Visa Canada is to begin developing and issuing Europay, MasterCard, Visa (EMV) standard multi-application chip cards as part of a seven-year national migration programme.
The chip technology can store and encrypt confidential data and is virtually impossible to copy. The card can be programmed with spending and usage limits making it possible to authorise transactions off-line. Applications such as loyalty, access control, rewards and public transit passes can also be added to the cards.
Chip cards require consumers to use a PIN at the point of sale rather than a signature. In a survey conducted by Visa in January 2003, 61% of Canadians said they would prefer entering a PIN at the point of sale.
Derek Fry, president, Visa Canada Association, says: "Chip technology will offer greater convenience to consumers, provide added protection to merchants, enhance the Canadian payment card system, and provide future services we can only begin to imagine."
Visa Canada expects the migration to EMV standard chip cards to be complete within seven years.
Approximately 60 million Visa EMV chip cards are in use around the world and there are major conversion programmes underway in Asia and Europe.