EMV Readers: What is it and How it Works?

An EMV card reader uses chip technology to improve payment security, speed up purchases, and give merchants access to global transactions. Magnetic-stripe readers are on their way out, and an EMV chip card reader is now a necessity for forward-thinking businesses.

With EMV technology, customer card details are securely encrypted, whether shoppers use their phone or a physical card to pay, protecting both your organization and your customers from fraud. Your business will be significantly more protected than before – adopting EMV card readers means the liability for fraud shifts away from you and the card issuer.

Next, we are going to explain how EMV works, and why it’s essential for processing smart, safe payments in your organization.

What is an EMV reader?

An EMV reader is a card terminal which uses Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) technology to process transactions using chip and pin, chip and signature, contactless, and mobile payments. The technology was developed by a range of major card providers to create more secure, smart card payments. It is therefore an electronic payment system.

These chip card machines read the smart chip in an EMV payment card instead of the magnetic strip, and use the data it stores to process the payment. Most common modern card readers, such as the PayPal Zettle card reader, are also EMV readers.

How EMV technology works

The key to EMV’s success is the microchip. EMV chip readers can read the data stored on the chip in an EMV payment card. These are the standard payment cards issued by banks and credit card companies which we’re already familiar with. The customer can pay with just a tap if their card is contactless, insert their card and use their PIN, or make card-not-present payments by using their smartphone.

Customers’ payment data is more secure with EMV because dynamic authentication frequently encrypts the data. This dramatically reduced the possibility of card data being read, intercepted, and copied by someone or something that shouldn’t have access.

Contactless EMV technology uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which communicates with the card reader and securely authenticates it. The EMV reader creates a unique transaction code, ensuring the payment is processed correctly only once and the payer’s card details stay private. Customers can access this same technology through mobile payments without having to carry their physical card with them.

EMV is simple for merchants too. Businesses can connect a phone or tablet to their EMV card reader using Bluetooth technology, making their point-of-sale (POS) experience smart, affordable, and portable. Even the smallest business can now access a sophisticated, intuitive POS system which speeds things up for their customers and reduces their fraud liability.

Benefits of EMV card readers

  • Increased security and fraud prevention. Unlike their magstripe equivalents, EMV cards are tamper-proof and clone-resistant, as all payment data is encrypted when customers pay with an EMV card reader. This is one of the most secure forms of payment available globally.
  • Fraud liability shifts away from merchants. Since October 2015, merchants failing to use EMV technology can be liable for the cost of fraudulent payments.
  • Global interoperability. EMV migration is rapidly moving through the U.S. This is a truly global technology which allows organizations to process payments securely no matter where they are.
  • Customers can pay in their favorite way. With EMV technology, customers can choose to pay with their phone, or choose to tap or insert their card. They’re in control of how they pay.
  • Increased spending and trust. Easier payments mean more payments. Give your customers the ability to use a tap-and-go payment method they can rely on.
  • Access small data analytics. Drive your decision-making with real insights into how your customers pay and what they’re buying.

Types of EMV readers

Contactless EMV readers

Shoppers can pay up to $200 at a time by just tapping their card or phone on a contactless card reader. These card terminals are fast and simple, whether customers are paying for coffee or something larger.

Contact EMV readers

EMV readers also enable customers to insert their card and type in their PIN to authenticate a payment. This is key for larger payments over $200, and to confirm the card’s security details periodically.

Mobile EMV readers

Shoppers can securely pay on a portable EMV chip reader with their bank or credit card by syncing it with their smartphone. Apple Pay and Google Pay are just as protected from fraud and even more convenient for the customer.

Types of EMV chips

  • Chip and pin. When customers insert their payment card into the EMV reader, it will prompt them to type in their four-digit PIN. The payment will be approved if the PIN is correct.
  • Chip and signature. A chip and signature card will prompt the EMV card reader to print a receipt for the customer to sign. The merchant will then check it matches the signature on the back of the customer’s card and approve the payment using the card reader.

Does my business need to accept EMV chip cards?

Adopting EMV technology is essential if your business wants to protect its customers’ payment data, speed up purchases, and reduce liability for fraud. The liability shift from card issuers and merchants is a big incentive to start accepting this ultra-secure form of payment, reducing costs and effort for organizations which demonstrate they take security seriously.

Your customers will thank you too. EMV chip readers provide flexibility, security, and convenience. With readers and terminals coming in increasingly small and affordable packages, it’s never been easier to upgrade to EMV chip technology.

How EMV terminals can lead to faster processing times

The benefits of an EMV virtual terminal are clear, as discussed throughout this article. With this smart technology, your business can take hassle-free payments fast, with added layers of security and authentication. You’ll gain understanding and insights; your customers will gain speed and peace of mind. EMV is the future of in-person payments.

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