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EMV Adoption: USAA Announces EMV-Secured Payment Cards in US

USAA Leads Way for EMV-Secured Payment Cards in US
Geoff Blaine

USAA, a bank typically used by the military and their dependents, has long been at the forefront of banking innovation and fraud prevention. That trend held true last week when the Texas-based financial institution announced their first EMV credit and debit cards for U.S.-based members.

Rolling out to customers later in 2014, USAA’s new chip-based cards will help deter fraud via “embedded microprocessors that provide strong transaction security protection and other features not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards.”

“The primary advantage of chip card technology is that they provide stronger protection against ‘skimming,’ a technique in which criminals copy the data from a card’s magnetic stripe and use it to create a duplicate card,” said the company’s website. “When a retailer uses a chip-enabled payment terminal, the chip card technology helps prevent thieves from stealing account information.”

EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, serves as a protective measure against such encroachments by providing a much-needed layer of authentication for payment processes. EMV technology first surfaced in 1992 as a collaborative effort between the three companies that constitute the acronym.

Between this fall and 2016, USAA members will be automatically issued chip-based cards that include both the EMV chip and magnetic strips — a dual-pronged approach that will help streamline the migration and ensure customers are able to make a payment regardless of a vendor’s payment terminal.

The USAA website goes on to note that “while this technology can’t prevent all security breaches, a chip card is an important first line of defense … chip card technology is a very secure method to conduct transactions and is more secure than a magnetic stripe technology. As the industry continues to develop new ways to protect consumers, fraudsters continue to look for new ways to commit fraud.”

USAA currently offers EMV-based credit cards to service men and women stationed or traveling overseas.

Geoff Blaine
Geoff Blaine
Sr. Writer & Managing Editor

An eight-year veteran of Entrust, Geoff is the Identity On blog's managing editor, and also serves as the company's senior writer and social media manager. He brings a blend of real-world journalism experience, cybersecurity perspective and mainstream tech interest.

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