EMV for a Week Challenge: My Experience

EMV for a Week Challenge - picture of credit card chip

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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!!!

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  1. Good luck Holly! I find its hit or miss with stores having the technology. So stores have it and have not activated it yet. It it simple to use.

  2. Hope you win! Surprisingly, I’ve also found that a large grocery store chain around here hasn’t updated the technology. I suppose the bigger you are, the more complicated it is to roll out something like that?

  3. I’m crossing my fingers for you Holly!! I’m still not sold on chip technology due to what I read, however at least they’re trying to be secure, right?

  4. Kara @ Money Saving Maven says:

    Good Luck, Holly! Great charity choice 🙂

  5. Very cool and good luck Holly! I’ve been surprised, though I guess I shouldn’t be at the number of large retailers who haven’t made the transition yet. Sort of amusing since it’s meant to provide security.

  6. My debit card switched to the chip, and honestly, I kind of hate it. I’ve probably used it 5 times so far, at places like Kroger, Target, and CVS, and it takes a LOT longer to process the transaction. Bryan has the same issue with his Sam’s Club card. I’m probably just being impatient/spoiled: It’s still probably quicker than paying with cash. I’ll get used to it!

  7. Good choice of charities. I agree that animals are better than a lot of humans.

    I’m sure I’ll adjust to the chip, especially now that I now know why it’s such a big deal. (Yep, I’m that uninformed right now. Have a few zillion things going on — give or take a half zillion.) The only real inconvenience is remembering to insert the card rather than swipe it. I have maybe a 25% success rate at remembering. I’m sure it’ll get better.

  8. Leona Werezak says:

    So glad to see YOU WON!! 🙂 We’ve had the chip technology in Canada for quite a while now & although it is better than the swipe stripe on the back, people are now stealing people’s cards/wallets & simply “tapping” the card on the chip reader to make purchases at the till & you don’t need to enter the PIN anymore (tap & go technology). Very convenient & quick but obviously a REAL problem if someone gets hold of your card. I haven’t seen the tap & go type of machines here in the U.S. yet so that’s good. I think a person should always have to enter their PIN to use the chip cards.

  9. Holy Crap!!! Reading this article I just realized we both live in Indiana! Cool!!! I am up north – very close to Lake Michigan.

    I actually have been disappointed in my area because most places here have not upgraded to using the chip reader. Ugh!

    Glad you won!

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