Curious about EMV credit cards? Want one?

April 30, 2014

By Pam Leibfried

Curious about EMV credit cards? Want one?

After tens of millions of credit and debit card numbers were exposed via data security breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus and Michael’s, you may have read or heard commentary about the “EMV” chip-enhanced credit cards, also known as “smart cards,” already implemented in other countries.

So what does EMV stand for? It stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, three of the largest payment entities that collaborated to set and implement consistent standards for chip-enhanced cards.

Why are EMV chip-enhanced credit cards – like the ones now being issued by Alliant – more secure? Below is some background information on how EMV cards can help protect you from credit card fraud and give you greater flexibility and convenience if you travel abroad.

What is an EMV card?
An EMV smart card has a microchip embedded in it, making it very difficult to counterfeit. Fraudsters have access to inexpensive means of making counterfeit versions of a magnetic-stripe-only card if the card number has been compromised. The encrypted microchips used in smart cards, on the other hand, are nearly impossible to reproduce, making it much more difficult for fraudsters to use a compromised card number. Although EMV chips can’t prevent all fraud, they have significantly reduced credit card fraud in nations that have already adopted the technology.

Greater global acceptance
If you travel internationally, you’ve likely encountered a restaurant or merchant using a chip-reading card terminal. Many countries have already adopted the EMV card technology as a standard method of payment. U.S. merchants are beginning to make the transition to smart card terminals, but because the U.S. market is so large and there are so many so-called “points of sale,” the implementation process here will be gradual, happening over the next couple of years.

Alliant EMV chip-enhanced Visa® credit cards
In preparation for EMV’s widespread implementation here – and for the convenience of Alliant members who travel to countries already using EMV – Alliant now offers EMV chip-enhanced credit cards. Alliant’s new EMV chip-enhanced credit cards will make it easier for you to pay when you travel internationally, and it will have no impact on U.S. payments. Because Alliant’s microchip-enhanced credit card still includes a magnetic stripe just like our current credit cards, there’s no change at all in how you can use the card in the United States. Simply swipe your card and sign the receipt, just like you do today.

Current Alliant Visa cardholders

  • Not in a hurry to get an EMV card? When your Alliant Visa Platinum or Visa Platinum Rewards credit card expires, the replacement credit card Alliant sends you will be an EMV chip-enhanced card. You’ll probably get your new EMV credit card before chip-card terminals are widely adopted in the United States.
  • Want your EMV replacement credit card right away? If you’d like your new EMV replacement credit card before your current card expires, just request a replacement card in Alliant Online Banking. Or call 866-444-8529 and ask us to send you a new chip-enhanced card.

Don’t yet have an Alliant Visa credit card? Apply today! If you don’t currently have an Alliant Visa card but you want an EMV credit card, you can apply online for an Alliant Visa Platinum or Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards credit card (subject to approval). 

Want to learn more about Alliant’s EMV chip-enhanced credit cards? We’ve shared the answers to some frequently asked EMV questions on our website.

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