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Understanding how EMV cards work is important, especially if you are also adjusting to the technology.
- What’s an EMV card? EMV cards are embedded with an encrypted microchip and require users to either enter a PIN or provide a signature at checkout. Most cards used today come solely with magnetic stripes, which can leave users more susceptible to fraud.
- How does it work? At checkout, users insert the card into a point-of-sale terminal; sign a receipt or enter their PIN; and remove the card. Unlike swiping, this process requires the card to be in the machine for the whole transaction. Whether a PIN or a signature is needed will depend on the card brand, the issuer and you as the merchant.
- What are the choices? There are three types of EMV cards: those with contact plates, those with antennas for radio frequency and those with both. The contact plate, a small metallic square on the front of the card, requires the card to make contact with a terminal, whereas cards with antennas just need to be within range of the terminal to be read. (These contactless cards might not be as common at first.) If you know EMV cards well, you can help out customers and make the process that much easier for them.
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