About EMV and Apple Pay for merchants

Learn about EMV, how the transition to EMV will affect you, and why it's important to how you do business.

What is EMV?

EMV is a payment technology standard for debit and credit card transactions. It provides transaction security features, reduces the risk of card-present fraud, and provides other application capabilities that aren't available with magnetic stripe cards.

This improved security protocol uses a unique code for each transaction, which is passed along with the card information to the bank or card issuer for verification. This form of authentication makes it more difficult to use skimmed or copied card data.

What's happening to magnetic stripe card payments? How will a transition to EMV affect my business?

Because of increasing rates of fraud and a number of recent high-profile data breaches, U.S. banks, card issuers, and merchants are moving away from magnetic stripe cards and terminals. The transition to chip-enabled cards and EMV-capable terminals will help protect consumers and reduce fraud losses due to counterfeit, lost, or stolen cards. 

As the EMV-compliant payment infrastructure is implemented, you will need to reassess your current POS (point of sale) system to determine your path to EMV compliance. You might need to update your POS system’s hardware, software, or both.

Since October 1, 2015, businesses that can't process EMV payments can be held liable for fraudulent transactions made with chip-enabled cards.

Who has liability?

In the past, if a merchant uses a fraudulent card, the bank or card issuer would be liable for the costs. However, since October 2015, if someone makes a fraudulent transaction with a chip card or Apple Pay and a merchant isn't set up with an EMV-compatible reader, the bank or card issuer won't be liable. For example, if someone makes a $30 purchase with a counterfeit EMV chip card, and the merchant doesn’t have a chip card reader, the merchant would be responsible for the $30.

What does EMV mean for Apple Pay?

Apple Pay conforms to the latest EMV standards for tokenizing transactions, which leads to a more secure payment experience. With the EMV shift, merchants should update their terminals to support the latest software, which should also include NFC (near field communication), so you can accept Apple Pay and other contactless transactions. Learn what to do before you update your terminals

Because of the increased security, EMV transactions made with chip cards can take longer than magnetic stripe card transactions. However, Apple Pay transactions through NFC are much faster and even more secure.

What’s the difference between EMV and NFC?

EMV and NFC are complementary technologies. EMV is the global payment standard to support both contact and contactless transactions made on an EMV-enabled terminal. NFC is a technology that enables electronic devices, such as iPhone or Apple Watch and a payment terminal, to communicate with each other when they’re close together.

Even though how you pay is different (inserting a card in the chip reader instead of holding your device near the NFC reader), both card-based and contactless EMV payments are more secure, authenticated ways to pay. Most readers that accept EMV chip cards are also enabled for NFC, which is required for Apple Pay. 

How do I enable EMV, contactless payments, and Apple Pay?

  • Contact your payment provider to learn how to update your terminals or confirm that your can receive EMV and contactless payments, including Apple Pay.
  • Learn how to accept Apple Pay in your store.
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