Last year, it seemed like a credit card company was debuting a new EMV-enabled chip card almost every week. The rollout of these cards appears to have slowed this year, but that doesn't mean the chip card isn't coming on U.S. shores. The work is largely being done behind the scenes.
EMV-enabled cards contain a small microchip that encrypts transaction and card data uniquely each time the card is used. This makes it difficult for fraudsters to create counterfeit cards. The cards also are widely used abroad. The EMV acronym stands for the developers of the technology standard: Europay, MasterCard and Visa.
As of April, about 90 percent of companies providing card processing services to U.S. retailers are able to process EMV transactions, according to Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance.
But that doesn't mean your grocery store will soon take that chip card you got last year during the en masse rollout of EMV cards. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover have given retailers until 2015, and gas stations until 2017, to make the switch before retailers would be held liable for any fraudulent losses.
There are some other kinks to work out, too. Most recently, the card industry had to figure out how EMV transactions could technically abide by a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act that stipulates how debit card payments are routed. Other issues are likely to come up between now and 2015.
Until then, keep your chip cards for overseas travel, where they are often the only payment accepted at toll booths, train kiosks, unmanned gas stations and in stores in rural locations.
Do you have a chip card yet? If so, which bank issued it and have you been able to use it?
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