Be­tween EMV and Mag­netic Stripe Cards

The Freeman - - LIFESTYLE - By Gil­barco Veeder-Root

Se­cu­rity, chips, EMV. These are the words you hear tossed around when it comes to pay­ment. Some­times, in­stead of help­ing to solve the ques­tion of how mer­chants can keep cus­tomers safe from fraud, these words can prompt more ques­tions and home­work. (EMV stands for Euro­pay, Mastercard and Visa, the orig­i­na­tors of the on­line pay­ment tech­nol­ogy.)

What is the most eco­nom­i­cal sys­tem? Do you re­ally need to be EMV com­pli­ant? What is the best way to keep your c-store skim­ming-proof? Do chip cards re­ally make a dif­fer­ence in pre­vent­ing fraud?

If you think about it, all these swirl around one cen­tral ques­tion: What can EMV chip cards pro­vide over mag­netic-stripe cards? To be­gin an­swer­ing this ques­tion, it is im­por­tant to note the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two to un­der­stand why mag­netic-stripe cards are not as safe as they used to be.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween the mag­netic-stripe card and the EMV chip card go be­yond how the cus­tomer uses the card. Through an easy and quick swipe, mag­netic-stripe trans­ac­tions take less time to com­plete a trans­ac­tion. The reader sim­ply uses the mag­netic fields to match the card to your bank ac­count in­for­ma­tion.

That may sound le­git enough. But not ex­actly. The data be­ing trans­mit­ted is ac­tu­ally static which makes it eas­ier for crim­i­nals to copy the in­for­ma­tion onto an­other card. That means, the in­for­ma­tion kept safe in a wal­let is now use­able to the crim­i­nal who stole it.

The ac­ces­si­bil­ity of your in­for­ma­tion with your card is the rea­son why there is a push for mer­chants to mi­grate to EMV chip card read­ers. Yes, there is a huge fi­nan­cial li­a­bil­ity and pres­sure placed on c-stores to up­date their pay­ment sys­tems to ac­cept this new read­ing sys­tem; how­ever, the push is for a larger cause – to pro­tect the cus­tomer and the c-store.

For EMV chip cards, pro­tec­tion is the main rea­son for its ex­is­tence. Why else force mil­lions of new cards on cus­tomers? With the new EMV chip card, a cus­tomer must in­sert their card and wait as the chip se­curely com­mu­ni­cates with the pay­ment pro­ces­sor to au­then­ti­cate the trans­ac­tion. This al­lows for ex­tra ver­i­fi­ca­tion that the card isn’t coun­ter­feit.

Some peo­ple feel in­con­ve­nienced by the ex­tra time it takes for the chip card to process, but think of it this way – would you skip a sec­ond seat­belt check be­fore rid­ing a rolling coaster? Cer­tainly not. The same con­cept can be ap­plied with EMV chip cards – though it takes an ex­tra cou­ple of sec­onds, you are much safer than if you skipped that ex­tra belt check or in other words – used mag­netic stripe cards.


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