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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Chip Credit Cards

While we were on our recent trip to Greece, Spain and Belgium there were several times that we could not use our Credit Cards because the store we were at did not have a Magnetic strip reader anymore. Most of the world has switched to credit cards that have a chip embedded in them. 

The Chips are called EMV which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. They are more secure than the cards with the magnetic strips because they actually have an embedded computer chip in them. Every time an EMV card is used for payment, the card chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again.

The transition to this type of card is expensive for banks and for all merchants who take credit cards. The cards are different and the equipment to take them is also different. What makes it worthwhile is that the technology used by the cards is much more secure. Each transaction creates a different number and that is used instead of your credit card number to keep track of the transaction. No one has access to your credit card number except you. Even the online records are connected to this one time number rather than your card. 

There are two ways to use the card. Instead of swiping a magnetic strip you will dip your card into a slot that will allow it to be read and approved. Some cards and some merchants have tapping technology and all you will need to do is to tap the card on a certain spot. This type of technology is more expensive, so it is possible that many places will only have the dipping technology.

By October 1, 2015 all credit card transactions are supposed to be upgraded to use chips, but it is likely that they will not all be ready. At first the card from your bank will have both a magnetic strip and a chip. If a merchant has not changed their equipment yet you can use the magnetic strip, but the big change is that the merchant is responsible if there is any hacking of the information. Merchants are hurrying to make the changes.

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