May 26, 2015

Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) cards are the global standard for credit cards. EMV cards are being adopted for two main reasons, global compatibility and safety from fraud.

1st United Services Credit Union is making the switch to EMV cards this year and here’s why:

Why are EMV better for traveling?

EMV cards are the preferred payment method globally. The United States is the last major country that isn’t using EMV. In fact, in some European cities, they don’t support “swipe” technology anymore, causing difficulty for Americans traveling abroad.

How does EMV help prevent fraud?

Card fraud has more than doubled in the past several years, which has left financial institutions and consumers frustrated and demanding a better solution.

Magnetic stripes house your sensitive account information. Fraudsters can simply replicate the magnetic stripes on traditional cards to access that information. EMV cards, however, offer authentication via a tiny computer chip embedded in the card. The chip creates a unique transaction code when processing your transaction which can never be used again. Experts agree that this improved technology will substantially reduce the possibility of fraud.

How do I use it?

Similar to your experience today, you will “dip” the card into the reader. Depending on the terminal, you will sign or PIN for the transaction as usual. The card will remain in the reader until the transaction is complete.

Can I still swipe?

Yes. During the transition, the first EMV cards will be equipped with both chip and magnetic-stripe functionality. As merchants switch to the new in-store readers, financial institutions will likely convert to chip-only cards. For the United States, eliminating swipe technology is likely years away.

When can I get an EMV card?

EMV cards will be gradually issued to members starting in 2015 and into 2016. If you are a frequent traveler and would like to request a EMV-enabled card earlier, simply call or email our Member Contact Center.

We believe this new technology is a major step toward combatting fraud and improving your experience when traveling abroad. We hope you enjoy the convenience.