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Credit Card Users Will See Changes

Many banks, businesses, and consumers are stepping up safety measures when it comes to paying with plastic.


Starting today Oct 1st, retailers are required to use new terminals to read credit cards equipped with EMV computer chips.

What is EMV?

EMV – which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, the three card issuers that created the system – is a standard that adds another layer of security to a transaction.

2. How does it work?

As credit card companies issue new cards equipped with computer chips (that small metallic square on the front of new cards), retailers have added new technology to their checkout stands that enables them to read the chips. Instead of swiping your card’s magnetic strip through the terminal, you’ll “dip” your card into the machine so it can read the chip. Alternately, some terminals might allow you to simply tap your card against the scanner.

3. How does this prevent fraud?

Unlike the information on your card’s magnetic strip, which never changes, the chip creates a unique code for each transaction that can’t be reused. So instead of sharing your card information with the retailer, the EMV chips just supply a random code. Card companies are hoping this will make it harder for hackers to use stolen information to duplicate cards.

4. Will I still have to enter a PIN or sign my name?

Yes. Depending on the card, you’ll still have to enter additional information. Most cards will require a signature, rather than a PIN.

5. But I don’t have one of those fancy cards.

That’s OK. More than half of U.S. cardholders are in the same boat. The new EMV terminals will still accept magnetic cards.

6. What happens if a retailer doesn’t have a chip reader?

You should still be able to pay with your EMV card, though you’ll have to use the old-fashioned magnetic stripe. However, if a hacker steals your card information from that transaction, the retailer – not the card issuer – will be liable for the cost because it did not have the updated card-reading technology.

7. So this new standard will prevent credit card fraud?

Maybe some, but not all. Chip technology will only help prevent credit card fraud at terminals in stores. So if you lose your credit card on the bus or someone physically steals it from your wallet, they could still use it. And because EMV chip readers exist only in-store, online transactions are still at risk.


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