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USA EMV cards: Availability, Q&A (Chip & PIN or Signature) [2017>]

USA EMV cards: Availability, Q&A (Chip & PIN or Signature) [2017>]

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Old Jul 2, 19, 1:50 am   -   Wikipost
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What is EMV?
EMV is a standard for smart (or integrated-circuit, or chip) cards and the devices that can accept them. The standards are maintained by EMVCo and based on ISO 7816 (or ISO 14443 for contactless).

These cards come in two flavours: contact and contactless. Examples below:
----------------------------------------------------------

Notice the contactless indicator on the right-hand side (it looks like a sideways Wi-Fi symbol). It may also be found on the back of the card (for example, on the back of the new Costco credit card).


Where can I get a chip card?

Hawaiian717 operates a website with crowd-sourced information about various cards. You can adjust the search parameters to see cards with contactless, have PIN-primary authentication, etc.

Which businesses accept chip cards?

tmiw operates a website, also primarily crowd-sourced, that tracks chip-enabled merchants on a map. You can see if a merchant supports PIN, contactless, Quick Chip, et al.

Why doesn't my chip card ask for a PIN?

This is likely because you have a signature-preferring card. At this time, PIN-preferring cards issued in the US are rare. Not many financial institutions offer them; most of them instead provide Chip-and-Signature cards, which are programmed to prefer signature over PIN, if the card supports PIN at all.

What is the difference between Chip-and-Signature and Chip-and-PIN?

To the cardholder, the only major difference is how they authenticate themselves at the point of sale. The cardholder inserts their card as normal; instead of signing a screen or receipt, they will be asked to enter their PIN on the keypad.

[spoiler]

A few financial institutions issue some form of Chip-and-PIN credit cards or prepaid cards. Prepaid EMV cards however are not recommended due to junk fees.

Why no PIN? (cont.)
American debit cards are unique because they are psuedo-PIN-preferring cards. which may work at many automated kiosks. However, bear in mind the word may is used above is a context where there is no absolute certainty of success for certain environments such as automated kiosks due to different natures of offline and online transactions.

What is the difference between Chip-and-Signature and Chip-and-PIN? (cont.)

Most cards issued in the US are programmed to prefer signature, so save very few instances, they will prompt for a signature (unless the merchant sets a signature waiver). A PIN may be necessary in countries with mostly PIN-preferring cards when using unattended terminals (such as pay-at-the-pump or mass transit). If the card has a PIN for backup verification or ATMs, then that PIN should work. Otherwise, the card will be rejected. If the card is rejected, then either a.) the transaction must be performed by an attendant or b.) an alternative payment method will be required.

Some credit union issued credit cards will have this CVM (Cardholder Verification Method) as secondary if Chip-and-Signature cannot be done. Chip-and-PIN is the more prevalent method of authentication used outside the US, especially in transaction environments where no human interaction is needed (i.e. automated gas pumps, toll roads, train kiosks, etc.).

One chip can hold a lot more data, therefore it is capable of doing multiple verification methods. That's one of the great things about EMV over the mag-stripe which can hold very little data.

I want to know for sure what my EMV chip does. Is there anyway I can test out my own EMV card to see what the CVM list is?
alexmt has written up a nice step-by-step procedure on Post #3615.

If most of the EMV cards in the US is the Chip-and-Signature type, doesn't that mean it's still useless abroad?
Depends if you see it as glass half empty or glass half full. See Post #3 for further details on how Chip-and-Signature has worked both successfully and unsuccessfully depending on the merchant transaction environment and use your best judgment whether which one is right for you.


I don't want a chip in my card. I heard horror stories all over the media saying hackers can steal my credit card info from a mile away.


There are two types of chips. One is contactless and the other is contact. Cards can be either one or the other, or both.

In the Google Docs spreadsheet, the cards that are capable of contactless payments are listed seperately under the "RFID or NFC contactless chip" column. If it says yes, then that means it has the ability to do contactless payments. If it says no, it doesn't have that feature.

The one that the media has overhyped about hackers "stealing your information wirelessly" was the contactless type like this:

You are worried about this happening, right?

You don't have to worry. EMV is a chip standard that can have both contact and contactless interfaces. With the traditional contact interface, this means you actually have to physically insert the chip into a POS terminal for it to be authorized, like this:

With the contact interface, nothing is wireless. No data is sent out in a stand-alone contact type EMV chip. With the EMV contactless interface, data is sent wirelessly.

Furthermore, contactless chip cards are required to show a symbol (looks like Wi-Fi symbol) somewhere on the card that to denote its capability as a contactless card. For example, here's an example of a Discover Card with contactless capability (in which Discover calls "Discover ZIP") showing the contactless symbol on the back of the card:

Don't believe everything that the media says. Besides, millions of people all over the world from London to Singapore, uses contactless payments daily in extremely crowded subways and mass transit with nary any problems. There are multiple layers of encrypted securities and keys that are needed to break the code.

Frankly, giving your physical card to a waiter/waitress who takes the card out of your view is much more susceptible to fraud than contactless payments.

Why should I care?
If you are an international traveler, you will want this because majority of the world has or in the process of converting to this payment format.

In fact, in 2012, even North Korea moved to the EMV format, leaving the US as one of the countries in the world that hasn't done so.

In addition, VISA, MC, AMEX, and Discover have all agreed to incentivize the USA shifting to EMV payments by 2015 by shifting liability for fraudulent transactions to merchants if they do not have EMV equipment and the cardholder has an EMV card. So if you travel internationally or would like to get one before the others, you might be interested in getting one.


BS! I had no problems using my card in [insert whereever country], [insert whatever point in time]
If you stick to the tourist path where they have lots of visitors from the US, you should have no problems using your mag-stripe only card in hotels and restaurants, at least for now. But as things can change as things go forward.

However, consider that once you start taking the off-beaten path, go to non-touristy places where they are not familiar with mag-stripes, rent a car and use toll roads, fill up gas, or try to buy train tickets you might end up into a trouble of the machine not recognizing your card because it lacks the chip. Furthermore, a lot of toll roads, gas pumps, and automated ticket machines lack any human assistance to help you when you need it the most.

But [insert credit card company] told me all merchants that display their logo must accept them! All I have to do is report them for violating their agreements, right?
There are several factors against this.

1. You can only speak English. The merchant representative, most likely a part-time clerk earning minimum wage, speaks in a different language, let's say French. If you have no French language skills, how are you going to get your point across? Are you going to whip out your cell phone at exorbitant int'l roaming charges and hope the customer service is going to translate it for you on the spot? Or maybe you might actually know French. But how about Swahili, Farsi, Balinese, or the multiple languages in mainland China?

2. Just like US, the rest of the world's businesses uses part-time minimum wage workers as cashiers to cut down on labor costs. Most of their SOP training manuals are written by MBA types to not to do anything they are not familiar with. Do not expect them to understand the intricate details of credit card mumbo jumbo. You don't expect Taco Bell employees to understand the minute details of Discover-JCB-Union Pay agreements, right? Same thing the other way around: be respectful as a guest in their country, prepare in advance in their ways, avoid being an "ugly American" stereotype.

3. You are a guest in their country. You are a minority. If 99.9% of their country's people and other tourists from around the world uses EMV, do you really think they are going to accomodate the 0.1% of American tourists who only have mag-stripes credit cards?

4. Again, you are a guest in their country. How would you, as an American standing in line, react if a Chinese tourist was clogging up the lines at a local Taco Bell because the clerk doesn't understand the Discover-Union Pay agreement and has trouble communicating between Mandarin spoken by the tourist and English spoken by the Taco Bell clerk? Same way the other way around. You do not want to clog up the lines for everyone. The less hassle, the better.

5. VISA and MC make tons of money from merchants in that country. Say SNCF French Rail. It's a billion dollar company in France. Do you think VISA is going to pull the plug of their relationship with SNCF because SNCF refuses to do mag-stripe processing at their unmanned train station kiosk? Of course not. Be realistic.

6. And lastly, if you're up against an unstaffed toll kiosk, gas pump or train ticket machine, are you going to yell curses at the machine?

But I want my credit card to be able to be used in the US too!
No worries. They have not gotten rid of the mag-stripe on the back of the card for backward compatibility reasons, just like we still have embossed numbers on our cards for backwards compatibility to using those old carbon copy imprinters.

[insert own Hyatt card image front and back together with red arrows pointing to all the backward compatibility features]

You use the chip on the front of the card abroad (for now), and the mag-stripe just like any other card for the US. Basically, you're increasing your credit card's acceptance rate by getting a card that both via the chip and the mag-stripe. You're getting a better deal for free.

And when 2015 comes along and US switches to EMV, you'll be way ahead of everyone else too!


So why did the rest of the world and the US moved/moving toward EMV?
Primarily, due to fraud concerns. You see, the mag-stripe has been with us since the 1950s. It may have been the most high tech thing back in the day, but with the technology that is available today, any shmo can pick up a $100 USB magnetic card skimming device off of eBay and get your credit card info.

And unlike skimming off contactless cards which actually need the person to have l33t programming skills, skimming off a magnetic stripe has become so ubiquitous that nary a day goes about skimming fraud going on somewhere in America, from gas pumps, Michael's stores (2011), Target breaches (2013), restaurant waiters/waitresses, to even McDonald's drive thrus.

https://www.google.com/search?q=skimming+fraud

These type of fraud used to be prevalent in Europe. But once they started switching over to EMV starting over 2 decades ago, this type of fraud went elsewhere. It went over to Asia, Canada and Mexico, Latin America, etc. etc. until they too began implementing EMV to combat skimming fraud. The US is practically the only country left that hasn't done so, therefore all the fraud that used to take place elsewhere is now happening here.


But EMV is old and it's not fool proof. Shouldn't we just skip over it and do something new instead?
Yes, EMV is old. It was developed in the 1990s, and its smart card payment predecessor was first introduced in France. But as of today, it has become the de-facto global standard of payments.

But then, what else is there? There is no other de facto global standard of payments alternative. For example, if we decide to skip over it and do something new, hypothetically like DNA matching technology, it still means US int'l travelers will continue to have problems abroad with useless plastic acceptance because no other country is using this DNA matching technology except the US.

Besides, nothing is fool proof. You can say that the bank vault isn't fool proof because you can crack it open if enough C4 is used. But your average low-life scumbag isn't likely to get military grade C4 easily either. But the bank vault does make it harder to get the bank's money over say a petty cash box. That's the point here. EMV is akin to a security tight bank vault, the old mag-stripe is akin to a petty cash box lying around inside the drawer.


I'm a business owner and I don't think EMV is going to take off. I'm not going to spend extra hundreds of dollars to upgrade my credit card machine. Convince me other wise why I should.
I can understand the added extra cost to your business once this switchover takes place. But before even saying that, look at your existing POS terminal. Does it have a slot somewhere to insert a card?

Most likely, if you had replaced your POS terminal within the past five years, you already have an EMV capable terminal. EMV is basically just not turned on yet from the processor and acquirer side.

If you have an EMV capable terminal, then a best bet would be to contact your acquirer to have the EMV feature turned on. You did your end of the deal already by having an EMV capable terminal, it is now the acquirers' responsibility to turn it on in accordance to the EMV switchover mandate.

And if you don't, you are going to replace your POS terminal anyway from common wear and tear. It isn't a hard switch-over. You can continue to use your POS terminal until it dies out because EMV cardholders will still have the mag-stripe on the back. And by the time your non-EMV capable POS terminal is up for replacement the market will be full with these newer POS terminals that can accept the mag-stripe, EMV, as well as contactless payments.

In addition, you may also want to check with your acquirer or processor about EMV capable terminals. Some of them are willing to replace your terminal for free in preparation for the US EMV switchover. Call and ask for details.


But what's in it for me? I'm the one that has to pay for the upgrade.
All the major card networks have given incentives for merchants for the upcoming EMV switchover.

If 75% or more of your credit card transactions are done on an EMV contact and contactless terminal, they are going to waive your annual PCI-DSS fees, which usually costs you around $5.00-$19.95/month per terminal. The overall long term cost savings of those compliance fees will be larger than the cost of an one time upgrade for the terminal.

The downside is that once EMV switchover happens and if you do not have a POS terminal that is able to accept EMV, the fraud liability shifts over to the merchant.
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Old Nov 7, 19, 6:52 pm
  #5776  
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Originally Posted by RedLight2015 View Post
So I have made an interesting observation.

They built a brand new Fryís (Kroger) right at a light rail station here in downtown Phoenix. Itís a very nice store; has a bar, a full service restaurant, and everything seemed to have been made to serve people taking public transit. There is still parking (which takes Apple Pay, but Fryís will validate) as well.

but the observation is that none of the MX915s have any pens attached to them anymore. Theyíre just installing them without pens because they donít bother with signatures at all unlike Safeway.
I thought Safeway disabled signatures?
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Old Nov 7, 19, 8:35 pm
  #5777  
 
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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
I thought Safeway disabled signatures?
They did, but they kept the pens. People still use the pens for signing for non card things like for alcohol (AZ has some weird setups, you sign at Safeway to affirm youíre over 21)
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Old Nov 7, 19, 8:38 pm
  #5778  
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Originally Posted by RedLight2015 View Post
They did, but they kept the pens. People still use the pens for signing for non card things like for alcohol (AZ has some weird setups, you sign at Safeway to affirm youíre over 21)
Speaking of weird stuff, the Vons pharmacy apparently still uses MX800 series terminals for signing for prescriptions (or at least has them still facing customers, anyway).
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Old Nov 8, 19, 3:18 am
  #5779  

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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
I thought Safeway disabled signatures?
For some reason some refunds ask for one, particularly if it's a debit card routed as credit (EMV, pin bypassed).
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Old Nov 8, 19, 9:08 pm
  #5780  
 
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DP: Haven't shopped in Sears in a long time, but surprised they didn't take AmEx and their terminals have Contactless disabled.
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Old Nov 8, 19, 11:10 pm
  #5781  
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Originally Posted by Magna View Post
DP: Haven't shopped in Sears in a long time, but surprised they didn't take AmEx and their terminals have Contactless disabled.
I thought they accepted AmEx before? Though it's not surprising if they never did since Sears did start Discover and all.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 12:02 am
  #5782  
 
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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
I thought they accepted AmEx before? Though it's not surprising if they never did since Sears did start Discover and all.
They definitely used to. A quick search shows my last purchase at Sears was in 2014 and I used Amex.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 1:41 am
  #5783  
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Originally Posted by rasheed View Post
Looks like Speedway's parent took over Western Refining and its retail. WR has a ton of different brands, so it appears that will go through a branding change soon.

Somehow I doubt California will get the Speedway lower pricing though. The branded/unbranded price differences here are so crazy. Also, it does seem ownership here just change ls every few years as one company gets tired of dealing with the complex and bureaucratic market.

https://gilaherald.com/giant-gas-sta...dway-stations/
Speedway is already open in northern California. Some locations still have cash price/credit price which really irks me as I have NEVER seen Speedway do that anywhere else (as they did under previous ownership Nella Oil; Western Refining changed nothing about those sites). So basically if a site was a former Nella Oil site, it has cash price/credit price. If a site was a former Tesoro/USA site then it does not have cash price/credit price it just has one gas price. In Auburn, CA there are two Speedways right next to each other one is an old USA the other is a former Nella Oil and one has cash price/credit price and the other is same price for either payment method. The one with the cash discount is truly appearing as a discount as the credit card price at both sites is equal. It is just one has cash discount and one does not.

Also in northern California some locations are being rebranded "Speedway Express." These locations still have the convenience store run by someone other than Speedway and are generic "food mart" convenience stores. The stores do not run any Speedway promotions or anything, they are just generic. Most seem to be run by Anabi Oil. Keep in mind Speedway is a convenience store brand not a gas brand so seeing this is also very weird. The whole point of Speedway in the past was that it was on corporate operated stations and then dealer operated stations had the Marathon brand. I have again NEVER seen Speedway do this sort of thing anywhere else before where they use their name on a site where the c-store is not a Speedway store.

So in northern California all of the sites converted to Speedway (not Speedway Express) have upgraded pumps with EMV and NFC but the NFC is still marked as "coming soon." Speedway has spent significant money in these sites they have converted in northern California to add in new coffee, soda, speedy freeze, etc. equipment and put in some new counters, etc. I do believe they are committed to the sites and hope you are wrong when you say they will likely get tired of the state and move on in a few years. However, California has some of the absolutely worst convenience stores in the nation due to the high real estate costs and barriers to entry so it may play out as you predict it to.

The Speedway Express sites were previously branded Shell or Mobil. No sites are keeping those two brandings.

Speedway is also currently converting sites in Utah and Las Vegas over to its brand at present (these were previously branded as Shell, Exxon, or Tesoro).

It appears they may be keeping the Arco brand in southern California... wondering when or if Speedway will appear there.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 1:45 am
  #5784  
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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
Kinda awkward since it hasn't been that long since that Shell station I mentioned used to be a USA Gasoline location. Maybe it'll be one of the ones that doesn't become Speedway?
They are not keeping any brandings with Shell, Exxon, or Mobil. It will be rebranded to something... either Arco or Speedway...
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Old Nov 9, 19, 1:46 am
  #5785  
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Originally Posted by Hawaiian717 View Post
They definitely used to. A quick search shows my last purchase at Sears was in 2014 and I used Amex.
Sears and Kmart stopped accepting American Express about five months ago.

This includes the Sears Dealer Stores.

Sears and Kmart just announced another round of store closures and total store count for both brands will be 159 stores after this round is completed.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 6:49 am
  #5786  
 
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Originally Posted by storewanderer View Post
Sears and Kmart just announced another round of store closures and total store count for both brands will be 159 stores after this round is completed.
Kmart will be down to 1 store in Michigan, the state where they were founded in 1962, after this round of closings. Stick a fork in them. Right now, they're undergoing an unofficial, slow, painful, liquidation. Don't expect them to last past 2020. At this point, they're too small to compete with the big boys. The only thing surprising to me is how they have held on this long, but the end is clearly near for both Kmart and Sears.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 10:38 am
  #5787  
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Originally Posted by LoveClassicMusic0205 View Post
Kmart will be down to 1 store in Michigan, the state where they were founded in 1962, after this round of closings. Stick a fork in them. Right now, they're undergoing an unofficial, slow, painful, liquidation. Don't expect them to last past 2020. At this point, they're too small to compete with the big boys. The only thing surprising to me is how they have held on this long, but the end is clearly near for both Kmart and Sears.
One Sears, one Kmart that I know of in this county. Though it's not like those two locations are doing that well either.

Anyway, going back somewhat on topic, I doubt they're ever going to get contactless. Not if they're so hard up that they had to stop accepting AmEx (presumably because of fees).
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Old Nov 9, 19, 1:23 pm
  #5788  
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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
One Sears, one Kmart that I know of in this county. Though it's not like those two locations are doing that well either.

Anyway, going back somewhat on topic, I doubt they're ever going to get contactless. Not if they're so hard up that they had to stop accepting AmEx (presumably because of fees).
I heard somewhere the Sears Dealers were accepting Contactless. I purchased a battery from one of them a few months ago and they did not accept Contactless (or American Express). They had NCR Hardware but still looked to be running the usual Sears register software (pinpad interaction and receipt were identical to a Sears receipt). It is possible they got broken off to a different copy of the same old Sears system back when they separated those from Sears (I think they re-joined Sears last month).

I highly doubt we will see Sears or Kmart accepting NFC. I am surprised they even bought the readers. But they were closer to 1,200 stores still back when they bought those readers...
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Old Nov 9, 19, 10:40 pm
  #5789  
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Originally Posted by storewanderer View Post
I highly doubt we will see Sears or Kmart accepting NFC. I am surprised they even bought the readers. But they were closer to 1,200 stores still back when they bought those readers...
I mean, IKEA only has like ~40 locations in the US and flat out trashed all of their MX915s and FD130s recently in favor of Ingenicos (vs. just fixing their software), so anything is possible.

That said, Sears is too far gone at this point and their Chapter 11 only gave them another year or two. IMO, anyway.
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Old Nov 10, 19, 12:30 am
  #5790  
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Originally Posted by tmiw View Post
I mean, IKEA only has like ~40 locations in the US and flat out trashed all of their MX915s and FD130s recently in favor of Ingenicos (vs. just fixing their software), so anything is possible.

That said, Sears is too far gone at this point and their Chapter 11 only gave them another year or two. IMO, anyway.
Well, there is a group of grocery stores (mostly independent) on register software supported by Associated Food Stores out of Salt Lake City and they for years used Equinox terminals along with their in-house POS system. Lately they have been replacing with MX915s or MX925s for some reason. I am told the Equinox terminals were frequently freezing up. Curiously Maverik (also out of Salt Lake City, also using an in-house POS system) put in a lot of MX915s back when they were on the Radiant system and when they switched off that to the in-house POS they replaced the terminals with Equinox terminals. The Equinox terminals, in my opinion, are great when they work. I also like the external lighting up NFC antenna as it is very clear where to tap. But I have encountered the freezing terminals a number of times at Maverik. They seem to work fine at Walgreens.
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