EMV: The Basics

EMV technology embeds payment account information into credit and debit cards via a microprocessor chip as opposed to storing the information on a magnetic stripe. Each time a transaction is processed using the EMV chip, a unique cryptogram is exchanged with the merchant's chip reader which makes it impractical for data thieves to create counterfeit credit and debit cards. Implementing the EMV standard in the United States will help to maintain the integrity of our electronic payment systems, decrease data security risks associated with sensitive cardholder data and reduce credit and debit card fraud.

Below you'll find answers to some of the most common questions regarding EMV:
  • What is EMV? +

    EMV originally stood for Europay, Visa, MasterCard but today it is simply a certification trademark owned by EMVCo which represents a payment technology that is designed to improve the overall integrity of payment systems by minimizing the value of stolen credit and debit card account data while at the same time making for a more dynamic payment infrastructure. EMV technology can be broken into two categories; contact and contactless. Contact EMV relies on micro processor chips embedded into payment cards which are programmed to interact with EMV enabled payment devices. Contactless EMV relies on NFC technology to transmit payment account details to NFC and EMV enabled payment devices.
  • What do I need to do to prepare for EMV? +

    Just about every merchant will need to perform some sort of update to their existing payment systems. For some merchants, it will be as easy as performing a simple application download on their existing EMV ready payment terminals. Others will need new payment terminals altogether and many will have to update their POS system software and hardware. For assistance, please contact Payment Logistics at 888.624.3687 M-F from 8 am to 5:30 pm Pacific or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • There seem to be EMV solutions popping up everywhere. How do I know which one is best for my business? +

    When choosing an EMV solution, merchants should be careful to consider other emerging payment technologies. For instance, the launch of Apple Pay and Android Pay has given rise to near field communication (NFC) technology where a consumer can simply tap their phone or NFC enabled card to make a payment. When upgrading for EMV, merchants should understand whether or not the upgrade will include support for NFC. Merchants should also consider how a new EMV solution will or will not enhance their transaction management capabilities. For instance, Payment Logistics has paired EMV capable payment terminals with our Paygistix® payment gateway to allow merchants to support EMV and NFC payments while gaining real-time transaction management capabilities from a simple to use online interface. These capabilities include the ability to adjust tips on EMV and non-EMV sales, issue refunds, void transactions and run repeat sales without needing the full card number. In addition, merchants gain the ability to run transaction and batch reports from any web browser or by using our Paygistix Mobile application for Android and iOS. All of this for no extra cost.
  • I was told by another company that I HAD to update my terminal / POS software right now for EMV, is that correct? +

    No. There is no law that says a merchant has to accept EMV or NFC payment technologies. The way the card brands encourage adoption of contact EMV and contactless EMV technologies is by changing their rules for who is liable for counterfeit card fraud when an EMV enabled payment account is used. Beginning October 1, 2015, merchants who accept card present counterfeit credit and debit card transactions that originate from EMV enabled payment accounts became liable for the face value of those transactions. As of the date of the liability shift, we estimate only about 20% of the US cards in circulation were EMV enabled. For most merchants, the immediate risk of the EMV liability shift is relatively low, however those merchants that sell high ticket items or who are traditionally targets of fraud should be looking to upgrade their systems in the near term. We encourage all merchants to plan on adopting EMV by mid 2016 if not sooner. We are committed to assisting all of our clients with the EMV transition and we plan to do so in a manner that upholds their best interests.
  • I heard tip adjustment doesn't work with EMV transactions and I'll have to ask my customers if they want to leave a tip before charging their card. Is this true? +

    EMV has been available in many other countries in the world for quite some time. In most other countries, tips cannot be adjusted on EMV transactions after the card is charged. This has lead to the proliferation of misinformation about EMV and tip adjustments here in the United States. In fact, this misconception has been so prolific that many payment terminal manufactures built their EMV payment applications without support for traditional tip adjustment. Merchants who process with Payment Logistics and utilize a Paygistix certified EMV terminal will be able to perform traditional tip adjustment on all EMV credit transactions, including those that require a PIN verification. Payment Logistics was one of the first companies to publicly announce support for traditional tip adjustment on EMV transactions and has been a big part of informing the rest of the industry that not only is this possible, but it is also easy to accomplish from a technology standpoint.
  • I currently use a POS with integrated processing. What are my options? +

    If you have a point of sale system, we recommend contacting your POS vendor and asking them about their plans to support EMV. Most POS system developers are familiar with the US migration to EMV, but have yet to formalize plans to support it in their systems. Encourage your POS developer to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about adding EMV capabilities to their system. We offer simple integration technology that allows POS developers to add EMV support with little development and expense.
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EMV Glossary

Check out a simple glossary of common EMV and related industry terms.

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