Chip Cards Available For Many Different Needs

Friday, April 29th, 2016

If you are like most Americans, you’ve probably received at least one new credit card or debit card in the mail in the last six months—and not because you opened a new account.

No, the flood of new cards being mailed out recently are chip-enabled cards (also called EMV cards—it stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa) to replace old magnetic stripe cards. Close to 30 million people got new chip credit cards since October 2015, when federal regulations shifted to hold retailers, not banks, responsible for fraudulent transactions if they did not use the higher security EMV chip card readers to process transactions.

Chip cards make payments more secure and are less likely to be hacked by cyber thieves. When payments are processed, a unique encrypted code is generated and sent, making the chip less vulnerable to fraudulent transactions.

Credit, debit, rewards, and balance transfer cards all come in chip form

When EMV cards debuted, they were more likely to be issued to travel rewards credit card holders, or to folks with elite cards that had higher annual fees. They were somewhat of a luxury, and they were also not widely accepted.

Travelers have always preferred to carry EMV chip cards, since Europe, Asia, and many other parts of the world switched to the EMV system before the U.S. adopted it. Overseas visitors sometimes found themselves unable to use their magnetic stripe cards in countries where EMV was the standard payment technology.

If merchants do not have the required equipment to accept chip cards, people cannot use them to pay. Chip cards generally have the old magnetic stripe as well as the EMV chip, however, so they can be used either way.

Now most cards come in EMV form, from balance transfer cards to rewards cards to debit cards and cards without any other special features.

A recent survey found that 70% of cardholders in the United States have a chip card, 15% do not have one, and 14% aren’t sure if they have one or not. One percent declined to answer the question when polled.

People tend to like their chip cards

When asked whether they are satisfied with their chip cards, 59% of respondents said they don’t have any complaints about them. Sixteen percent felt it took too long to process their payments using a chip card, and 12% said that not enough retailers are equipped to accept the cards.

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