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Credit Card Technologies Advance with Embedded Chips (EMV) for Better Security, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Credit card fraud is a massive problem, costing vast amounts of money each year.  Fraud losses on credit card accounts totaled $31.26 billion according to the Nilson Report 2018.  Every dollar of card fraud cost banks and credit unions approximately $2.92 in 2018, up 9.3% over 2017.  One of the largest challenges lies in the vulnerability of the credit card account number.  Unfortunately, thieves have frequently been able to hack into computer databases containing account information for millions of credit cards. 

Credit cards utilize some of the most sophisticated communications technology in the world of business.  For example, Visa transactions soar along millions of miles of fiber-optic cable.  Charges made in almost any location around the globe can be processed across phone and data lines to one of dozens of Visa data centers, and then authorized by the issuing bank while the approval is sent back to the point of purchase with an average elapsed time of two seconds.  Visa’s enhanced network has the capability of handling tens of thousands of transactions per second.

Credit and debit card technologies continue to improve.  Most credit card companies issue cards that contain an embedded chip.  Account information is encrypted on the chip, with the result that it is harder to counterfeit than old-style cards that feature only magnetic strips.  Chip-embedded cards create dynamic data that is good only for a single use.  The next use of the card calls on the chip to create another dynamic data set.

In Europe, most chip-embedded cards are based on a concept referred to as “EMV,” which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa.  EMV-enabled terminals require the customer to enter a PIN number when making a purchase, adding another layer of security. 

Contactless payment systems are also available, such as the Visa Token Service, which replaces personal data with unique series of numbers.  JPMorgan Chase offers a contactless credit card that allows users to simply tap the card on payment terminals rather than insert them.  Likewise, the Apple Watch offers contactless payment.  The goal is to speed up and simplify the checkout process.

Of course, the chip-enabled credit and debit cards don’t solve the problem of fraud in online purchases, and online sales of all types are growing at a fast clip around the world.  This type of purchase is referred to as card-not-present, or CNP.  Web site operators are being encouraged to use address verification and card validation codes on all transactions.  Additional technologies are very likely to be offered soon, as online fraud is a growing and very costly problem.



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