Frequent fliers accustomed to traveling internationally for business are helping drive demand for EMV cards within the United States. Business travelers who have found it increasingly difficult to use their magnetic stripe cards while abroad are now requesting that American banks provide EMV, or chip and PIN cards, which are used more commonly in Europe and around the world.

“EMV” refers to Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, three financial service corporations that collaborated to establish a global standard for secure, reliable, and consistent credit and debit card transactions. These cards are also called “chip and PIN” cards because they incorporate an embedded microprocessor chip and require a personal identification number for authentication. These security measures make chip and PIN cards far more secure than the magnetic stripe cards that are standard in the United States, since the magnetic stripes containing sensitive financial data are vulnerable to skimming at ATMs and point of sale terminals. In Europe, chip and PIN technology has significantly reduced the potential for fraud in transactions where the credit card is not physically present.

JPMorgan Chase began issuing cards with embedded microprocessor chips last year in response to requests from cardholders who are frequent international travelers. And more major card issuers have followed suit by incorporating EMV technology. American Express has announced plans to release chip-based cards in the United States, as part of a “roadmap to advance EMV chip-based contact, contactless and mobile payment for all merchants, processors, and issuers.”

Most of the EMV-based cards offered in the United States are chip-and-signature, rather than chip-and-PIN, due to differences in the way payments are processed. Nevertheless, these advances in card technology are a positive step, so thank you to business travelers for pushing banks to incorporate EMB technology and making overseas travel more convenient and more secure.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. Disclosures

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