You Have Been Chipped!

Preface by Melissa Diegal | TLB Staff Writer


Remember the microchips conspiracy theorists told us were possibly going into our hands? According to 1st bank there is a new federal mandate that requires all banks to provide microchip cards to their customers now (known as EMV chip cards.) People in the United States are now going to be chipped through their bank cards.

This new federal mandate states that all banks are federally required to provide EMV cards to their customers.

After researching, I am alarmed because the potential is concerning. It is definitely another way to keep track of all Americans with bank accounts.

One of the very first considerably notable embedded systems was the Apollo Guidance Computer, developed by Charles Stark Draper at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory. At the time, the Apollo guidance computer was considered an extremely risky project as it employed the integrated circuits to reduce the size and weight of the craft.

Embedded systems are being used in portable devices such as watches MP3 players, traffic lights, hybrid vehicles, MRI, and avionics.

But the question is when every single American is carrying a chip card and it can track your location, has your social security number, address, banking info and the potential to track all your medical info all your purchases etc. Do you really want big brother watching that closely?

The ABCs of EMV


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The ABCs of EMV

E-M-V isn’t as easy as A-B-C, but it’s a lot less complicated than many people think. We stripped away the confusing tech-speak and nuances that don’t apply to consumers, and came up with some of the essential questions you may have about EMV chip cards. We spoke to EMV expert Philip Andreae, director of field marketing at Oberthur Technologies. Let’s get educated … A-B-C style!

“A” stands for … Am I going to need a new card?

If your current magstripe card doesn’t have an EMV chip, you’ll need a new card to use the chip feature. For now, available EMV cards also have magstripes, but using the chip makes your transactions more secure. Issuers didn’t have a strong incentive to make EMV cards available until October 2015, but you can contact your issuer to find out if you can get an EMV-chipped version of your current card right now.

Current EMV cards include both a computer chip and magstripe to accommodate merchants. Some merchants accept EMV transactions; others don’t. Merchants also got a strong incentive to put in EMV-capable payment terminals starting in October 2015 — more on that later.

“B” stands for … But wait a second, how are these cards more secure?

If you’ve lost faith in the payment industry due to cases of data theft — like the Target breach — EMV cards should put your mind at ease. They transmit dozens of pieces of information between the card, the terminal and the acquiring bank’s host, while magstripes only process limited data. Because of this, it’s much easier to skim information from a magstripe card and transfer it to a prepaid card. By using the chip instead of swiping, your transactions will be safer, and identity theft will be much less likely to occur.

To break it down for you, Andreae said there are three words you need to know in relation to EMV technology — authentication, verification and authorization.

  • Authentication: EMV uses a mechanism to determine that the card belongs to the cardholder.
  • Verification: The issuer can verify an EMV card using a PIN or signature for security, or if the transaction is below a certain amount, no verification method is necessary. This amount will vary based on the card brand, card issuer and merchant.
  • Authorization: The issuer can assure cardholders that their cards will be authorized when the terminal can’t be contacted with EMV technology.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s Best ‘EMV With Signature’ Credit Cards

“C” stands for … Can I use an EMV card overseas?

Perhaps. The United States is behind the times in the EMV game — it’s been the standard way to pay in many European, Asian and Latin American countries for years. Most recently, Canadians embraced EMV to avoid the international migration of fraud attributed to magnetic-stripe skimming. However, the form of card verification varies around the world. Chip-and-PIN cards are the preference in Europe, chip-and-signature are the preference in Asia, and here in the United States issuers tend to prefer chip-and-signature cards given their ease of use and affordability.

As a consequence, some overseas’ vendors won’t process chip-and-signature transactions. These mostly consist of kiosks and small merchants. Will chip-and-PIN become the norm in the U.S. in the future? That will be up to the issuers. Theft and loss is just one part of fraud, and the mechanism required to process the PIN card verification method (CVM) is complicated to create.

“D” stands for … Do they make EMV-capable debit cards?

EMV credit cards are the first on the market, but debit cards are following. Oberthur Technologies has just released the OT’s Cosmo RSA v5 — the first MasterCard-certified debit card that meets Durbin Amendment guidelines. Why is that significant? According to Andreae, the barriers to EMV debit technology — including that EMV was built on the assumption that there was a single debit network, whereas the U.S. has 18 — were removed in April 2014. So while EMV debit cards are trailing EMV credit cards, they will catch up.

“E” stands for … EMV chips were supposed to be in all credit cards by October 2015, right?

While a “liability shift” occurred in October 2015, issuers weren’t required to provide EMV cards at that time, and vendors weren’t forced to accept them. What did happen is that liability for fraudulent transactions became the responsibility of the party that doesn’t support EMV. So while some merchants and issuers were already supporting EMV transactions before the shift, that doesn’t mean all of them will in the immediate future.

“F” stands for … Fill me in, will EMV change how I pay for things?

EMV changes how you pay, but it’s still easy and you’ll get used to it quickly. With a magstripe card, you swipe and put the card back into your wallet. With an EMV chip card, you’ll insert your card into the terminal and leave it there until the receipt begins to print, and then remove it. Andreae said, “Just follow the prompts on the terminal; they will tell you when to insert the card and when to remove it.”

Main takeaways: The A-B-Cs of E-M-V aside, here are four things you need to know:

  • EMV technology is more secure than magstripes and will lower your risk of identity theft via credit card.
  • While not required to do so, more issuers and merchants have become EMV-friendly since October 2015 to avoid being liable for fraudulent transactions.
  • Credit and debit cards with EMV chips will be used a little differently to pay for things than the traditional magstripe, but it’s an easy switch.
  • EMV debit cards are trailing behind EMV credit cards, but they do exist and will catch up.

This article has been updated. It was originally published Aug. 6, 2014

Teaching image via Shutterstock


Melissa Diegel is the mother of (3) children, two of whom were medically kidnapped. She is the voice of the voiceless and speaks out on humanitarian issues. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona and supports the constitution, family rights and believes in the right to freedom of speech. She is a radio talk show host on the 4 Family Justice National Radio Show sponsored by the Liberty Beacon Project. She is a published writer and has been a frequent guest on many international talk show radio programs. Currently there are over 21,000 children in the Arizona DCS system with over 36 children a day are being taken, many unjustly for federal funding. Two of those children, out of those 21 thousand are her daughters!

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