There have been a lot of questions related to EMV in the community. For those who don’t know, EMV uses chip technology to offer additional security for verifying credit card transactions. Because a chip is embedded in the card, you may also hear it referred to as a “chip card” or “chip and PIN.” More on that later. For simplicity, we’ll call it the chip card in this post.
Naturally, some of you have asked if chip cards will be implemented for Barclaycard Arrival. So I went to find you some answers. I sat down with Joe Ulizio, our Product Manager in charge of “all things EMV/Chip Card” – no, that’s not his official job title, but it should be. We discussed your questions and I learned a ton about chip technology and how it works.
Chip Card 101
EMV is officially defined as: “Europay, MasterCard and Visa, a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (IC cards or ‘chip cards’) and IC-card-capable point of sale (POS) terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs) – for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.” EMV is authenticated through either signature verification or PIN (Personal Identification Number) verification.
Whew! Got all that? In laymen’s terms, it’s a technology intended to offer more secure transactions by encrypting your account information on a chip embedded in the card.
Chip cards have been widely used in Europe since 2004. In the U.S., the magnetic strip or “sign and swipe” card is still the standard. Because the technology has existed for more than 10 years, merchants in over 130 countries now accept – some even require – chip cards at millions of locations.
Making a purchase with a chip card is slightly different than with a magnetic strip card. For example, you insert your chip card into a terminal, and then either sign or enter your PIN to complete the transaction. Remember how the old ATMs used to work? You have to remember to take you card back when your transaction is complete! Most U.S. banks are now issuing chip cards, with signature only, which will work most of the time. But at some unattended terminals such as train ticket kiosks, you may need to enter a PIN instead of signing.
The difference between a PIN and a Signature
Barclaycard is exploring both signature- and PIN-enabled authentication. The difference between the two is pretty straightforward. You either sign at the terminal or enter a PIN. When you use a signature to validate your transaction, it’s up to the merchant to check the signature on the back of your card. When you use a PIN, you validate by entering the correct PIN in the terminal – the PIN must match the PIN embedded in your chip card. The use of a PIN is considered more secure than a signature.
Chip Cards and Security
Chip cards are all about stopping credit card fraud. There are three primary ways fraud is committed:
1. Counterfeiting – for example, someone creates a fake card using another person’s
2. Card Not Present (CNP) – using someone else’s card information to make internet or
3. Lost/stolen and “friendly” fraud
Counterfeiting and CNP make up the majority of fraud on credit card accounts. Lost/stolen and friendly, while common, comes in a distant third. Stopping counterfeit fraud is the best advantage chip technology offers. Storing credit card information on a secure chip makes it extremely difficult to counterfeit a credit card.
Chip technology does nothing to prevent CNP fraud, of course. But requiring a PIN to authenticate transactions helps prevent lost/stolen and friendly fraud.
Chip Card and Barclaycard Arrival
We’re currently working on our chip card plan for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers (and our entire Barclaycard portfolio). We don’t have a confirmed timeline yet.
Our short-term goals in the coming months are to solve for how we can give our international traveler’s access to chip cards when they plan on going abroad. Until we have chip cards for everyone, you can use your Barclaycard Arrival MasterCard for purchases in Europe and Canada, where the vast majority of merchants accept magnetic stripe cards. Magnetic stripe cards also generally work at ATMs for cash advances.
Our long-term goals are focused on satisfying whichever validation method becomes standard in the U.S. – PIN or signature.
Trust that we are working on it and will give you updates along the way. Let us know if you have any questions.
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