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From Swipe to Insert: How Chip Technology Really Works

By: Courtney Hamby on May 22nd, 2018

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From Swipe to Insert: How Chip Technology Really Works

Wireless EMV  |  EMV

Your customers insert their cards to pay for fuel at your fueling station multiple times per day. Of course, both parties trust that the transaction is handled smoothly and accurately—and it almost always is. But what really happens from that magic moment when card meets machine to the end of the transaction, and how is that process changing from the simple swipe method?

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New Chip Technology

Chip card technology has become the global payment standard, replacing the major innovation of magnetic stripe readers that appeared a few decades ago. The modern chip-enabled cards are safer, since those magnetic stripes that contain all the information needed to make a purchase also make it easy to duplicate a card. As technology advances, unfortunately so do the skills of criminals.

The chip card concept, also called EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) was created in collaboration by the three namesake companies as a standard source of card authentication. The magnetic stripe’s data is static, but in contrast, the chip generates a unique code for each transaction, rendering the single-use information useless to thieves. So, the extra few seconds of attention the chip requires from purchasers pays off in an exponential increase in data security.

Highly Secure Interactions

However, that’s not the only way the chip technology keeps our information safe. Again, when a customer swipes, it’s a simple process in which the card sends a single set of basic information to the terminal. The chip’s “conversation” with the terminal is more complex, though. In this interaction, data is encrypted and authenticated, making the exchange more secure than the stripe’s method of simply sending the card number and expiration date. Merchants have the option of adding another layer of security by requiring a PIN as well to complete a transaction.

In essence, when a consumer swipes a card, the sensitive data is sent into the payment system. If a hacker gets in, the information is an easy steal. When a customer inserts an EMV card, on the other hand, a coded conversation begins in which the system essentially asks questions in code and makes the determination to approve or not approve the purchase. If a hacker gets into this system, he will see cryptic information with no value beyond the single transaction.

How to Get There from Here

Fuel stations and retailers are all moving to EMV, and AvaLAN has the wireless EMV solution to keep your treasured customers' data safe. Our solution is one of the few that can help gas stations transition to full EMV by their deadline of October 2020. Founded in 2004 in Silicon Valley, we focus on IoT applications and complete customer solutions, and we would love to have a conversation with you today about upgrading to and managing EMV solutions for your business.

Learn more here about how AvaLAN Wireless can help your fuel station make the transition and maintain ongoing security for your clients.

Learn More about Wireless EMV