What is EMV?

EMV — which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa — is a global standard for credit cards that uses computer chips to authenticate (and secure) chip-card transactions.

You probably have a lot of questions. So we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

The nationwide EMV migration is well underway. Banks are issuing new credit cards with EMV chips. But what exactly is EMV? EMV or chip cards, are the new, more secure credit cards we’re currently transitioning to in the U.S. EMV chips encrypt bank information making it far more secure than the old magstripe cards. This is important since the United States has a pretty serious issue with credit card fraud.

So how exactly will this affect your business? For starters, you’ll need a new processing device to read the information in the chip cards. And as of October 2015, businesses that don’t have an EMV processing device could be on the hook for fraudulent chip card transactions. (This is something called the “liability shift,” which we’ll go into below).

As you might imagine, EMV is a pretty hot topic right now. There’s a lot of information to sift through. And because any EMV card discussion usually mentions “fraud” and “liability,” it’s natural that it could put small business owners on edge.

But, rest easy—we’ve got you covered. The AB PAY and chip reader accepts EMV and NFC payments like Apple Pay, protects you from the liability shift, and is just $49.

In this guide we’ll explain what EMV is, how credit card chips work, the liability shift and what it means for your business, and how you can protect yourself and accept chip cards and NFC payments.

choice for our merchants and suppliers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Not necessarily. But the vast (vast) majority of credit cards that have chips are EMV-compliant. If you have questions about your credit card and whether it’s EMV-compliant, contact your issuing bank.

he United States is switching over to chip cards in an effort to curb credit card fraud. In fact, even though the United States has a quarter of the world’s credit card transactions, almost half of the world’s credit card fraud happens here. This is because magnetic-stripe cards use an outdated technology and easy for fraudsters to counterfeit. Chip cards, on the other hand, are way more secure. An EMV credit card chip is actually a super-small computer that’s extremely hard to counterfeit. When the data is transmitted during a card transaction, it’s encrypted which means even if bad guys intercepted the information, they probably wouldn’t be able to do anything with it. So as a country we’re switching to cards with EMV chips. The recent high-profile security breaches at some of the country’s largest retailers have added motivation to make the switch quickly.

our dip the credit card vertically, chip first, into an EMV-enabled reader instead of swiping it horizontally on a magstripe reader.

There’s actually no law that requires businesses to be EMV compliant by the liability shift. It’s up to each individual seller to decide whether or not to upgrade. What has changed is the way that the banks and the processing networks handle fraudulent charges. But even though the EMV liability shift is not officially a law, it’s a good idea to protect yourself by ordering an EMV reader (like the AB PAY and chip reader) soon so you can accept the most secure forms of payment.

If you’ve paid with a chip card, you know firsthand that they take significantly longer to process than magstripe cards. The card has to be inserted into the reader for the entirety of the transaction — which can take several seconds. This is all while the security technology is at work. What’s happening is that the EMV chip on the credit card is talking back and forth with the EMV reader to make sure you are who you say you are. However, the sluggishness is noticeable — especially for a technology that many people think is new.

The fact that EMV transactions take so long will likely push forward the adoption of faster, more convenient payment methods like NFC. NFC payments— also known as contactless payments — are just as secure as EMV payments but take a fraction of the time because they go through your mobile device.