Chip Cards: EMV, Chip and PIN, and Chip and Signature

What is EMV Technology?

EMV is a new standard for storing information in credit cards, an upgrade to the traditional magnetic stripe found on the backs of cards. Your personal and account information is stored in a small electronic chip embedded in the card, where it can be read by EMV terminals.

Credit card with EMV Chip

EMV stands for “Europay, MasterCard, and Visa,” the three groups who began this initiative, but every credit card from every issuer will soon be required to conform to this standard. It is a more secure way to store information, providing better protection against identity and credit card theft.

Currently, most retailers still have terminals that use the magnetic stripe and require you to swipe the card, but more retailers will begin using EMV terminals as 2015 progresses.

Facts About Chip-and-Signature And Chip-and-PIN

  • Chip-and-Signature will require you to sign the screen to authenticate the transaction.
  • Chip-and-PIN cards will require you to enter a PIN with the keypad to authenticate the transaction, much like a debit card.
  • Most cards are currently Chip-and-Signature, but Chip-and-PIN will become more popular as the infrastructure required to process it develops
  • Some cards have both Chip-and-Signature and Chip-and-PIN capability. Usually, one or the other will be the preferred method of authentication. The issuing bank determines the features of a card, whether it includes a magnetic stripe, is Chip-and-PIN, Chip-and-Signature, or some combination. EMV cards currently also have a magnetic stripe, but this will probably change as the old technology is phased out.
  • In the U.S. after October 2015, the least EMV-compliant party in a transaction will be liable for fraudulent charges. This could be the credit card issuer or the retailer, if they don’t use EMV standard technology.
  • EMV cards are compatible with Tap-and-Go technology, but most cards do not feature it.
  • EMV is more popular in Europe, where retailers often have Chip terminals. If you’re traveling in Europe, you’re going to want an EMV-enabled card.
  • EMV eliminates some of the ways data is stolen or replicated because the chip technology is more difficult to clone than a magnetic strip. Any data stolen from a merchant is useless because the data is expired after it leaves the merchant’s reader.
  • It is important to remember theft is still possible, and there are breaches in countries who use this technology, but EMV technology makes a security breach much more unlikely.

Q&A Video: What’s the Difference Between Chip-and-PIN and Chip-and-Signature?

Wondering why the United States is lagging behind other countries? Click here to read more: The Cost of Fraud Versus the Cost to Upgrade: Why Doesn’t the U.S. Use EMV Technology?

Where Can I Get A Card With A Chip?

We’ve put together this list to show you what issuers offer Chip-and-Signature cards. Most issuers in the U.S. only offer Chip-and-Signature, but there are a few that offer Chip-and-PIN. For Chip-and-Signature cards, see here. This list is constantly updated as new cards become available. If your card is in the chart, but doesn’t have a chip, you can request a new one from your issuer.

Screen shot 2015-03-24 at 3.01.29 PM

Not this kind of chip and pin

Chip-and-PIN Cards In The U.S.A

The U.S. currently does not offer many Chip-and-PIN cards. However, there are a few available to consumers now and there will be more options throughout 2015.

Bank of America

Barclaycard

Citi

Credit Unions

Diners Club

USAA

Wells Fargo

Screen shot 2015-03-24 at 2.53.22 PM

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is enabled with Chip-and-Signature

Chip-and-Signature Cards in the U.S.A

Currently, most chip cards in the U.S. are chip-and-signature only. A few have PIN capabilities, which means you can set a PIN, allowing the card to be used in situations where a PIN is required. Note: many chip-and-signature cards will still work with most international merchants, except in the case of unmanned terminals (tollbooths, gas stations, kiosks).

American Express

Bank of America

Barclaycard

Note: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is Chip-and-PIN sometimes and Chip-and-Signature other times. If it is a manned terminal (person at the checkout), it uses chip-and-signature. If it’s an unattended kiosk, it uses chip-and-PIN. To obtain the PIN for your card, call customer service or go to barclaycardus.com, create a login, and request a PIN.

Capital One

Note: Capital One has plans to implement chip technology on most of its cards by the end of 2015.

JP Morgan Chase

United MileagePlus Club Card *Will be chip-enabled, and existing card members will be able to request a replacement EMV Chip Card.

Citi

Note: You may request a replacement card with a chip if your current card does not have one.

Discover

  • Discover chip cards started becoming available in December 2014 and cardmembers will be issued chip cards throughout 2015.

Synchrony Bank

Note: The non-MasterCard version of the Walmart card does not have an EMV chip.

USAA

Note: USAA members are eligible to request a Chip-and-PIN Card if they plan to work or travel overseas.

US Bank

*U.S. Bank became the first in the United States to issue a dual EMV chip and contact-less payment card for retail customers with its FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card.

Wells Fargo

All Wells Fargo chip cards are enabled with Chip-and-PIN technology.

Prepaid Chip-and-PIN

Prepaid Chip-and-PIN cards offer the security of chip technology, but they often aren’t linked to your personal information and require you to pre-load the card with funds. You can get these with low or no credit because there is typically no credit check to qualify. Prepaid Chip-and-PIN Cards can also be beneficial for college students studying abroad because they can’t spend more than the loaded amount.

Best Chip Cards For You

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Complimentary FICO score
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 20% off travel
  • 2X points on travel

Marriott Rewards Premier Card

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline
  • $85 annual fee is waived the first year

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Points aren’t capped and don’t expire
  • No pre-set spending limit

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