BBB Business Tip: EMV Chip Cards

Better Business Bureau is urging all retail businesses to get new EMV chip card readers installed by October 1st, if they haven’t done so already.

Most countries – including Canada and Mexico – have required microchips in credit and debit cards for some time (80 countries so far, with 2.37 billion chip payment cards in use). The United States is catching up; by the end of 2015, 70 percent of credit cards and 40 percent of debit cards in the U.S. will have embedded security chips called EMV (for Europay, MasterCard and Visa). EMV cards will eventually replace magnetic stripe cards completely, and many banks and credit unions are already issuing EMV cards to current account holders.

Credit:, a project of the EMV Migration Forum

The EMV cards allow consumers to use their cards globally, and they also help reduce card fraud and identity theft, and make in-store transactions more secure. The chip generates a unique, one-time code that is difficult to counterfeit but is needed for each transaction to be approved.

October 1, 2015, is an important deadline for American businesses; that’s when a “liability shift” is occurring that moves the responsibility for covering losses to the business where a fraudulent charge occurs. If a business does not have the new EMV reader, they are liable for the cost of any purchases made with a counterfeit card. In other words, the card issuer will no longer absorb the loss.

Businesses need to replace the old magnetic swipe machines as soon as possible. Most large retailers have already made the change, but many small and independent businesses have not. EMV readers run from under $25 for a basic device that plugs into a smart phone, up to about $300 for a countertop model with all the “bells and whistles.” They are available from major electronics retailers and online. A business’s credit card processor may be able to provide additional information or recommendations.

Many consumers have already received new credit and debit cards with the EMV chips (it’s the small metallic square). The only other noticeable change for consumers will be when they shop at retail stores with EMV technology; instead of “swiping” their card, consumers will “dip” the card into a slot in the terminal or, in some case, “tap” the card on a flat reader. It may take a few moments longer than the old swipe card, but the transaction will be more secure.

For more information, go to EMV Connection (for business information) or GoChipCard (for consumer information). 

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