The US shift to EMV cards: Top three things merchants and consumers need to know

Bye-bye magstripe, hello EMV: The US is currently shifting from standard magnetic stripe cards to chip cards based on the global payment EMV standard, short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa.
USA to shift to EMV cards

October 2015 was a major milestone for credit card issuers, retailers, and of course, cardholders in the US. The so called "fraud liability shift" now encourages US issuers and merchants to migrate to EMV payment technology, as new liability rules determine that any party that hasn't implemented EMV is now liable for any counterfeit fraud that results from a magnetic-stripe payment.

Marcelo Bellini Garcia, Vice President Sales Americas, Business Solutions Division, Morpho, explains the advantages of EMV cards: "Through the use of features including data authentication and cryptographic technology, EMV cards provide added security against fraud when the card is lost or stolen."

The global standard is already in use with 2.37 billion payment cards worldwide, so it is time for the US to jump on this train as well. "The main driver behind the EMV migration is card-related financial fraud. The cost of card fraud in the US alone is estimated at $8.6 billion per year. The US will be able to reduce this number significantly by shifting to EMV," explains Marcelo.


What are the top three things consumers need to know about EMV?

  1. The change to chip cards is going to take some time. For the next few years many credit and debit cards will have both a chip and a magnetic strip. There will be some merchants that accept the chip, some that accept only the magnetic strip and others both. 
  2. Traveling abroad will become easier. With the majority of the developed world having already adopted EMV technology it will be easier to use redit and debit cards abroad.
  3. EMV is not the only solution to fight against fraud. EMV will help prevent against fraud at the point of sale but does not offer protection against all data breaches or other attacks. It is a good practice for consumers to monitor their bank and credit card accounts on a regular basis and report any irregularities to the responsible institution.


What are the top three things merchants need to know about EMV?

  1. Effective since October 1, 2015 responsibility for counterfeit fraud that occurs for in-store transactions will fall to the least EMV-compliant party. Merchants should evaluate their EMV strategy and become compliant ASAP if they have not done so already.
  2. EMV will help to prevent fraud at the point of sale but merchants should still monitor their fraud levels in online channels and implement additional security measures as applicable.
  3. Consumer education goes a long way. Instead of a simple swipe, with EMV may take a few seconds for their transaction to process. But merchants can facilitate consumer adoption by explaining the security benefits for the end user. It may take a couple of seconds to insert a chip and type a pin code, but it also eliminates the need for a digital signature.


Morpho is actively supporting the conversion to EMV in the US. As a member of the EMV Migration Forum, an industry collaboration effort initiated by the Smart Card Alliance, it is supporting all players in navigating through the US payment market on their way to more digital security. Morpho, which has already supported respected banks worldwide in their EMV migration strategies, has an extensive experience in the EMV payment area. The company, which is headquartered in Europe, where EMV was established some time ago, has invested several million USD to increase its technical and production capabilities, especially in the US. "For these reasons, we are very well positioned to guide our US customers through the conversion phase and support the US market in its move to a payment technology that offers a convenient and secure payment experience. The time for EMV in the US has come."

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