After lagging behind the rest of the world in EMV chip credit card adoption (or chip cards, as they are more commonly known), we in the US are now making the switch.
The change has raised questions among cardholders wondering how the transition will affect them. Rest assured that the transition to EMV chip cards is a very good thing for all of us and aside from a slightly longer checkout process at retailers, the main difference is one you won’t even notice: your information will be much safer with your chip card.
EMV Chip cards strongly improve data security
The card you’ve had in your wallet since you can remember contains a magnetic stripe which stores unchanging data. Because the card’s data never changes, anyone who got access to that data could easily replicate it across numerous transactions, and potentially rack up huge charges.
You know how internet security specialists always recommend that you change your password often? The chip card essentially does this automatically for you.
The chip card creates a unique transaction code every time it performs a transaction. This code cannot be used again.
This means that if a hacker does steal your card data from a particular transaction, they will be unable to use it fraudulently in future transactions. The data will be expired and the transaction will be denied.
A new payment experience
Instead of swiping, you will “dip” the chip card into the designated slot in the point of sale terminal and wait a few seconds for the transaction to complete (instructions will be included with your new card).
While the dipping process takes no more than 5-7 seconds, it will likely feel longer when you first begin using your card. This is a natural part of the transition and as chip technology improves in the US the process will only become faster.
Chip credit cards coming fall 2016
In an effort to get the new chip cards in our members’ hands as soon as possible, Unitus has adopted an accelerated reissue schedule. Unitus members will receive their chip card(s) automatically by September 2017 (so if your current card’s expiration date is in 2018 or 2019, you will receive your new card well in advance of the expiration date).
Your new chip card will arrive in the mail based on the month your current card expires. Simply activate your chip card the same way you always have by calling the number included with your card. We believe the process will be quick and easy, and we will be standing by to answer any questions you may have during the transition.
The EMV credit card is a valuable tool for consumers to protect their data. As with any change, using your chip card at retailers may take some getting used to in the beginning, but the process will become second nature over time.
If you have any questions about chip cards, please call us at 503-227-5571 or toll-free at 1-800-452-0900.
Posted by: Dorothy Kehl
About the author: Dorothy has been the Card Services Manager at Unitus for more than 20 years. A native of North Carolina and an active advocate for humane societies, she is most at home when she is on the open road traveling with her husband Craig and her two dogs.