Chip-and-PIN is a credit card with a computer chip in it and is fast becoming the global standard. The cardholder enters a PIN to validate a payment transaction.

Chip-and-PIN was coined in the United Kingdom and is the government-backed initiative to implement the EMV standard for secure payments in the UK. Though people commonly call it chip-and-PIN, the technical term is EMV. It’s a global technology specification for payment adopted by MasterCard, Visa, JCB and American Express. It ensures that chip cards work with point-of-sale terminals and ATMs from country to country, to authenticate credit and debit card transactions. The PIN adds another layer of security.

MasterCard and Visa EMV payment cards are used in many areas of the world and contain chips, or tiny computers, that make transactions safer and prevent counterfeit fraud. Chip-enabled cards are already accepted at millions of terminals worldwide. Twenty-two countries have embraced EMV cards and another 50 are in various stages of moving to them in the next two years, including China, India and Latin America.

In the U.S., members of the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) will begin using an international payment card in late summer/early fall of 2010.


See also, What is EMV?