What is EMV Chip Card Technology?

EMV Definition

"EMV® is a global standard for credit and debit payment cards based on chip card technology" taking its name from the card schemes Europay, MasterCard, and Visa that developed it. The standard covers the processing of credit and debit card payments using a card that contains a microprocessor chip at a payment terminal.

Chip and PIN Definition

These transactions are often referred to as "Chip and PIN" because PIN entry is required to verify the customer is the genuine cardholder. This is a simplification since the EMV specifications include other cardholder verification methods as well.

EMV vs. Magnetic Stripe Transactions

Unlike magnetic stripe transactions, where typically only the card's track 2 data containing the card number and validity dates is processed, every chip card transaction contain dozens of pieces of information to be exchanged between the card, the terminal and the acquiring bank's host.

This requires the terminal to perform many stages of complex processing, including cryptographic authentication, to successfully complete a transaction. This means that adding support for EMV to existing payment applications can be a daunting task. For more info on the main processing steps required for EMV, take a look at this diagram showing a typical EMV transaction flow.

NB. The demands of providing an EMV solution do not stop once the necessary processing has been implemented.

EMV in the USA

If you are looking to migrate to EMV in the USA, please take a look at our more detailed EMV  and ChipDNA pages dedicated to the U.S. EMV migration.

EMV in Numbers

EMVCo published its latest EMV deployment figures in May 2014. There are over 2.37 billion EMV payment cards in circulation and 36.9 million EMV terminals.

EMV Testing

Before an EMV-capable solution can be deployed, there are many tests that need to be passed to validate that the implementation conforms to the EMV industry standard, and as the EMV specifications are regularly updated this can become a major job in itself - another reason why many businesses who require an EMV "Chip & PIN" or "Chip & Signature" solution opt to license a purpose-built EMV Software Kernel rather than develop their own.

EMV Glossary

To understand more about some of the terminology used in EMV, take a look at our glossary of terms.

About EMVCo

EMVCo is owned by American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay and Visa, and manages, maintains and enhances EMV Card Specifications to ensure global interoperability of chip cards with acceptance devices such as point of sale terminals and ATMs.

All our Kernels are EMVCo certified and currently have a 100% first time pass rate.

Talk to us...

Please get in touch if you think we can help you with your EMV migration plans!

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EMV Software for US EMV Migration

EMV in the US

USA EMV Migration

The US migration to EMV Chip Technology is imminent - we can help hardware manufacturers for Point of Sale devices, ATMs, vending machines, kiosks, ticketing machines etc. reduce risk, complexity, cost, and time-to-market. Read more [+]

EMV Kernel for Windows

Simple and rapid way of adding EMV Level 2 functionality to payment applications within the Windows environment. Read more [+]

EMV for Embedded Systems

Add card support to payment applications independent of device manufacturers. Read more [+]

EMV Technology for Java 

Add EMV Level 2 functionality to Java based payment applications. Read more [+]

Contactless EMV Kernel

Support for new generation payment applications requiring contactless (NFC) card acceptance. Read more [+]

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