EMV credit cards are the wave of the future. But that future could be very expensive.
Short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, EMVs are a relatively new type of credit card equipped with embedded security chips designed to prevent fraudulent activity. It's no longer enough to copy down a user's 16-digit card number. The plastic (and chip) must be physically present at point-of-sale registers in order to make a purchase:
Writing paper checks at the cashier counter used to be the standard payment method for in-store purchases (second only to cash). Using these checks can be a bit inconvenient for those standing behind you in line, but we've all done it (or know folks who have).
The days of paper-based checks are numbered. The United Kingdom has already begun phasing out paper checks completely. And even in the United States, the federal government will no longer issue Social Security payments via the postal system.
In place of paper-based checks are electronic payment options that offer:
EMVs are chip-enabled credit cards that offer greater security (i.e. fraud prevention) than their more traditional swipe-and-sign counterparts do. Already the standard in most parts of the world, these EMV credit cards have only recently emerged in the U.S.
Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chip-enabled credit cards are becoming increasingly popular throughout the U.S. And it's not difficult to see why. They come equipped with fraud-prevention features, making them very difficult to clone.
In fact, it is because of these security features that EMV cards have already replaced traditional swipe-and-sign credit cards in most parts of the world.
In the U.S., you'll usually see EMVs marketed as either chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature credit cards. But how are they different (and which one is more secure)?