August 12th 2020

What exactly is EMV?

Bargeldloses Bezahlen

The letters EMV stand for the three companies that developed the standard: Europay International (now MasterCard Europe), MasterCard, and VISA.

The abbreviation EMV refers to a specification for payment cards and their associated chip card devices (point-of-sale terminals and ATMs). Debit cards introduced during the migration to the EMV process since the mid-1990s contain a processor chip (EMV chip) where data can be securely managed. In conjunction with the EMV process, cross-border electronic payment transactions are facilitated in the SEPA region.

EMV Process vs. Magnetic Stripe – An Unequal Duel

Before the introduction of the EMV process, the PIN of a debit card was stored on the magnetic stripe. The PIN was encoded as a hash value derived from the account number, bank code, an account sequence number, and a secret PIN derivation key on the card. The correct PIN was then calculated at the ATM during each transaction and compared with the entered PIN.

Cryptic messages

Today, the PIN is no longer compared in the EC terminal or ATM but is cryptographically secured and transmitted to the connected data center with each transaction. This is where the EMV procedure comes into play. It allows PIN and other customer data to be securely stored to prevent copying.

Your advantages with the EMC process:

  1. Effective protection of stored data against duplication or alteration. The chip card can only be used with a valid PIN.
  2. Authentication of the card's authenticity and verification of the PIN without requiring an existing online connection. With the EMV method, only the data chips are read. In this case, the receipt from the EC terminal will print "Authorization completed" instead of "Payment completed."
  3. The chip used in the EMV method features protected data zones and can employ cryptographic processes. The chip integrated into today's payment cards functions as a miniature computer with computing power comparable to that of a PC from the 1980s. In contrast, the magnetic stripe is a purely passive data storage medium.


SECURITY is a top priority at Nexi

As Nexi customer, this brief explanation is provided for your information only, as all our EC terminals have met all the necessary technical requirements since the introduction of the new EMV standard.

For further inquiries on this matter or any other concerns, feel free to contact us by phone. We are here to assist you. We look forward to hearing from you!

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