Until the introduction of Chip and PIN, all face-to-face credit or Debit card transactions used a magnetic stripe or mechanical imprint to read and record account data, and a signature for verification. Under that system, the customer hands their card to the clerk at the point of sale, who either "swipes" the card through a magnetic reader or makes an imprint from the raised text of the card. In the former case, the system verifies account details and prints a slip for the customer to sign. In the case of a mechanical imprint, the transaction details are filled in and the customer signs the imprinted slip. In either case, the clerk verifies that the customer's signature matches that on the back of the card to authenticate the transaction.
This system has a number of security flaws, including the ability to steal a card in the post, or to learn to forge the signature on the card. More recently,[clarification needed] technology has become available on the black market for both reading and writing the magnetic stripes, making cards easy to clone and use without the owner's knowledge.
The first standard for smart payment cards was the Carte Bancaire M4 from Bull-CP8 deployed in France in 1986, followed by the B4B0' (compatible with the M4) deployed in 1989. Geldkarte in Germany also predates EMV. EMV was designed to allow cards and terminals to be backwardly compatible with these standards. France has since migrated all its card and terminal infrastructure to EMV.
The EMV standard was initially written in 1993 and 1994. JCB joined the consortium in February 2009, China UnionPay in May 2013, and Discover in September 2013.