DEFINITION of 'EMV'
A standard relating to integrated circuit cards, point-of-sale terminals and automated teller machines, set by Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV). EMV is a jointly developed global standard designed to allow interoperability between the cards and terminals used by the largest financial services companies.
BREAKING DOWN 'EMV'
Terminals that meet EMV standards typically require the card holder to use a PIN number rather than only providing a signature, which adds an additional layer of security. EMV cards also contain an integrated circuit chip, which encodes every transaction differently. If a criminal intercepts data from a chip card's transaction, the data cannot be reused to make another purchase.
The EMV standard covers the physical aspects of cards and terminals, as well as technical capabilities and data management. It applies to cards that require swiping (called contact cards) and to cards that do not (contactless cards), as well as to new standards being developed for e-commerce and online transactions.
Historically, credit and debit cards only used a magnetic strip to manage cardholder data. The cardholder would then sign a receipt at purchase. This system did not provide a high level of security, as a signature can be forged and the magnetic strip has proved relatively easy to hack – revealing the cardholder's private information to criminals.