Have you been issued a new EMV chip card yet? It's called "chip-and-PIN" technology, and it's been in Europe and Australia for a while, but now it's coming to America. But will it actually make us safer? Or is it too little, too late?
First, let's define the terminology. EMV is an acronym for the first three companies that developed the technology in these credit cards: Europay, MasterCard and Visa. "Chip-and-PIN" means the card has a microchip that creates a single-transaction code instead of your card number during an in-person transaction, and also requires you to enter a personal identification number (PIN).
Theoretically, the microchip's ability to generate single-transaction codes keeps your card number safe from thieves if there's a data breach where you've used the EMV card. And the PIN ensures that someone can't just steal your card and use it - in an in-person transaction, that is.
Here's the primary issue with the EMV cards: chip-and-PIN technology does nothing to protect you from fraud if the perpetrator uses your card number and expiration date on the phone or online. These are known as "card not present," or CNP, transactions, and CNP fraud has actually increased in Europe after the adoption of EMV cards.