EMV Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know about EMV, Chip & PIN and POS systems

What is EMV?

Europay, Mastercard and Visa founded EMV in 1994 to create an international standard for chip-based payments. Today the EMV Trademark is jointly owned and operated by American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay and Visa.

EMV defines the physical, electrical, data and application levels for financial payment transactions using EMV Chips, ensuring higher security than magnetic stripe. However, EMV is all about authenticating the card holder, not data security. The messages between the chip on the card, the payment terminal and the issuer are encrypted but the card holder data is not.


What is EMV compliance?

EMV compliance refers to chip-based payment cards and payment terminals that meet the required standards of EMV.

In-store card readers and POS equipment is supposed to be updated to accommodate EMV Chip payments and customers will need to activate EMV chip-based payment cards in order to complete transactions.

The deadline for compliance with EMV standards was October 2015, however, not all customers and merchants have transitioned yet and rough estimates, by Aite Group in May 2016, suggest that only 60% of debit cards in the US will be EMV compliant by the end of 2016. 


Chip and PIN versus Chip and Signature

Before EMV standards, transactions could be processed using a magnetic stripe reader or by mechanically imprinting the raised text on the card. Both of these methods required the cardholder’s signature, checked against the signature on the back of the card. Card data is static for these methods which means cards can easily be cloned by criminals and used to make fraudulent purchases.

EMV standards mean that cards now include a chip containing a microprocessor. An EMV payment terminal communicates with the chip in the card to determine if the card is authentic. This means the card can't be cloned like an old magstripe only card. A Personal Identification Number (PIN) or a signature can be used to confirm the identity of the card holder. 

Chip & PIN is the most secure method of identification requiring PIN entry corresponding with the card chip data. Fraudsters or Criminals would need to know the 4-digit PIN in order to use the card for card present transactions.For Chip and signature, the identity of the card holder is confirmed by checking the signature on the back of the card which is much easier to fake.

October 2015 was the deadline for the US to transition to EMV compliant payments. Chip & Signature payments are still more common in the U.S. and are likely to remain the most common method for the immediate future.


How did credit cards start?

Credit cards first came into widespread in the form of the Diners Club Card. In the 1950s the soon to be founder of Diners Club, Frank McNamara, wasn’t able to pay for a business dinner in, New York restaurant, after he allegedly forgot his wallet.To avoid cleaning dishes all night he signed for the meal promising to return and pay. Although the Diners Club Card started as a small piece of cardboard aimed at travel and entertainment expenses, the option to maintain a revolving balance was introduced in 1959 offering customers more flexibility.

Credit cards, as we know them today really arrive in 1966 when two groups of national banks formed two separate bankcard associations. Visa and Mastercard were born and introduced credit cards that required interbank cooperation and fund transfers between member banks. Banks wishing to distribute cards to their customers would have to join either the Visa or Mastercard association.

EMV standards were first written in the early ‘90s, enabling chip-based payment cards and terminals to acquire payment data. Since then chip-based payments have become the standard for card payments as a more secure option than a magnetic stripe or mechanical imprint. More recently the rise of contactless payment chips and mobile payments through NFC have required new EMV standards.


What does POS mean?

POS or Point of Sale refers to either the physical place in which a customer completes their transaction or the experience of completing a transaction.

Generally, this involves a cash register, electronic card reader and a barcode scanner. However, modern points of sale include computers, mobile devices, tablets and sophisticated payment terminals which improve the efficiency and security of POS systems.


Why are POS systems useful?

From a business point of view, an efficient POS helps log inventory as transactions are completed as well as enabling a more accurate analysis of performance.

Having a POS system that is secure and efficient not only helps businesses comply with regulations but also reduces downtime and maintenance costs.

POS systems are also extremely important with regard to customer experience and satisfaction. The final stage of their transaction is simple, quick and hassle-free which prevents transactions being canceled and encourages repeat purchase.


iPad POS systems and solutions

iPad Point of Sale Systems are becoming more and more popular with the improvement and availability of POS applications and hardware enabling efficient and secured transactions. iPad’s have the added benefit of being more difficult to target with malware and more reliable than Windows based systems.

An important part of this POS system should be physically securing the iPad to prevent this valuable item being stolen.

Our FLEXiPOLE Tablet Stand for iPad offers exactly this type of protection to prevent tampering or theft. The iPad is mounted onto one of our FLEXiPOLE stands using a custom designed Kensington case and can be secure with either our SafeBase, ‘Lock and Key’ or a Kensington ‘Lock and Tether’.

The FLEXiPOLE Tablet Stand for iPad will be available in November 2016, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.


Why choose Tailwind Point of Sale Mounting Solutions?            

Founded in 2006, Tailwind’s vision is to produce the global standard in Point of Sale mounting systems.

Our experience in the industry has helped us grow exponentially, with sales globally and to channel partners in over 40 countries.

We believe in delivering the best possible POS experience for the end user, as well as providing maximum security and efficiency for retailers.

We are suppliers of bespoke POS mounting systems for customers and ensure that these are produced and tested to satisfy our high standards, along side the needs and requirements of our customers.

Our products offer:

  • Physical security and protection from tampering and theft of payment terminals, complying with both PCI DSS and ADA regulations;
  • Protection from the most common forms of damage, particularly cable wear, reducing required maintenance and downtime;
  • Flexible solutions for a wide range of payment terminals as we can supply custom backplates and can even upgrade existing competitors’ stands.
  • Cost-efficient upgrades to payment terminals, as our backplates are easy to switch;
  • Uninterrupted connectivity as our composite material does not interfere with NFC, Bluetooth or Wifi.


Tailwind Solutions

217 Broad Street
Suite 304
Tel: 423.579.2521

 Email info@tailwind-solutions.com

Copyright © 2018 Tailwind Solutions Limited