EMV CVM Database
For over a year now, banks in the United States have been rolling out credit cards with chips. These cards are known as EMV cards. These cards are sometimes called "Chip and PIN" credit cards, but in fact many of them will ask for a signature rather than a PIN. Some cards will ask for a signature in some cases and PIN in others. It all depends on what Cardholder Verification Methods, or "CVMs", the card supports, and in what priority order they are listed on the card.
Why does this matter? In the United States, most people today are used to swiping their card, then signing a receipt or digital pad. As such, most EMV credit cards being issued in the US are primarily Chip and Signature, so it's not a big deal. However, in other countries, EMV credit cards have been in use for several years and in many of them, Chip and PIN is standard. Most people there are used to entering a PIN rather than signing, and some merchants refuse to accept a card when the customer is prompted to sign. In addition, there are some places, particularly unattended locations like gas pumps and public transit ticket machines, that are set up to require a PIN. So Americans travelling to other countries may wish to obtain a credit card that supports a PIN.
Unfortunately, most banks do not advertise what CVMs their cards support. And different people have different things they care about, so there's no one "best" card. Instead, this site aims to collect basic data about EMV credit cards being issued in the United States and allow visitors to search based on that data to find the card that suits their needs.
The operators of this site wish to express their thanks to the members of the FlyerTalk discussion board, through which they've learned a lot about EMV and from which much of the data from this site was extracted.
Regarding Debit cards: Most debit cards are listed twice, once for the CVM list that applies if you select "debit" at checkout (when you'd normally enter a PIN with a magstripe debit card) and a second time for the CVM list that applies if you select "credit" at checkout (when you'd normally sign with a magstripe debit card). The "debit" CVM list is shown with the "Debit" network, and the "credit" CVM list is shown with the Visa or MasterCard (as appropriate) network. From what we've seen, most US banks are issuing debit cards with CVM lists that mimic the behavior of their magnetic stripe cards: If you choose "credit" you'll sign, and if you choose "debit" you'll enter a PIN.
Don't see your card?: You might look to see if the database has other cards issued by the same bank. From what we've seen, most issuers are using the same CVM list across all their cards. In cases where banks issue cards across multiple brands, sometimes the CVM list varies by brand. For example, Pentagon Federal Credit Union Visa cards have a different CVM list than their American Express cards. If you have access to a card reader, you can try using Cardpeek to see the CVM list; if you're able to do this we'd love to add your card.
Updates, additions, corrections, and other questions may be submitted via this contact form.
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