SecurityCents Blog

Insights on payment data security, payments news and trends

EMV Chip Technology VS Quick Chip Technology


Every day I’m asked about EMV and chip card security technology. It’s my job… it’s what I do.  Recently I was asked for information to implement Quick Chip into a client’s systems and it gave me a quick flash back to our past.  Remember when you could walk into a store or restaurant, select your item and hand your card to the clerk?  You didn’t stop to think about what security was there – you just acted.  Blind trust.  Today, hackers and thieves have made it nearly impossible to “hand your card over” and both merchants and consumers are demanding that technology keep up with today’s landscape.  Merchants and consumers have a new level of expectation of what “being safe” means with regard to their payment cards. EMV is complex, and it can be time consuming. When you’re standing at the checkout and you insert your chip card, it can seem like an eternity when you have other things you should be doing.  How is technology working to restore some of the “quick” check out timing we, as Americans have come to expect?

To understand Quick Chip, you must first understand the history of EMV framework.

EMV originally got its name from the credit card issuers that founded the standard in 1994 – Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV). They were later joined by Discover, JCB, UnionPay, and American Express to form EMVCo. An EMV card is characterized as a smart card with an integrated chip that interacts with a Point of Sale system for authentication. It was primarily developed to reduce the cost of accepting credit cards in Europe through a phone line card international dial system.

The United States migrated to the use of this framework as greater concerns about magnetic swiped credit card fraud grew and motivated the market to look into better security measures. In 2015, many card issuers launched the EMV standard in the USA, and put liability shift deadlines in place which made merchants liable for some fraud if, after the deadline had passed, they used the magnetic stripe on EMV cards instead of having their customers dip their cards into a compatible reader.

As a result, in 2015 the US market saw an influx of merchants upgrading their current magnetic swiped systems and card readers to novel systems that accepted the new chip technology. This meant that merchants were no longer liable for counterfeit fraud as long as they used the new chip readers. While the merchants got used to this new idea, there was also a shift for US consumers. Customers now had to approach the sales register and insert their own card into the system, which might require a PIN, then wait for the transaction to approve, and while this moment in time of waiting for an approval seemed to take forever, it really was only about 15 seconds. While EMV seemed to have worked to keep data secure it also created a need to make the chip experience faster. And so Quick Chip was introduced.

So what is Quick Chip?

Quick Chip is a software update to the POS system that enables faster perception of transaction processing. The biggest change is that the POS system is that it prompts for cardholders to remove their card after the necessary chip data is obtained. However, this faster processing means a little bit of the security layer is reduced (some post-authorization card authentication isn’t completed), and that means we are giving a little to earn about 12 seconds back in our busy lives. While this might seem counterproductive to the standards in the first place, it really is a great option to reduce lines and speed up transactions all while remaining reasonably secure.

If you’re interested in implementing Quick Chip please reach out to your Merchant Link Account Manager today!