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CUs help Visa top one million in U.S. chip cards
SAN FRANCISCO (2/13/12)--U.S. financial institutions--including two credit unions--have reported issuing an estimated one million Visa-branded, EMV chip-enabled cards as of Dec. 31.

In August, Visa announced plans to accelerate mobile innovation and the adoption of EMV contact and contactless chip technology in the U.S.

State Employees' CU, Raleigh, N.C., and United Nations FCU, Long Island City, N.Y.,  among the credit unions offering chip card pilot programs, according to Visa.

EMV chip technology refers to the microchip that is embedded in a credit or debit card, or even a mobile device. Sometimes misleadingly referred to as "chip and PIN," EMV chip is commonly deployed with a variety of cardholder verification methods including signature as well as PIN.

Under Visa's approach, both methods, as well as "no signature required," will continue to be available to issuers and merchants in the U.S. according to their preferences. The critical security advancement is the EMV chip, which protects the cardholder by generating a unique code every time it is used, effectively eliminating the problem of counterfeit cards. The same chip technology also enables mobile NFC payments.

Visa's  approach to cardholder verification provides choices to issuers and merchants as they deploy chip cards and terminals that support signature or PIN or a combination of the two, based on the needs of their customers.

"State Employees' Credit Union was able to build on Visa's expertise and solutions to engage quickly and launch an EMV chip card program in a matter of months, not years," said Leanne Phelps, senior vice president, Card Services, State Employees' CU. "The jump-start helped us to be a leader and provide our members the products and services they want and need."


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