You may have noticed, if you’ve received a new credit card lately, that there is something different on credit cards nowadays. What you are witnessing is the new computer chip that is now installed in dozens of credit cards globally and will be rolled out, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, on all cards by 2015.
The new chip is nothing to fear; in fact, the computer chip will make fraudulent transactions more difficult for would-be identity thieves. The first reason is that microchips are more difficult to falsely manufacture than magnetic strips. In addition, unlike the strip, the magnetic chip’s authorization code changes with every single transaction. Hackers will be chasing a moving target, which makes it quite difficult to break into an account.
What card holders can now expect from the new chip-embedded cards is that you may need to begin using a PIN number for every credit card transaction. This is the exact same thing that happens when you use a debit card, so the user experience will be the same. Consumers will also notice a new terminal at a few of the larger big-box stores, but this is also similar to the typical ATM.
Your chip card will most likely still utilize the magnetic strip, so don’t worry if your favorite store has not yet made the conversion. You will also notice that the new chip cards will not have any of your personal information written on the card anywhere; now all of your identity information is safely stored on the chip itself.
If you are planning on visiting Europe soon, you should probably contact your bank or other financial institutions and request a chip card – nearly all of Europe’s merchants use them.