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What Is An EMV Chip Card?

Close up of a credit card

You’ve probably seen an EMV chip card before – the EMV chip is a small metallic rectangle on one side of the card about the size of a fingernail. But have you ever wondered what the chip is there for?

EMV Chips Mean Added Security

An EMV chip is used by “dipping” your card into the point-of-sale terminal for a few seconds. When you dip your card, the chip is used to create a unique code for your transaction. A new code is generated for every transaction, helping to prevent some types of fraud at merchant terminals. By using an EMV chip, Royal Credit Union debit and credit cards gain an added level of security.

What Types Of Fraud Do EMV Chips Prevent?

Because the chip can interact with the point-of-sale terminal, EMV chip cards help prevent fraud enabled by skimming magnetic strips. Unlike a passive magnetic strip containing the full card details that is simply read by the terminal, an EMV chip actively processes information during the sale. This makes skimming data from an EMV chip card much more difficult. EMV chip cards are also more resistant to malicious duplication.

What Does EMV Stand For?

EMV chips are named after the companies that created the original chip specifications: EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa. EMV chips have been used in other countries for far longer than they’ve been around in the United States – the first version of the EMV standard was published in 1996.

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