Americans traveling in other parts of the world are sometimes bewildered to discover that their debit or credit cards don’t work at automated kiosks that use new chip and PIN technology rather than magnetic stripes. (The technology is also referred to as EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the three card brands that created the chip in Europe and Canada.)
EMV cards have been the standard in Canada, Europe and other parts of the world for several years now, but they’re not as widely used in the U.S. That’s likely to change next October, when liability for fraud shifts from U.S. card issuers to merchants if merchants don’t upgrade their payment terminals to properly accept chip-based cards. (Some smaller merchants may be slow to adopt the new technology if they feel it’s less expensive to assume the fraud risk than update their payment terminals.) President Barack Obama also recently signed an executive order to embed this technology in all government-issued credit and debit cards.