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EMV makes Visa milestone

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Monday, February 6, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

It won't be long before a chip credit card finds its way into your wallet.

Visa said Monday that issuers handed out an estimated 1 million EMV-enabled Visa cards as of the end of last year.  That's up from virtually zero a year and a half ago, according to the global payments technology company. (The stats don't count how many MasterCard chip cards were issued.)

EMV is named after the developers of the technology: Europay, MasterCard and Visa. EMV cards, or chip cards, have made headlines recently as more banks roll out cards with this dynamic technology. EMV cards contain an embedded microprocessor chip that uniquely encodes transaction data each time the card is used. This makes it much more difficult for thieves to steal and clone the credit card data, cutting down on counterfeit fraud.

The other advantage to these cards is convenience. These cards are widely used outside of the U.S. Many American travelers have run into trouble using their traditional magnetic stripe cards abroad at unmanned kiosks, ticket machines, tolls and gas stations that only accept EMV cards. As a result, several banks have come out with chip cards that cater to corporate and leisure travelers.

Last spring, Wells Fargo launched a pilot program to issue chip cards to 15,000 customers. Soon after, Chase and U.S. Bank rolled out their own chip credit cards for certain customers. By the end of last year, Bank of America, Citi and PNC all joined the ranks and offered certain EMV cards.

Visa put itself at the center of EMV adoption effort last August when it unveiled several initiatives to get U.S. merchants to upgrade their point-of-sale machines to accept chip cards by October 2015. And last week, MasterCard introduced a road map to get merchants to switch over by April 2013.

It's only a matter of time …

Do you have a chip card yet?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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