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What is an EMV credit card?

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Quick Answer

An EMV credit card uses a computer chip to create a single-use transaction code to authenticate each purchase, explains CreditCards.com. Consumers still must sign for each transaction or use a PIN, depending on the policies of their specific credit institutions.

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Full Answer

EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, technology is more secure than magnetic-strip technology that most consumers use in United States, according to CreditCards.com. Magnetic-strip credit cards use the same transaction data every time the consumer makes a purchase, which makes the card information easy to steal and duplicate.

To use an EMV credit card, a consumer inserts the card into the EMV reader rather than swiping the card along the edge that contains the magnetic strip, notes CreditCards.com. EMV cards also have near-field communication capabilities, so consumers can tap EMV cards against a scanner, which quickly reads the information from the computer chip instead of using a traditional EMV card reader.

EMV credit cards issued in the United States come equipped with a magnetic strip in addition to a computer chip, according to CreditCards.com. This feature allows consumers to make purchases with their EMV credit cards at retailers that do not have a EMV reader or scanner.

After Oct. 1, 2015, the burden for in-person credit card fraud in the United States shifts to whichever party is less EMV compliant, explains CreditCards.com. Prior to that date, the responsible party is either the issuing bank or the payment processor depending on the card's terms.

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