Enhanced Fraud Protection: Understanding Chip Debit Cards

Smart Solutions • October 2015

Maybe you’ve already noticed when you are checking out at your local retailer — the card terminals have changed. Similarly, if you haven’t already received a new debit or reloadable prepaid card embedded with a computer chip, you probably will soon. Chip card technology has arrived and it is slowly, but surely, changing the way we make purchases in stores.

So what’s the big deal? It’s all about security.

New Technology Deters Fraud

Chip cards — also called smart cards or EMV chip cards (for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) — are designed to make it harder for criminals to counterfeit or copy cards using stolen customer data.

Here’s how it works:

  • The new cards are just like traditional debit cards, but now have an embedded chip located on the front of the card.
  • When you use the debit card to make a transaction at a chip-enabled terminal, it generates a unique transaction code that can’t be used again.
  • Because it’s a one-time-use code, you cannot copy the code for fraudulent use. So, if processed again, the transaction would most likely be denied.

First Generation Cards Are Dual-Use

The first round of chip debit cards still have a magnetic strip. That way, you can still make purchases at stores that haven’t yet updated their checkout terminals to accept chip debit cards. So you can keep using your debit card everywhere you do now. And your same PIN will work with either method.

Another benefit to chip debit cards is that you can enjoy greater security and make purchases with confidence everywhere you travel. More than 130 countries support the chip.2

One Piece of the Puzzle

Even with its high-tech security features, a chip debit card is just one step in protecting your financial information. So make sure you keep practicing standard security measures, such as using strong passwords and working with trusted companies when shopping online. For more tips, visit our online Security Center and Card Security Tips.

To learn more about chip debit and prepaid reloadable cards, click here.

Interested in learning more?


  1. "8 FAQs About New EMV Credit Cards," by Sienna Kossman, Fox Business, published July 15, 2014, http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/07/10/8-faqs-about-new-emv-credit-cards/, accessed April 21, 2015
  2. "What’s an EMV chip card?" Visa USA, http://usa.visa.com/personal/security/chip-technology/emv-chip.jsp, accessed April 21, 2015
  • To send an email that contains confidential information, please visit the Secure Message Center where there are additional instructions about whether to use Secure Email or Online Banking messaging.