Chip card going into reader

EMV: What, Why, When, and Where?

By: Deborah Rehorst, GWB Fraud Manager

By now, you have likely received at least one EMV or chip card from a debit or credit card issuer. It is also likely you have realized that many vendors are now accepting, or even forcing chip card transactions. You may be confused or even frustrated about why, when, where, or how to use them. You are not alone.

What? EMV or Chip

You will hear EMV cards and chip cards used interchangeably. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa as they were the three companies who originally created the standard. You may also hear these cards referred to as smart cards or IC (Integrated Circuit) cards.

Why? More Secure

A chip card has features which make it harder for fraudsters to get your card information. One such feature is the embedded computer chip which makes counterfeiting these cards nearly impossible.

When and Where? Always and Everywhere

It can be confusing to know when to chip and dip or simply swipe your card. Some merchants still don’t have chip-enabled terminals. Others do, but say you cannot yet use the chip card slot. Then there are merchants who prompt you to first or only use the chip slot; and still others who let you choose between dipping or swiping. If you have the option, ALWAYS use the slot on a chip-activated terminal. This should be your first payment option anytime you use your card. You do not benefit from the increased security features if you do not use the chip via the slot; swiping a chip card does not provide the enhanced security features.

No More Fraud? Not Exactly

Unfortunately, EMV cannot combat 100% of fraud. Fraudsters can still steal swiped data when the chip slot isn’t utilized. Chip cards can also have their magnetic stripe data compromised if a skimmer is inserted into the chip reader slot. However, it still remains a much more effective way of protecting your card information and thwarting counterfeit card creation.

Consumers should be aware that as card information becomes more difficult to obtain it can push fraud to alternative avenues. Online merchants, online fraud schemes, and even check fraud may see an increase in fraudulent activity. For these reasons, it is and will remain, important for customers to check their account transactions on a regular basis and to be aware of surroundings.

What’s Next?

ATM’s will soon be equipped with the chip technology, as well as fuel pumps. Be on the lookout for these updates in the coming years.

If you would like more information on EMV cards please visit:


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