Is Your Practice Ready to Accept EMV

Learn about EMV "chip" technology in credit cards, how they work and upcoming deadlines D.C.s need to be prepared for.

Money & Credit

Is Your Practice Ready to Accept EMV "Chip" Cards?

Chip credit cards have been used overseas for over 20 years but this technology, also known as EMV, is fairly new in the United States.  EMV technology is about to take off in a big way.  In fact, it is projected that 40 percent of debit cards and 70 percent of credit cards issued by the end of 2015 will be chip-based cards*.

This begs the question: Are you ready to accept chip cards from your patients? Learn more about this new payment card and how it works.

What is EMV?

The EMV card was named after its developers — Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. It is much like a traditional card but with enhanced security, which is why more than 80 countries** have adopted it. EMV cards are embedded with a microprocessor chip, which stores and protects cardholder data. Each time the card is used, the chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again.

How do you use it?

EMV cards are read in a slightly different way than cards with a magnetic stripe. Depending on the card, your patients will use one of these two methods:

  • Inserting: Similar to using an ATM, customers will insert their cards into the machine until the transaction is completed.
  • Tapping or Waving: Near Field Communication (NFC) card reading allows the customer to simply tap or wave the card near the reader.

Because the transition to EMV is anticipated to be a gradual one, most issuers are sending out new cards that contain both a chip and a magnetic stripe. Chip processing is preferred because it is more secure, but the swipe method can be used as a backup if the chip or chip reader isn’t functioning. As the transition to EMV nears, you may want to consider a terminal that can process insert and tap-and-go payments.

Similar to traditional payment cards, most transactions will require either a signature or PIN number to verify the payment. For now, most card issuers will offer chip-and-signature cards, as many processors are not yet equipped for the chip-and-PIN cards.

When will the transition happen?

Card associations have set a compliance deadline for October 1, 2015. This doesn’t mean you must have EMV-compatible terminals by October. After the deadline, however, if your business doesn’t have EMV terminals you will be liable for fraudulent charges should they occur.

What we're doing to help our D.C. merchant customers? 

Software allowing merchants to accept EMV chip cards is still being developed. NCMIC is monitoring these software developments and testing EMV terminals for our customers, looking at ease of use and compatibility with future software updates.

Be careful of EMV offers

NCMIC encourages all D.C.s to be careful of EMV equipment and terminal offers which seem too good to be true. These offers can come from unscrupulous agents or sales organizations in an attempt to get you to switch processors and may be tied to long term equipment leases or end up costing you in the form of higher processing rates and fees if you switch.

If you have questions regarding the EMV transition or preparedness, we invite you to call us at 800-437-0712.



The information in the NCMIC Learning Center is offered solely for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as, nor does it represent, legal or professional advice. Neither does this information constitute a guideline, practice parameter or standard of care. You should not act or rely upon this information without seeking the advice of an attorney familiar with the specific legal requirements of the state(s) in which you practice. If there is a discrepancy between the site and an insurance policy you have with NCMIC, the policy will prevail.