Is your business ready for EMV technology?

The nationwide switch to EMV credit card technology is sweeping the nation, and a major shift in fraud liability went into effect on October 1.

What is EMV?

Europay, MasterCard and Visa – or, EMV – developed a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip card transactions. EMV chips eliminate the use of magnetic stripe cards, which are more susceptible to fraud.

Why EMV?

Every time an EMV card is dipped, the chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be replicated. This is different from magnetic stripe cards, which hold data that doesn’t change and can easily be replicated.

“EMV technology will provide more secure payments that are less susceptible to fraud,” Brian Jurkowski, AVP, Credit Card Department for Northwest, says.

What is the liability shift?

As of October 1, 2015, liability for counterfeit card transactions has shifted away from the card issuer to the merchant if the merchant is not EMV compliant. While no one is forcing business owners to make the switch by hitting them with fines, they will have a greater degree of responsibility for card fraud. For example, Visa offers the following scenarios:

  • A traditional magnetic stripe card is used at a magnetic stripe terminal: the merchant is generally not liable.
  • A chip card is used at a traditional magnetic stripe-only terminal: the merchant holds liability.
  • A chip card is used at a chip-enabled terminal: the merchant is not liable.

Will magnetic stripes still work?

Yes, at least for now. EMV cards will also carry a magnetic stripe and many terminals will continue to accept them. This may change in upcoming years, though: the Smart Card Alliance estimates that approximately 120 million Americans have already received an EMV chip card, and that number is projected to reach nearly 600 million by the end of 2015.  

What should I do now?

If your business wishes to switch to EMV, you’ll need the proper card reader. The earlier, the better – you can deal with any trial-and-error issues as soon as possible.


Are you ready to switch to EMV technology? We’re here to help. Visit your local Northwest office or call Northwest Business Services at 1-866-892-9193 to start the conversation.