EMV or Chip Cards

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Q.  What is a chip card?

    Chip cards, also known as "EMV" or "smart" cards, contain an embedded microchip on the front of the credit card. The chip, which stores the same information as the magnetic stripe on the back of the card, is encrypted and provides greater security and protection against fraud.

    Q.  Where are chip cards used now?
    Currently, the United States has very few chip card terminals in production. However, in the near future, chip card terminals will become more prevalent at retailers across the country. The United States has been slower to adopt the chip card technology than the rest of the world where chip cards are used almost exclusively in card transactions. In Europe, for instance, merchants may be more familiar with accepting chip cards than magnetic stripe cards.

    Q.  What does a chip card look like?
    Many features of a chip card are the same as a magnetic stripe card. Both cards are embossed on the front with the card number, cardholder name and expiration date, and provide the three-digit security code on the reverse side of the card. The key difference is the presence of an embedded chip on the front left side of the card.

    Q.  How will the chip cards benefit me?
    The biggest benefit of chip cards is the reduction in card fraud resulting from counterfeit, lost, and stolen cards. Security credentials encoded by the card issuer are contained on the chip rather than on a magnetic stripe. This makes it virtually impossible to create a counterfeit chip card that can be used to conduct a chip payment transaction successfully. Additionally, each individual chip transaction is encrypted with a unique code to further enhance fraud protection.

    Q.  What information is stored on a chip card?
    The microchip embedded in the card stores information required to authenticate, authorize, and process transactions. This is the same type of information already stored in the magnetic stripe. No personal information about your account is stored on the chip.

    Q.  Are chip cards safer to use than magnetic stripe cards?
    Chip cards provide a higher level of security. The encrypted chip uses several measures that create a complex and dynamic level of security, making a chip card difficult to copy or counterfeit.

    Q.  Are there any additional fees for chip cards?
    There are no additional fees associated with the new chip cards.

    Q.  How is making a purchase with a chip card different than with a magnetic stripe-only card?
    For purchases at non chip-enabled terminals, nothing will change. Either you or the merchant will swipe the magnetic stripe on the card and you will sign a receipt.

    Q.  How do I complete a chip card transaction at a merchant with a chip-enabled terminal?
    The terminal will instruct you where and how to insert the card into the terminal. Continue to follow the prompts on the terminal screen. Once the purchase has been approved, a receipt is printed for your signature. The chip card will remain in the terminal until the transaction is concluded at which time you will be prompted to remove your card.

    Q.  Can I use my chip card for internet, mail, or telephone purchases?
    Yes, you can use your chip card the same way you currently use your magnetic strip card for internet, mail, and telephone purchases.

    Q.  Can I use my chip card at an ATM?
    Yes, along with your personal identification number (PIN).

    Q.  Can I continue to use my existing PIN on my new chip card?
    Yes, your existing PIN will remain the same for a card issued to replace an expired or damaged card. A new PIN will be assigned for cards issued in connection with the establishment of a new credit card account.

    Q.  Who do I contact if I have questions?
    You may call the customer service number printed on the back side of your credit card, or you may contact us directly at (518)370-7200.

Equal Housing Lender logo