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If you have questions about Visa chip cards, you've come to the right place. See below for answers to commonly asked questions about Visa issuers' U.S. chip migration.

Card Overview

Why is Visa migrating to chip in the U.S.?

Due to growth in counterfeit fraud, Visa anticipated the need to shift to dynamic authentication over time. EMV chip is proven technology that can virtually eliminate counterfeit fraud.

Are U.S. issuers required to adopt EMV chip cards?

Visa encourages but does not require card issuing banks or merchants to migrate to chip technology. U.S. issuers may choose to adopt chip at whatever pace that works best for their business. However, Visa’s domestic and cross-border liability shift provides issuers an opportunity to benefit from enhanced chargeback rights if they adopt EMV chip cards. For issuers who take no action, there is no change to their fraud liability. It is important to point out that all stakeholders in the payment system are going to benefit from the U.S. migration as we move toward building a future-proof chip infrastructure that will help to further reduce fraud, support emerging payment technologies, and enhance international acceptance.

How does the U.S. migration to chip help global acceptance for international travelers?

While Visa cards are accepted at tens of millions of merchants globally, travelers occasionally experience difficulties when using their cards in chip markets. By moving the U.S. to chip, travelers may find that overseas merchants more readily prefer chip cards over magnetic stripe cards. Note, however, that regardless of preference, merchants are still required to accept magnetic stripe-only Visa cards.

Card Usage

Where would I find a list of the Visa Approved Card Products?

Before choosing a chip card vendor, issuers should first make sure that the vendor’s chip card product has been tested and approved according to Visa and industry standards. Visa allows eligible vendors to submit chip card products for Visa testing and approval at a Visa-Recognized Laboratory. Visa will only accept new chip cards for testing if the chip has successfully completed the EMVCo chip hardware security evaluation process and the chip is on the EMVCo approved chip list. The Visa Technology Partners site provides vendors with access to Visa information and the tools to simplify the implementation of Visa programs, services, and capabilities. In turn, Visa issuers gain a network of vendor resources and access to the Visa Approved Chip Card Products.

How long does it typically take to develop an EMVCo and Visa Integrated Circuit Card Specification (VIS)-compliant chip card?

The approval of cards developed by vendors may require a number of iterations of functional and risk reviews. Issuers should be aware that the approval of new card products could take from 4 to 12 months.

What can issuers do to shorten the chip card development process?

One way to greatly reduce the time it takes to deploy EMV-based contact chip cards is by taking advantage of Visa Chip Services for issuers. This is a turnkey solution that has been designed to accelerate “time to market” for a secure, interoperable, online-only EMV-compliant chip product. This service helps eliminate the cost and complexity of offline authorization and offline card risk management. We recommend selecting a vendor card product that is already approved and listed on the Visa website. These vendors also offer approved, off-the-shelf products that facilitate the implementation.

Is Visa mandating PIN implementation along with chip?

No. Visa continues to support a range of cardholder verification methods (CVMs) including signature, PIN and no-signature for low-value, low-risk transactions. Visa will maintain interoperability across those methods with technical standards, business rules, and compliance programs. To accelerate the adoption of EMV chip technology in the U.S., however, Visa recommends card and terminal implementation solutions that support online (real-time) authorization and signature-based authentication.

How do I find a chip personalization bureau?

Please visit Visa’s list of Approved Card Vendors on Visa Online (VOL). This list contains vendors that support magnetic-stripe and chip personalization. It is important to include a question in your RFP about the vendor's experience in personalizing chip cards.

Where can customers use chip cards?

Customers can use their chip cards anywhere Visa cards are accepted. If the chip-activated terminal is not yet available, they can swipe their card using the magnetic stripe on the back of the card just like they do today. If the merchant is chip-activated, the terminal or the cashier will prompt them to insert and leave the card in the terminal for the duration of the transaction.

Can customers use a chip card at a merchant that hasn’t yet updated their terminal?

Yes. They can simply swipe their card just as they always have.

Can customers still use their cards over the phone or online?

Absolutely. Their card will work over the phone and online just like it always has.

Card Security

Are chip cards safer to use than magnetic-stripe cards?

All Visa cards offer protection from unauthorized use of your card or account information. Visa chip technology offers another layer of security when used at a chip-reading terminal, because it generates a unique, one-time code that is needed for each transaction to be approved. Adding this dynamic element to transactions makes account data less attractive to steal and adds greater security to the payment system.

Can any chip be used for a Visa chip card?

No. Visa will only accept new chip cards for testing if the chip has successfully completed the EMVCo chip hardware security evaluation process and the chip is on the EMVCo approved chip list located at www.emvco.com.

How does the U.S. POS Counterfeit Liability Shift work?

Effective October 1, 2015, Visa’s global POS counterfeit liability shift will be effective in the U.S. With this liability shift, the party that is the cause of a chip transaction not occurring (i.e., either the issuer or the merchant’s acquirer) will be held financially liable for any resulting card present counterfeit fraud losses.

Does the liability shift apply to small ticket and/or No Signature Required (also referred to as Visa Easy Payment Service - VEPS) transactions?

Yes, it applies to all transaction types regardless of cardholder verification method. It is worth noting however that the liability shift pertains only to counterfeit fraud. As with many other regions in the world, Visa is not instituting a lost and stolen fraud liability shift in the U.S.