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Chip and PIN

Chip and PIN is a UK government-backed initiative to implement the EMV (short for Europay, Mastercard and Visa) standard for smart payment cards. A similar effort is also underway in the Republic of Ireland. The name of this initiative stems from the presence of a semiconductor chip and associated circuitry in the smart card, which is used in tandem with a PIN (personal identification number) .

In use, the smart card is placed into a PIN pad terminal or modified swipe-card reader, which accesses the chip in the card. The user enters a 4-digit PIN that is checked against the information stored on the card. If the entered PIN matches the stored value, the transaction is permitted to proceed.

Chip and PIN went through a pilot test in Northampton starting in May 2003 and was rolled out nationwide in 2004. In 2005, retailers became responsible for fraudulent credit card purchases. This event spurred wholesale adoption of new POS (point of sale) systems that incorporated EMV support.

This was last updated in March 2011

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