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EMV or 'Chip Cards'

Community Manager

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
   account information
2. Card Not Present (CNP) – using someone else’s card information to make internet or
   catalog purchases
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.

Stately Explorer
I think you should launch Chip & Signature for now, like all the main US issuers and can always reissue to Chip & PIN if that becomes the standard.
City Slicker
I am traveling to Europe next month. Chip & Pin please.
County Wise
As a frequent traveler to Europe, I find that most shops, restaurants, hotels, etc will accept a US magnetic stripe credit card, but Chip & PIN is ESSENTIAL if you want to use many vending machines e.g. to buy tickets at train stations or gas at some gas stations.

Chip & Signature doesn't solve any problems for me and any major US card issuer that provides Chip & PIN will get my business.

It is worth noting that Barclays does issue Chip & PIN cards in other countries.
City Slicker
I would imagine that most US retailers will continue to accept both magstripe and chip & pin or signature (whichever ends up being adopted) for many years. To me it makes sense to move forward, today, with a chip & pin if this is what Europe is using. Furthermore, as a bank issuing these credit cards used at retailers I would assume that you have some degree of influence over the market in terms of what it adopts. My vote (if I get one) goes to chip & pin.
City Slicker
It's pretty much only Europe that is all chip & pin. Asia is still virtually 100% mag stripe. Myopic to force a change only because those going to Europe cry loudest.
City Slicker
I will be moving to Europe for a couple years starting next summer and would love to keep my Barclaycard rather than switching to an EU card, so please count mine as another vote for Chip and PIN.
County Wise
Yes I am all for the chip card as well...When I go back home to Portugal, most of the stores still take the magnetic strip card but give me grief because it does not have a chip.
City Slicker
My vote as well. for my next trip I will use my citi Thank you card. hopefully, barcalys will add this feature soon. since, barcalys arrival is my favorite card and I use it with my wife for daily bases
City Slicker
Spent some weeks in France in 2010 and was dismayed and disappointed that in fact I could not use my credit card for several things there. Back in the 80's they worked fine. Ended up using cash which was supposed to be only for emergencies. So, please proceed as soon as possible and secure to provide the chip cards. Thank you for the thorough explanation.
County Wise
I signed up for the Barclay card in the fall of 2013 for the offer of zero foreign transaction fees. I am in Europe for 6 months, and after one month I'm finding my Barclay card only works some of the time due to lack of a chip. I went to the store last week and after loading up on a ton of groceries, the magnetic swipe option wouldn't work and I had no chip! I had a huge line behind me and it was very frustrating. Luckily someone I had just met was at the store and put my groceries on her card. I had to find a cash machine to pay her back. This is not acceptable! Now everytime I go to use it I fear it won't work! CHIP AND PIN pronto, PLEASE!
I cannot be expected to carry a ton of cash in case my credit card won't work!
City Slicker
Just saw this post and wonder what the status is? Personally I would love to see chip & pin for my favorite card the Arrival :)...chip and signature is pretty useless in Europe...I have Citi, Chase and BofA cards with chip and signature but cannot process them at the unmanned terminals due to the lack of pin. The Arrival works every once in a while with magnetic stripe and ATM pin but chip & pin would make that card equal to European issued cards...please Barclays, work on chip & pin...Europe is using this feature for 10+ years and it is sooooo convenient ..I hate to sign paper slips, pin is so much easier ...LOL
County Wise
I will be traveling to London then Cyprus and would like to be able to use my arrival card especially for car hire as it offers benefits that I want without the foreign transaction fees. Hopefully I will be able to use it
City Slicker
The need for chip and PIN seems to be growing. Is there an update on status now that we are in the 1st Qtr of 2014?

City Slicker
I got this card for international travel, particularly in Europe, so I am extremely disappointed to learn it doesn't always work! I don't want to be halfway across the world with a credit card that doesn't work. I'm thinking I need to at least take another card with me, and I'm frustrated that I will now have to get another new credit card.
City Slicker
Pin is the only way to go. Barclay should consider itself a trend setter and lead the US out of the cc dark ages by issuing chip & pin card immediately. Pin is the world standard. I'm going to Europe for 5 months this year and will be leaving my Barclays card behind. At least my Sapphire card has a chip.
City Slicker
I just applied and was accepted for the Barclay Arrival card. But now I see there is no chip. I got this card for travel obviously and no chip doesn't make any sense. Can you please give us another update as to whether or not a chip card version can be shipped out to those of us who are planning international travel? I will be going to Europe in June and I would hope that this will be an option by then. Thanks.
City Slicker
I agree that chip and pin seems like a no brainer. Why would you put a chip in the card and not have a pin to make it usable everywhere? You don't have to remove the magnetic stripe. You can have both like the other cards in the US offering a chip. I also just received my card. The card was obtained specifically for international travel with no foreign transaction fees. Without a chip, how useful is this card for international travel. I too am planning an extended trip to the UK and now I am looking at replacing or supplementing my brand new card. How silly!
City Slicker
Please, please issue chip + PIN soon! We just got back from Europe and using this card was a pain at best and impossible at worst. Reluctantly, we had to use our debit cards for a lot of transactions. Before traveling, a Barclay rep told us that using our non-chip card would not be difficult. This could not have been further from the truth - European retailers seem dumbfounded that we didn't have a chip card. Love Barclay Arrival except for this obvious oversight.
City Slicker
To whoever said Asia is 100% magstripe-

I am a frequent traveler to Asia. China and Japan are already well on their way to Chip and PIN. I got Chip and PIN debit cards from most of my Chinese banks last year, and I've not encountered a single shop there that didn't have chip terminals. Same thing in Taiwan- shops that took cards were all chip and PIN capable and banks were all issuing chipped credit and debit cards. In Japan the only shops I encountered that weren't chip-capable were Costco (because AmEx doesn't issue chip cards there yet) and a couple of tiny mom-and-pop shops in suburban Tokyo. Not having a chipped card is going to be a problem in Asia too.
County Wise
I have too many friends who have traveled to international destinations that require Chip and PIN (and have heard how embarassing and frustrating it is). Chip and PIN, please. Barclay's lack of Chip & PIN cards was my primary concern with taking out their travel card. I went ahead with it hoping that any company claiming to have the best travel card would realize they can't make that statement without offering Chip & PIN. I hope I'm right! :)
Community Manager
Community Manager Update: Wanted to let everyone in this thread know about our NEW Barclaycard Arrival announcement. Please read our blog post located here for details:
City Slicker
I was going to gripe about chip + signature until I read the updated post about the new Arrival card having both c+s and c+p. Are any other Barclaycard products going the same direction?
City Slicker
Why is there no contactless? Heck, you even offer contactless on your low-end, no-contact-chip, Ring product. Contactless would be extremely valuable for use in Europe - 1. no need for Oyster on TfL services. 2. less contact chip transactions meaning less opportunities for merchants to whinge about chip and signature.
City Slicker
I just returned from a trip to Paris. Two different machines (one selling shuttle tickets and one selling metro tickets) would not recognize my Barclay card because it does not have a chip. Luckily for me, I was able to bargain with locals to have them pay for my tickets using their chip cards and I gave them cash. I was very disappointed.
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