Close-up of an EMV card chip

Close-up of an EMV card chip

With the recent breaches of customer data at stores like Target and Neiman Marcus, the topic of EMV cards is becoming more prominent.  But what are EMV cards and why are they making a buzz?

EMV cards, which stands for EuroPay-Mastercard Visa, have long been in-use in Europe and Canada. Instead of a magnetic stripe on the back of the card, EMV cards contain a microprocessor chip that stores cardholder data. This chip holds information in dynamic ways, making it hard for someone to obtain the cardholder information; unlike magnetic stripe card information which can easily be gathered with a simple and inexpensive card reader.

In the case of Target, customer data was taken not from card terminals, but from a store database that contained customer information – including their card data. But, EMV cards are making a buzz because the card data will be harder to decode if a fraudster pursues it.

In order to accept EMV cards, every business in the US with a magnetic swipe terminal will need to convert to a terminal that accepts EMV cards. Depending on the type of terminal, instead of swiping a card, customers with either wave the card in front of a terminal or insert it in to a slot and then be asked to confirm the transaction with a PIN  number or a signature.

An example of an EMV card and reader.

An example of an EMV card and reader.

The US is the last major market to convert to EMV cards. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the technology, Visa and MasterCard are implementing the shift in all US stores by October 2015.

So how easily will this transition occur? For businesses, the terminals, in many cases, are available or will be soon. And banks that issue cards should already have EMV cards to issue to customers who travel overseas.

The change will only effect POS retailers. To prepare for the upcoming change, contact your payment processing provider and they can set you up with the appropriate equipment. Call EDPS at 866.578.9740 or email

In the meantime, use these great ways to regain cardholder trust & give you peace of mind:

  • Learn about PCI Compliance & how it can gain cardholder trustClick for details

  • Sign up for EDPS’ Data Breach Security Program for only $7.95 a monthClick for details