5 FAQs About EMV Cards

Today's blog is brought to us from the Michigan First Credit Union's What's Hot blog.


Recently, the U.S. introduced a new standard for credit and debit cards – EMV (Europay, MasterCard, VISA). EMV cards are equipped with computer chips designed to authenticate transactions, much like the old magnetic stripe cards. Europe has used EMV for years, but the U.S. is just jumping on the wagon. We’ve got some frequently asked questions about EMV cards – hopefully this will help with the transition!

  • How are EMV cards more secure than traditional magnetic stripe cards?

The information contained in a magnetic stripe does not change. If someone accessed the information on a magnetic stripe, that person could use the information over and over again. EMV chips, however, generate a unique transaction code each time they’re used. This code can’t be used again – so hackers get very little value out of stealing information from the EMV chips.

  • How do I use an EMV card?

Instead of swiping your card, you’ll insert it into a slot and wait for the transaction to process. In most cases, the instructions will be right there on the screen – and the retailers will be trained in the technology, so they’ll be able to help you.

  • Will I have to sign or enter a PIN for my transaction?

The answer depends on your card issuer – most new EMV cards will not be equipped with a PIN, so you’ll have to sign. In a few years, tying a PIN to your EMV card will be the norm, but your card issuer will communicate any changes to you.

  • Who’s liable for fraudulent purchases?

Since October 1, 2015, any merchant not equipped to accept EMV cards assumes liability for fraudulent purchases. This rule was designed to nudge retailers into upgrading their technology, speeding along the EMV adoption process. In most cases, fraudulent charges will be treated as they always have been.

  • What if a merchant doesn’t have EMV technology?

No worries – the first round of EMV cards will have both the EMV chip and the traditional magnetic stripe. This way, you’ll be able to use your card at any retailer that accepts credit cards. Most large retailers will have EMV card readers, but some small businesses may still use magnetic stripe readers for some time.

Hopefully, we’ve cleared up some questions for you about EMV cards. Let us know if you have any other concerns!


If you have any other questions you can always email me at Spokester@youngfreemichigan.com or call Michigan First Credit Union's 365 LIVE at (800)664-3828

Keeping it Fresh, Young & Free,

Ebeth