Experiencing the New EMV Chip Credit Card

Experiencing the New EMV Chip Credit Card

Have you tried to use your new computer chip credit card? I hadn’t until this weekend. On a routine trip to Target, I made my way through the aisles and up to the register with the shortest line. After my items had been scanned and my end price was called out, I reached for my debit card from my wallet. Out of habit, I turned it on its side and swiped it down the machine in front of me. I was immediately met with an abrupt, “Transaction Cancelled!” warning sign.

In a panic, I looked up at the cashier standing behind the register. What just happened? She asked if I had received a new credit card, and if I had, to just push it into the slot at the bottom of the card reader.

I fumbled with my card, first sticking it in the wrong way and quickly pulling it out. I could hear the audible sighs from those behind me as I tried to figure out this new technology. Finally, I figured it out, placing my card, chip side first into the card reader. That’s when the clerk told me, “Don’t take it out! It will process for a few seconds before you have to remove it.”

I stared at the machine in front of me, waiting curiously to see what would happen next. After a few seconds, the screen changed to a digital signature square and prompted me to sign. I picked up the fake pen and quickly scribbled out my name into the box. The next screen prompted me to remove my card and I could hear the sound of my receipt being printed.

Was that it? There wasn’t the normal four to six questions asked or even a PIN number demanded from me. The whole process left something to be desired and when she handed me my white plastic bag decorated with the all too familiar red circles, I wondered if I had even actually paid for the items inside of it.

When I received my new card in the mail a couple weeks back, there were very few differences. From the back, you can barely even tell that anything had changed. On the front the only difference was the small chip implanted into the front of the card. I was informed in the letter my new card was attached to that this new EMV chip would protect my information from being hacked. I didn’t need to hear anything else about this new shiny card, I was sold. With my near constant online shopping and my addiction with the already-hacked Target, I had a feeling this new computer chip would help me feel a little bit more secure with my purchases.

The chip works as if it has its own brain, it writes up a new transaction code unique to your card every time you make a purchase. This ensures that your information cannot be replicated on another card. When cards just had magnetic strips, the information was always the same with every transaction, making it easier for the information to be duplicated on a fake card and used without your knowledge.

After having experienced the new chip transaction, I became a little bit more skeptical. When I went through the rigmarole of using the new card, I was surprised to see there wasn’t an added step to ensure that I was the owner of the card.

The new technology sounds great, but there is another way for someone to take your money. They could just steal your card. I know this sounds old school, but what happens if your card is taken? Your full name is right there on the card, they know exactly what to sign.

The chip comes with liability rules about who is to blame if someone steals and uses your card. Is it the bank, the retailer or the user? Based on the October 1 deadline to comply with the new system, the card-present fraud liability will shift over to whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in the transaction.

Some retail typhoons are pushing for the new EMV chipped cards to also come with a PIN number, a secondary step to add even more security to your finances. Many banks are opposed to this idea, saying the technology implanted into these new cards is enough to keep identity thefts away, but I feel that the PIN number may give consumers a little familiarity and peace of mind.

While banks and credit unions are taking large strides to change the way we pay for goods and protect our information from hackers, two-thirds of merchants are not adopting the chip transaction until 2016 and a large majority of Americans haven’t even received their new cards yet. 

Have you used your new EMV card yet?

Do you think the new cards will better your chances of avoiding identity theft?

Do you believe a PIN number should accompany the new technology?

I look forward to your thoughts, reactions and opinions. Let’s talk!

Posted by Sydny Shepard on Nov 03, 2015

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