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Everything you want to know about chip cards

chip cards

What are chip cards?

A chip card, also called a smart card or an EMV card, is a debit or credit card that contains a microprocessor that enhances the security of cards during point-of-sale transactions.

These cards, already in use in much of the world, use a security standard originally developed by Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) as a way to fight card fraud resulting from theft, skimming and counterfeiting. The EMV technology has been adopted by the other major card brands and issuers.

Is a chip card more secure than magnetic stripe cards?

Yes. Chip cards add an additional layer of security to the safeguards that already protect cards. Each time  you use your chip card it generates a code that is unique to that transaction. This makes it harder to counterfeit a card or to use it fraudulently for in-store purchases.

What information is on the chip?

The chip contains information about a cardholder’s account and the card expiration date. It also generates a unique code for every transaction when used with a chip-enabled terminal at the point of sale.

Will the old card number be changed when my chip card is issued?

No. All cards will be reissued with the same card number, but with new expiration dates. Any recurring transactions the you have set up will need to be updated to reflect the new expiration date.

Will my old card still work once I receive my chip card?

No. Your old magnetic strip card will be deactivated once the chip card has been received and activated by the you. The credit union will routinely perform maintenance to make sure that all new chip cards have been activated and are in use.

Can a chip card be used anywhere?

Yes. Chip cards can be used virtually anywhere Visa is accepted in the U.S. and around the world. If a merchant has a chip-enabled card terminal, you will insert your card during the transaction. In the U.S., You will still be able to ‘swipe’ your card to make a payment if a merchant has a regular terminal. You will need a PIN to be able to conduct a transaction at an ATM.

How do I use a chip card?

  1. Start the payment process by swiping your card. If the merchant’s terminal is chip-enabled, you will be prompted to insert your card.
  2. Insert the card, face up and chip end into the chip-enabled terminal.
  3. Leave the card in the terminal during the entire transaction.
    Follow the instructions on the screen and either sign your name or enter your PIN as needed. You need to be sure to remove your card and take your receipt when the transaction is complete.

If the terminal is not chip-enabled, the transaction will process as it normally does from the initial swipe.

What if a merchant doesn’t have a chip-enabled terminal?

For merchants without chip-enabled terminals, you will ‘swipe’ your card through the terminal, just as is done today.

Can I still use my current card?

You can use your current card until you get a chip card. At that time, you should activate the new chip card and start using it. You should destroy your old card by cutting it up or shredding it.

Do I need to sign the back of the card?

Yes. You still need to sign the back of your card.

Can a chip card be used to make purchases online or by phone?

Yes. There is no change to that process. Chip cards can be used to make these purchases the same way as is done today.

Can chip cards be used at an ATM?

Yes. For ATM transactions, you will insert your card into the terminal and follow the instructions on the screen. Depending on the type of ATM, you might be prompted to re-insert your card. You will leave the card in the ATM until the transaction is complete and the card is released. Then you will remove your card and any money you might have withdrawn.

What is the difference between chip and signature and chip and PIN?

You might be asked to provide your signature or enter your PIN to complete a transaction when you use your card. You will need to use your PIN at ATMs, and it might be required at some unattended card terminals such as fuel pumps and payment kiosks.

What happens if a chip card is lost or stolen?

  • Report a lost or stolen card promptly by calling White Sands FCU during business hours at 800-658-9933, or the toll-free number listed on the back of your card outside normal business hours.
  • Replaced cards will be issued with new account numbers.
  • You will need to update any automatic payments with your new numbers.

Is there a replacement charge?

A $5 fee will be assessed for lost or damaged cards.

How am I protected? 

All cards that we issue come with certain liability protections against unauthorized transactions in the event a card is stolen, lost or fraudulently used in a store or online. It is very important that you promptly report a lost or stolen card or any suspicious transactions. Remind them to check the applicable agreement for your account on liability and reporting requirements for unauthorized transactions.

Will chip cards prevent data breaches?

While chip cards won’t prevent the types of large-scale data breaches that have hit some merchants, chip cards make it extremely difficult to produce counterfeit cards from stolen data.

Can I be tracked with my EMV cards?

No. Chip cards contain no tracking information.

Can I request a chip card before the scheduled rollout date?

You will need to await your scheduled reissuance date for your chip card. White Sands FCU will reissue chip cards between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017.

6 Comments

  1. Christopher Supple on August 8, 2016 at 9:54 am

    How will the cards be reissued? Will they be by Member Number or Last Name? Will the branches be able to print chip cards as well?

    • Stephanie Martinez on August 8, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      White Sands FCU will reissue chip cards between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017 depending on your current card’s expiration month.

  2. Mike De Fausell on September 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Will wee be able to use this card with Apple Pay? If not, when is WSFCU going to make Apple Pay available to customers?

    • Stephanie Martinez on September 20, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Hi Mike,
      We are constantly reviewing the possibility of making our cards available in programs such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. At this point we do not have a definitive project or time frame to implement this feature but will continue to monitor and review the possibility.

  3. Rick Bernal on February 27, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Is there a time frame when you guys will be adding apple pay?

    • Sharon Sumner on February 27, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      At this time, we have no plans to add Apple Pay.

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