Smart Cards & Chip Technology: What you need to know about your new Debit and Credit Cards

If you use debit and credit cards, you should be able to see something different about them in the near future, if you haven’t noticed changes already.  The difference is on the small, square area of the card that contains an embedded computer chip.  The new cards are called “smart cards” and employ microchip technology.  The latest technology will make your in-person credit and debit card transactions safer than ever before.

In recent years, Financial Institutions have invested heavily in technology and infrastructure aimed at making your accounts safe from criminal hacking and data theft.  The “smart card” with microchip technology has added a new level of security to you card transactions.

With chip technology, each transaction is approved using a unique encrypted authentication code, making it far more difficult for unauthorized users to copy or access your personal information.  That unique one-time transaction information also prevents a thief from making any additional purchases with stolen card data.

How Will My Transaction Change

As a “smart card” user, you won’t see many changes in how you make everyday purchases.  In the short term, card issuers will include the microprocessor chip and the stripe technologies on newly issued credit and debit cards.

With magnetic stripe technology, a quick swipe is used to read the data.  With “smart cards” the chip is read when the card is dipped into the terminal.

Smart Card Protection

It is important to remember that “smart card” safety measures work only for in-person or card-present transactions at properly equipped retail point of sale terminals and ATM machines.

Online retail transactions using your “smart card” do not offer the same safety and security because the technology only works if a machine can physically read the chip on your debit or credit card.