard, and Visa in the mid-1990s. Even though the standards body is now owned by other brands as well, EMV® still bears the initials of its original three members.

The overarching goal of EMV® is to facilitate secure global interoperability between chip cards and terminals for both credit and debit transactions. EMV® introduces a small computer or “chip” to every payments device. This chip stores information, performs processing, contains secure elements which store secret information and performs cryptographic functions. The most important feature of EMV® is the dynamic data generated with each transaction. This dynamic data makes it nearly impossible to create counterfeit cards or replay intercepted transactions.

Why is the U.S. market implementing EMV® ?

EMV® protects against counterfeit fraud through authentication of dynamic data residing on chip cards, smart phones and other devices that are EMV®-compliant. EMV® also provides risk management parameters at the card level and offers both online and offline PIN, to further protect us against lost and stolen fraud. Counterfeit fraud is growing in the United States. With the rest of the world either in the process of migrating to or already migrated to EMV, counterfeit fraud in the U.S. will become primary target for fraudsters.

Why Now?

Since EMV® has been implemented in very other major payment market in the world, the global payments brand have no decided it is time for the U.S. to migrate. Current card associations’ mandates and liability shifts for the U.S. are listed below.

What changes for a card-accepting merchant when EMV® is implemented?


  • An EMV® card is inserted into a new EMV® enabled terminal.
  • The terminal physically makes contact with the chip and provides enough power to allow the card to perform the necessary processing.
  • The card and the terminal have a “conversation” to determine how to process the transaction.
  • The card’s embedded chip contains encrypted data, accessed by the reader in the terminal.
  • The terminal uses the card data to create and send a unique code to the processor’s shot during the transaction, validating the card.
  • The card is removed when the transaction is completed.

What changes for the cardholder?

For contact EMV® cards, the card will be inserted into a slot in the terminal. Once inserted into the terminal, the card remains there until the transaction is complete.

What does an EMV® chip card look like?

The most common EMV® card is expected to be the contact chip card. With a contact card, the standard plastic has a small area milled out of the front and a chip is glued to the card. On top of the actual chip is a contact plate, which is actually what you see when you look at the card.