What should I know about EMV or chip cards?

You may have heard about the upcoming switch to EMV or chip cards in the credit card industry. EMV stands for “Europay, MasterCard and Visa” and is a technology that uses computer chips, that are very hard to counterfeit, to authorize a transaction.

After an October 1, 2015, deadline created by major U.S. credit card issuers [MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express], the liability for card-present fraud will shift to whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in a fraudulent transaction.


Here is an example of how the changes could affect your organization:

  • A customer pays for a transaction using an EMV card.
  • The merchant does not have a way to process EMV cards and instead uses the magnetic strip.
  • The card ends up being fraudulent.
  • The cost of fraud will fall back onto the merchant.

What is CircuiTree’s plan?

We do have plans to support chip readers for SalesLink, however, after evaluating the risk of fraudulent transaction we don’t plan to support EMV out of the gate in October. That decision was made for a couple of reasons:

  1. Non-profit organizations [especially camps and conference centers] typically “know” their customer much deeper than a typical retail transaction. Due to this, the frequency of fraudulent transactions is significantly less than in other industries.
  2. Very few Point-of-Sale [POS] manufactures actually support EMV.
  3. Because of number 2, the cost to upgrade will be significant. We are evaluating using Verifone products. The least expensive card swipe is $500 and goes up from there.

As we continue the product evaluation process, we will keep you updated with any changes that need to be made.

Where can I learn more?

Here is an credit card industry article about the switch:

If you have any further questions, please contact your Business Analyst.


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