Last week, I participated in a credit card challenge centered around EMV chip technology and how it’s working in the real world. As part of the challenge, I had to use an EMV chip card to make ten “scavenger hunt-style” purchases, then report back with how difficult or easy the process was.

Of course, this was a “challenge,” meaning I was competing against other people for a prize. In this case, the prize was $400 to a charity of my choice, which just happens to be my local Humane Society. So, of course, I absolutely nailed it! I totally had my ten scavenger-type purchases made within a few hours. After all, I love animals….more than people. No offense.

Although they haven’t announced the winner yet, I’m pretty sure I killed it!

What is EMV Chip Technology?

So, what exactly is EMV chip technology? In case you haven’t noticed, you’ve probably received some new credit cards with a little chip on the front. That’s called an EMV chip (which stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa by the way), and it is designed to make credit card data breaches and fraud much less commonplace. As a credit card enthusiast and downright decent human being, I’m totally geeked about it!

How does it work? Well, the old magnetic stripe cards all contain data about the card and the user that never changes. Alternatively, the EMV chip technology creates a unique transaction code each time the card is used. That code can never be used again which – in theory – makes the transaction, the card, and your information more secure.

For the most part, it really doesn’t change the transaction experience. Instead of swiping your card, just “dip” it into the chip reader. Leave the card in the machine until it has been read, sign your receipt (if needed), and voila! You’re done. Easy peasy!

Buying Stuff with an EMV Chip Card

Although most banks and merchants in the U.S. should be transitioning to EMV technology, not everyone is on board. Most of the places where I purchased my items had the updated technology, so I only had to “dip” my card instead of swiping it. At Meijer, however, they didn’t have the upgraded technology at all. I found that rather surprising considering that they’re part of a huge chain of stores that probably collects millions of dollars in sales each week.

Anyway, here are some pictures of a few of the scavenger items I picked up during the challenge:

EMV Chip for a Week Challenge

A wacky T-shirt!

EMV Chip for a Week Challenge

Flowers for someone I love!

If you want to read all of the Twitter updates for the “EMV For a Week” Challenge, search for the hashtag #ChipAwayatFraud. And here is a list of the other participants if you want to check them out:

I seriously hope I won $400 for the Humane Society for Hamilton County, Indiana. Stay tuned to find out!

Update: I just found out that I won! Yay!!!