What You Need to Know about the New Computer Chip in Payment Cards

Banks across the country are issuing new credit and debit cards with an embedded computer chip—a small, metallic square on the front of the payment card—in an ongoing effort to protect their customers and reduce fraud. The advanced security of the chip card will make it extremely difficult for fraudsters to counterfeit or copy the card.

“Banks are continually looking for ways to leverage technologies to protect their customers whether it’s at a store, at the ATM or online,” said Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association. “This chip technology is another layer of security for the millions of in-person transactions made every day.”

The computer chip assigns a one-time code making every transaction unique and the card more difficult to counterfeit or copy. The new cards will still have a magnetic stripe for cases where the merchant does not have an activated chip reader.

Using chip cards is simple and easy to learn. ABA is providing the following step-by-step instructions to educate consumers:

  • Insert your card into the chip-enabled terminal with the chip first, facing up.
  • Leave the card in the terminal until the transaction is complete. You may be prompted to sign your name. Be sure to take your card at the end of the transaction.
  • If there isn’t a chip-enabled terminal, use the card the traditional way and swipe.

“Bank customers will continue to enjoy protections from fraud liability. When you dip your chip card, you are using technology that makes life harder for fraudsters,” said Keating