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Liability With EMV

Liability With EMV

Important information that may affect your business.

Avoid Counterfeit Transaction Liability With EMV

What is EMV?
EMV (short for “EuroPay, MasterCard®, and Visa®”), is a credit and debit card security system.

EMV utilizes a microchip embedded in the credit or debit card to enhance security. The chip generates unique data for each new transaction, allowing the ability to verify card authenticity. This combined with a PIN or signature, provides greater security and reduces fraud risk.

EMV has been widely used in Europe for several years, and the U.S. Card Associations are now taking steps toward making EMV the standard card payment type. This switch to EMV will require financial institutions, payment networks, card issuers, payment processors, and businesses to make substantial changes.

Learn more about EMV from First Data Merchant Services Corporation.*

How does this affect my business?

Some businesses may need to upgrade their point–of–sale equipment to newer equipment that supports EMV technology. Merchants who do not support EMV acceptance by specific deadlines will start bearing financial liability for certain kinds of counterfeit card transactions that are presently borne by card issuers.

Please note, you will be notified of any actions needed for the EMV transition. The new liability rules take effect on:

  • October 2015 for card-present point–of–sale (POS) transactions.
  • October 2017 for automated fuel dispenser merchants or pay–at–the pump card readers.

Vectra Bank wants to help prepare your business for this transition, and we will provide more information on the EMV transition in the coming months. As always, if you have any questions, please contact your Banker, Treasury Management Officer, or Merchant Services Operations at 800–341–8156 or, Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 5:30 pm MT.

EMV/Chip Card Frequently Asked Questions

What is EMV?

EMV is an acronym that stands for Europay, MasterCard® and Visa®. They are the founding companies for chip card technology. EMV is a payment application that resides in a computer chip embedded in a credit or debit card. The application specifications were developed by Europay, MasterCard®, and Visa® in order to help fight fraud. The specifications define a set of requirements that ensure compatibility between payment chip cards and card terminals.

The term “EMV” and “chip card” are interchangeable.

EMV has been widely used in Europe for many years, and the U.S. card issuers are now taking steps to make EMV the standard payment application for enhanced card security. The adoption of EMV will require financial institutions, payment networks, card issuers, payment processors, and businesses to make substantial changes to card issuing, transaction authorization and related processes as well as point–of–sale and/or ATM equipment.

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Why the change to chip cards?

The move to chip cards is intended to reduce fraud in the card payment system and to increase international acceptance of cards issued by U.S. issuers.

While magnetic stripe technology can usually be used in countries where EMV is prominent, some merchants now require the customer to use a chip card.

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How does EMV work?

During a payment transaction, the chip performs cryptographic processing by assigning a unique code to each transaction. This helps prevent the transaction data from being fraudulently reused. Chip processing takes place only when the card is used at an EMV terminal.

An EMV terminal is a point–of–sale (POS) device or ATM that is able to process chip transactions. Instead of swiping your card, you insert it in an EMV terminal and leave it in the terminal until the transaction is complete. If a merchant does not have an EMV terminal, transactions will be processed by swiping the card’s magnetic stripe, just as they are processed today.

Make sure you remove your card from the POS terminal before leaving the merchant’s premises! This is a common challenge people face when getting used to using a chip card.

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Where are EMV cards used today?

EMV cards are in use throughout Europe and in most of the Middle East, Asia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Africa.

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When will I be able to get a chip card?

We will be issuing chip cards in phases. We expect to issue chip cards to commercial card customers in the first quarter of 2015 and to consumers and small businesses in the fourth quarter of 2015. Please note that these are anticipated issue dates and are subject to change.

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How do I get a chip card?

Once chip cards are available, you will be issued a chip card when your card expires. If you would like to request a chip card before your expiration date, please call the number on the back of your card.

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Is there a fee for ordering a chip card?

At this time we do not plan to charge customers for a chip card. If you request expedited replacement of your current card, we may charge a fee for faster delivery.

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If I am traveling outside of the U.S. before the chip card is available, can I still use my existing card?

Yes, subject to our fraud monitoring and ATM limits, you may continue to use your magnetic stripe card outside the U.S. Please notify us in advance of traveling abroad to better ensure your legitimate foreign transactions are not declined. Magnetic stripe–only cards are still accepted outside the U.S. though some “unattended” kiosks (parking meters, gas station pumps) may take only chip cards. For foreign travel, we recommend that you consider having another method of payment available just in case.

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What type of fraud prevention is available with my card?

We take card security seriously and have sophisticated services in place to help detect fraudulent transactions:

  • 24/7 Fraud Monitoring – We always monitor your accounts for suspicious activity and attempt to contact you when we see something out of the ordinary. To ensure the best possible service, you should maintain accurate contact information with the bank and take advantage of our other fraud fighting tools like Mobile Card Fraud Alerts and Purchase Alerts.
  • Mobile Card Fraud Alerts – You can receive near real–time alerts of potentially fraudulent card activity on your mobile device or by email. Enrollment is available through Online Banking.
  • Visa Purchase Alerts® – You can receive one–way text notifications on certain purchases. Enroll by logging in to Online Banking, navigating to the “Services” tab, and selecting “Purchase Alerts.”
  • Visa Zero Liability® – Protects personal and small business customers against unauthorized transactions made with their Visa credit or debit card. Please visit for further details.

These services will remain available for use with your chip card. EMV will simply provide an additional layer of security.

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Can chip cards be used at contactless POS terminals?

No. Currently, we do not plan to issue contactless chip cards. Chip cards will need to be inserted in to an EMV terminal.

If you have a contactless card, that feature will end when your card is replaced by a chip card.

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Will I still be required to sign for my card purchase?

Yes. You will be required to sign for credit card purchases. You will insert your credit card in the EMV terminal, wait for the transaction to process, remove your card and then sign for your purchase.

For debit cards, you have the choice of signing or using your PIN if the merchant’s terminal supports PIN entry.

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Is my card considered “chip and signature” or “chip and PIN”?

Both “chip and signature” and “chip and PIN” refer to the way a card is authenticated at the terminal. Your card will be authenticated using chip and signature. Chip and signature offers the same cryptographic security as chip and PIN.

While most of the banks in Europe chose chip and PIN authentication, the US market has leaned toward chip and signature in an effort to ease transition by maintaining the current experience of signing receipts. We expect our customers will also appreciate not having to remember a separate PIN in order to complete their transaction. The terminal recognizes that the card is chip and signature and won’t prompt for a PIN, even if it’s used in Europe.

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Can I use my existing PIN with my chip card?

For credit cards, your existing PIN can be used for ATM-based transactions only. For debit cards, you can continue to use your regular PIN at EMV–enabled merchant terminals that support PIN entry.

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Can I use my chip card at an ATM?

Yes. At ATMs that are not EMV–enabled, the transaction will be processed through the magnetic stripe technology in combination with your existing ATM PIN. At ATMs equipped with EMV chip readers, the transaction will be processed using the chip technology in combination with your existing ATM PIN.

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Are there any changes to my card other than adding a chip?

No. Your card account number, credit limit (if applicable) and all your card’s benefits remain the same.

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**Important Details**
*Merchant Services: Merchant Services products and services are provided directly by First Data Merchant Services Corporation, subject to its approval, and not by Vectra Bank Colorado.

Trademarks: All trademarks, service marks and trade names referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners.