If a payment terminal is unable to process the EMV card chip for some reason, it doesn’t mean that the card cannot be processed at all, because in such a case a special procedure called fallback transaction can be attempted. Even if EMV card reader or the EMV chip itself is damaged, there are several options available. If the terminal supports EMV contactless payments, this payment type can be attempted if EMV contact does not come through. If EMV contactless is not supported, or if it fails as well, the card can be simply swiped. If the swipe fails the card number can still be input into the terminal manually. All these actions represent different types of EMV transaction fallbacks. We should stress that these fallback transaction types should be performed one after another (the first thing to try is an ordinary EMV transaction), in order to reduce the possibility of payment card fraud.
More information on fallback transactions is available on Paylosophy.