The Next Step in Fraud Prevention

In light of the recent data breaches, we are hearing a lot in the media about EMV. What is EMV?


EMV stands for Europay MasterCard VISA (EMV) and is the short name for a technology created by these organizations who use it to process debit and credit card transactions. Our current VISA cards have a magnetic stripe on the back of the card where your pertinent information is encoded. In comparison, the EMV card contains a chip that stores information, contains secure elements, performs processing, and is like having a minicomputer embedded in your card. It holds your encrypted information and allows each transaction to be processed uniquely.

The EMV card was introduced in Europe more than 15 years ago to reduce fraud and is now beginning to spread throughout the world. The EMV card is coming to the United States! However, adoption rates will be slow as many factors impact the use of this technology.

As VISA begins to reissue cards, you will notice that your card will contain both the magnetic stripe as well as the EMV chip. This will enable you to use your card as merchants transition to terminals that accept EMV cards. The method your transaction will be processed is dependent upon whether or not the ATM machine or merchant possesses the EMV technology. If the merchant does not have a terminal that accepts the EMV chip, they will process your transaction using the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. So, although the EMV chip on our VISA card is more secure, depending upon the merchant it may or may not be used, and there is still the potential for fraud. Additionally, all transactions completed using the internet will not have the benefit of the EMV chip.

The purpose of the EMV card is to help reduce the incidence of fraud. The cards are more difficult to replicate and they require a signature or pin. Your credit union has always been committed to providing you the most current technology and will continue to do so with EMV debit and credit cards. We will be providing you with regular updates as we begin the transition to EMV cards. We welcome your questions..