5 Things to Know About EMV

1.    What is an EMV chip? 
EMV stands for Eurocard, Mastercard, Visa. The golden (microprocessor) chip embedded on the front of the card uses contactless proximity radio frequency (RF) to complete a transaction, similar to the magnetic strip on the back of the card.  Retailers may also support a card insertion system and the customer inserts the card into a reader, called “card-dipping.” 

2.    Why use an EMV chip? 
EMV chip or “smart card” technology is the next phase for protecting consumer data and is becoming the global standard for credit card and debit card payments.

3.    Will EMV chips eliminate credit card fraud?  
It will help lower the risk, but EMV chip technology alone won’t eliminate the risk of identity theft or credit/debit card fraud.  Consumers should follow step #4 (below) and monitor their transaction activity to look for fraudulent activity.

4.    How can I get the most security from EMV?  
Use the EMV chip where available and choose to enter your PIN (personal identification number) instead of your signature.  Anybody can sign your name, but nobody else should know your PIN.

5.    What security concerns should I have with EMV? 
Because EMV chips use radio frequency to support “contactless” transactions, it means that the chip is always on and actively “talking” on a radio frequency.  Anybody can use an RF scanner to find and collect credit card data by walking around your pursue or wallet. 

This is an ongoing security concern because, while the RF scanner needs to be fairly close to work, any public areas like airports, hotel lobbies or even being in your car during traffic are close enough for a viable target. To shield the RF signal, consumers can use a RF-protected wallet or cardholder.

About the Author

Paul Fletcher - Cyber Security Evangelist at Alert Logic

Paul Fletcher

Paul Fletcher has over 20 years of experience in information technology and security. Prior to joining Alert Logic, Fletcher advised executives in the energy, retail, and financial sectors regarding emerging security threats and mitigation strategies. Additionally, he has worked with Fortune 50 organizations, the Department of Defense, and critical infrastructure organizations to implement risk management plans and security solution designs. His other specialties include network security, customer data integrity, application security, forensics investigation, threat intelligence, and incident response. Fletcher holds a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

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