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Most Frequently Asked Questions about EMVs

June 5, 2017

The United States has almost completed its transition to EMV, yet many people do not know what it is or why it is needed. If you have a new credit or debit card with a metallic chip, you are in possession of an EMV card. Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about EMV can be found below.

1) What is EMV?

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. It is a new global standard for payment cards that was recently issued in the U.S. as an attempt to improve security measures. High numbers of credit card fraud in recent years prompted the U.S. to follow the example of European countries where EMV has been used for several years.

2) Are EMV cards more secure than traditional cards?

Yes. The signature computer chip on every EMV card sets it apart from the traditional magnetic stripe card. The storage of unchanging data on the magnetic stripes makes it easy for counterfeiters to convert the data to cash. With the chip cards, a unique transaction code is created with every payment. This code cannot be replicated or used again, making it more difficult for fraud to occur.

3) Do I still sign or use my PIN when I make a purchase?

Yes. Depending on the verification method chosen for your EMV card, you will have to either sign or enter your PIN.

4) Is my card usable at a non-EMV retailer?

Yes. EMV cards have both the chip and the magnetic stripe, so they can be used at any retailer that takes credit cards. If the chip is entered in a card reader that is not activated, it will simply instruct you to swipe, instead. Likewise, if you swipe an EMV card on a machine that has been activated, it will ask that you insert the card into the slot.

EMV cards will make credit card transactions easy and more secure. The computer chip technology will make fraud more difficult without drastically changing the familiar card process.


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