Your Credit Union is now issuing chip enabled Debit and Credit Cards, or EMV cards, to new cardholders. To help all our members with EMV cards, we’ve broken down everything you need to know.
What are chip cards?
Chip technology is not new. Although Europe has been using it for almost 20 years, the U.S. is just now making the switch from magnetic stripe to chip cards (commonly known as EMV). The reason for switching is simple – security.
When you swipe to make a purchase with a magnetic stripe card, your entire card number is transmitted with no encryption — meaning any machine that can read a magnetic stripe can pick it up.
But, when you pay with a chip card by inserting it into a EMV card reader, a one-time transaction code is assigned and transmitted. This code is not valid after the payment is received (unless you need to make a return). This type of encryption makes it much harder for EMV card numbers to be stolen.
EMV cards also make it tougher on hackers. Since the full EMV card number isn’t transmitted, the information hackers steal will no longer be valid (remember, all they get is a one-time code). Please note that while EMV cards help reduce card fraud, they cannot completely eliminate it.
How do I use a chip card?
You can use EMV cards wherever you make your everyday purchases – whether the merchant has an EMV card reader or not.
Since the chip is on the middle left side of the card, swiping as before won’t work for EMV readers. Instead, insert your card into the card reader (see image). You’ll have two ways to complete the transaction and confirm the purchase — sign a receipt or enter a PIN.
Paying with an EMV Card is simple and takes no longer than a magnetic stripe transaction would. The only thing to remember is that if you remove the card from the EMV card reader too quickly, you will have to redo the transaction, so please be patient.
Will I be able to use my EMV card when I travel outside the country?
Yes, you will. The U.S. is the last major country still using the magnetic-stripe card system. Many European and Latin American countries moved to EMV cards years ago to fight hackers and fraudsters.
Since many foreign merchants are wary of magnetic-stripe cards, consumers who hold some type of chip card may run into fewer issues than those without one.
These EMV cards are free and won’t change anything on your account – it’ll just keep you safer!