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EMV FAQ 4 - Will EMV chip cards work in NFC mobile wallets?

Banks are issuing credit cards with enhanced security, known as EMV or chip-and-PIN cards. But what happens to that security when you use them in a mobile wallet? We asked Smart Card Alliance chief Randy Vanderhoof.

Banks are issuing credit cards with enhanced security, known as EMV or chip-and-PIN cards. In our ongoing series of frequently asked questions, we asked Randy Vanderhoof, head of the Smart Card Alliance, how the cards would work with mobile wallets.
"The chip is a microprocessor computer just like any intelligent device -- like a phone or a tablet or a laptop," explains Vanderhoof. " It's got an operating system, it's got a file structure, it's got security features that are built into it so that it actually talks to the device that it has been inserted into to validate that the terminal is a legitimate device and that the chip card is an original legitimate device before any transactions take place.
"That same technology has been adopted in mobile devices and that's why mobile phones -- smart phones in particular -- that have this NFC communication feature that allows them to be tapped at a retail point-of-sale device, has the same security technology inside the phone to communicate to the device and generate the unique security data to complete the payment transaction."
That means whether you use a card or a mobile wallet such as Google Wallet or Apple Pay, protections from the EMV chip are the same.
"All of it uses a common security interface for how it manages the payment data, and that dynamic security information is present regardless of whether the card is inserted, tapped or we use our mobile phone when EMV is involved," says Vanderhoof.

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