What is Chip Technology?

A tiny, brilliant technology fuels a global transition.

Chip cards are the same size and shape as traditional plastic payment cards. But they are far more powerful. Each one contains a tiny computer that makes transactions safer, faster and filled with vastly more potential for both merchants and consumers.

During a face-to-face purchase, the chip card communicates with the Point of Sale (POS) terminal. It can validate the cardholder’s identity and record important transaction information. Consumers can make purchases with a chip card using either a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or a signature. PIN-based transactions offer advantages such as enhanced security and speed.

MasterCard and other payment industry leaders have developed a set of regulations for chip card transactions, known as the EMV standard. More than 155 million cards and 3 million terminals that accept MasterCard now comply with EMV worldwide. EMV-compliant POS terminals are designed to accept every chip card produced to that standard, worldwide.

Aside from its benefits, chip adoption has little effect on merchant operations. You retain the same acquirer relationship and the same network connections. The biggest change is PIN authentication in regions where signature is the longstanding authentication method.