Credit Card Chips

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: January 11, 2016

Credit Card Chips

We’ve all done it  – we get to the register and we swipe…

And then the cashier tells us “Oh your card is chipped, put it into the reader…

And we do and we twiddle our thumbs for 15 seconds until the transaction is complete!

And if you haven’t received a credit card replacement for a shiny new chipped one, you’ll get one soon…

Those chips are called an EMV chip (EMV stands for Europlay, MasterCard and Visa)…

And you get those computer chips to keep hackers from getting access to the data in your card’s magnetic strip…

Yup. Crazy right?!

But be careful – you may get one in the mail and not know!

“It would have looked like junk mail,” one woman stated…

It probably did for you too, and in the midst of a busy day, you most likely shredded the envelope.

With that being said, you will likely receive a credit card with an EMV chip and according to specialists, here are the 6 main things to know about these fancy chips you’re swiping!

  1. The reason we’re getting chip-enabled cards: The U.S. is just following the lead of European countries who adopted the EMV technology years ago to help prevent thieves from cloning credit cards. The chip offers a one-time transaction code so hackers can no longer access all of the data via the magnetic strip. If a hacker gets the information with the chip, it’s only the one time transaction code.
  1. EMV cards require patience: Instead of swiping your card, with an EMV card, you dip it into a reader. Once your card is inserted, the terminal will let you know when it’s approved. It’s not as fast as swiping a card, so be patient.
  1. You need to watch your mail closely: Some companies are sending out the new cards automatically and some are waiting until your card expires so if you want one of those now, you have to call the company. If you haven’t received a new card or information about one (or missed the mailing), call your card issuer and ask them if your old card will still be accepted. It could save an embarrassing encounter in the checkout line.
  1. Don’t worry if you have an EMV card but a retailer you visit doesn’t have an EMV reader: The new cards also have the magnetic strip, so they can still be swiped.
  1. Some EMV cards are safer than others: Only about 40 percent of the cards are supporting chip and PIN capabilities, which is more secure since you have to input your PIN for those. USAA, Wells Fargo, Barclay and American Express are among those issuing chip and PIN cards, she added. If you’re using a new chip-enabled debit card, it is chip and PIN.
  1. You still need to remain diligent: Although the new chip-enabled cards have been almost 100 percent effective in reducing the problem of cloning cards. You still need to monitor your credit card accounts and credit reports.

***Also, a chip card won’t protect you from fraudulent online purchases, since the chip isn’t used in those transactions

Thank you to NextAvenue for the original article!

Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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