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Last updated: 3 August 2021

Chip and Pin

What is Chip and Pin?

Chip and pin credit cards are a technological upgrade to the earlier used magnetic credit cards, used at the electronic point of sale (ePOS systems). They are are also called EMV cards, which stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, as these companies have created the industry standard for the chip and pin technology.

Unlike the traditional credit and debit cards, where the cardholder information was embedded in a magnetic stripe, chip credit cards contain all the financial information on a microprocessor chip.

With a chip and pin device, the cardholder must enter their four digit pin in order to authenticate the payment. This makes chip and pin devices more secure method of transaction than traditional credit cards where you swipe and sign to complete the transaction.

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How Much Does a Chip and Pin Machine Cost?

Chip and Pin technology dates back to 1984, when French banks started testing the credit card with microchips.The world’s largest credit card companies, Europay, MasterCard, and Visa collaborated in 1996, to create a secure standard based on the French technology, and that’s the reason chip and pin cards are called EMV cards.

In the chip and pin terminal, every transaction contains a lot of financial information to be exchanged between the credit card chip, the terminal, and the bank. The terminal performs stages of complex processing, which includes cryptographic authentication, thereby completing the transaction securely.

From cash to cheques to cards and now to Chip and Pin solution, which is by far the most secure method used for payment transactions.

Estimated Costs of Setting Up a Chip and Pin Machine
Types of CostsFactors to ConsiderEstimated Costs
Buying CostThe type, quality and reliability of the machine£29 - £199
Monthly CostMinimum usage limit is fixed at a price£20
Usage CostDepends on the amount of payments processed2 - 5% of transaction price
Contract CostDepends on length and flexibility of growth in operationsUp to £200

How Does Chip and Pin Work?

Chip and Pin technology is by far the most secure way to authenticate a payment transaction. In the magnetic stripe on credit cards, only the card number and expiry date information is recorded. Whereas, chip and pin works in a way that when a chip and pin card is inserted in the card reader the terminal reads the financial information from the computer chip, encrypts the date and then authenticates the payment transaction.

The cardholder will then be required to enter the four digit payment to validate the transaction. Quite obviously, transactions through the chip and pin reader is only secure if the cardholder keeps the PIN confidential.

With the earlier system, the cardholder only had to swipe and sign, which allowed for many fraudulent activities to happen. Chip and Pin machine makes the whole payment process much more secure because of cardholder authentication.

When EMV cards and chip enabled terminals come together, the transaction process becomes even more secure for the retailer and the customer. Not all retailers have switched to chip-enabled terminals yet as it will take some time to make the transition. At such places, the customer will be still be required to give their signature to complete the transaction.

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What are the Benefits of Chip and Pin?

Increased Security

Chip and Pin cards combined with chip terminals make a secure transaction system by validating the card and cardholder’s information. The cardholder is then required to confirm his pin number in order to validate the payment, and this decreases the chance of unauthorized use of your card.

Even while using the card to make an online payment, there are layers of security, such as Verified by Visa, thereby preventing fraudulent usage of a card. If the card is stolen, the chances of misuse are eliminated because the transaction cannot be completed without entering the PIN.

Another benefit to using an EMV system is that the bits of information exchanged during a transaction are unique to that particular transaction and therefore cannot be replicated. The traditional magnetic stripe card were vulnerable to counterfeiting because they contained data and sensitive information that remains constant with every transaction. EMV cards, therefore, increase the security of the card data and privacy by protecting the customer’s financial information.

Convenience for Customers

Nearly one hundred percent of the payment terminals in Europe have chip enabled, so it makes it very convenient for the customer’s security during transactions. They can therefore experience hassle free payment options when purchasing goods and services.

Retailers who have chip-enabled terminals can also accommodate customers from foreign countries as well. Merchants are migrating towards EMV certified terminals to enable wireless and NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile payments. Credit fraud in the UK has decreased by 72% since EMV migration.

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Types of Chip & Pin Card Terminals

A lot of merchants are migrating to chip & pin card payment terminals. Chip and pin card reader machines have become very common across UK and Europe, and are now increasing in the USA as well. Retailers who buy chip and pin machine, however, incur costs of training their employees to operate chip enabled terminals and assist customers that are new to this payment processor.


There are four primary types of card payment processing systems:

Countertop Card Terminal

A countertop or fixed line payment gateway is used in retail shops such as clothing, supermarkets, and beauty salons. It enables card payments in a fixed location to connect to the existing POS system or as a stand alone cash register. This category is the most cost-effective pin and chip credit card solution for the retailer.

Portable Card Readers

Portable payment systems are most seen in restaurants and bars where the card reader can be taken to the customer and saving them from standing in queues, thereby making transactions easier and quicker. This card reader system works either over wifi or bluetooth in a defined range, and is connected to the central payment hub on your business premises.

Mobile Card Terminals

Mobile card processing machines are suitable for businesses that can accept payments on the move. It empowers businesses to continue trading without geographical limitations. This handheld credit card reader machine for business, is especially useful in places such as fast food delivery, taxi drivers, and other mobile businesses. This wireless credit card machine enables businesses to increase their sales and provide greater convenience to their customers.

Contactless Card Machines

Contactless card payment machines are becoming a preferred way of payment for both customers and businesses. They are time-saving and efficient for small purchases and cheap transactions. They’re mostly used for purchases such as newspapers, coffee, fast food, and taxi rides. This method does not require the customer to insert the card or enter a PIN, and transactions are processed in less than a second. Although this method is now limited to small purchases, it is emerging and many retailers are working towards providing this service to their customers.

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