How to Use Your EMV Card: Chip Dipping

posted 6/30/2015 in Banking

As you may have heard by now, the new smart credit cards or EMV (Europay, Master Card, and Visa) cards are making their way to the U.S. and offer a more secure way for us to shop our favorite retailers. Given the EMV card’s ability to store data on a dynamic microchip, this change will hopefully alleviate some of the pain when it comes to data breaches.

Many of you have probably already been given a new card with the microchip. But without being equipped with the knowledge of how to use said card, may be intimidated by the thought of using it at the store. Thankfully using your EMV card is even more painless than deciding what to buy in the first place (when in doubt, get both right?).

So how do I use my EMV chip?

The terminals that accept EMV cards will have a small slot at the bottom of the machine. This will be different than the traditional swipe as you’ll actually insert or “dip” your card. (However, the “dip” verb everyone is using may be a little confusing as it’ll actually take a few seconds to “read” the new card.) You’ll insert the card with the microchip towards the terminal, facing up, wait patiently for a few seconds, and the machine will tell you when it is good to go. And it’s as simples as that.

But, just to keep life interesting, some retailers have the terminals but do not yet accept EMV card transactions. If this is the case, you’ll just need to swipe your card.

Wait, a strip and a chip?

The first rounds of EMV cards dispersed will have both a microchip and the traditional magnetic strip, allowing you to shop at retailers that may not have transitioned over to the new EMV terminals yet (or aren’t accepting them yet). EMV Migration Forum suggests the easiest way to use your EMV card during the transition is to continue to swipe your card as you normally would. If a terminal is EMV enabled, it’ll prompt you to “dip” your card.

What about the signature?

There will actually be four different types of verification methods tied to the EMV card, one of which is the traditional signature and will most likely be the method of choice for the first wave of cards. The verification method (or how we make sure you are who you say you are) will be up to each issuer, but to make the transition easier for everyone, the signature will most likely be the chosen one. Other options include a PIN (personal identification number) both on and offline or no verification. The PIN option will work just like the debit or check cards we are used to now. This option is obviously more secure, but will come in time... as in we’re just getting this EMV card thing figured out don’t make us remember a new four digit number too! The last option, or the no verification, will be for small transactions or unattended point-of-sale locations (think gas pumps).

Lincoln Savings Bank, Member FDIC.


Dooley, Terry. “Nearly a Third of American Credit Cardholders Have #EMV Plastic in their Wallets.” The SHAZAM Network Blog. SHAZAM. Web. 13 May 2015.  

“EMV Chip Payment Technology Frequently Asked Questions.” Smart Card Alliance. Web. 13 May 2015.  

Groenfeldt, Tom. “American Credit Cards Improving Security With EMV, At Last.” Forbes. Web. 13 May 2015.  

"How does a magnetic stripe on the back of a credit card work?"  14 April 2008. 13 May 2015.

Kossman, Sienna. “8 FAQs about EMV credit cards.” Web. 13 May 2015.  

Tausche, Kayla. “ ‘Massive’ switch to new credit cards ahead.” CNBC. Web. 13 May 2015.  

“Smart Card Technology.” Card Werk Smarter Card Solutions. Jacquinot Consulting, Inc. 13 May 2015.  

“Visa Announces U.S. Participation in Global Point-of-Sale Counterfeit Liability Shift.” Visa Bulletin. Visa. Web. 13 May 2015.  

Want the latest and greatest from our blog straight to your inbox?
Blog and News