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Credit Cards Are Changing: Are You Ready?

Fraudsters finding their victims in the United States have met their match. Financial institutions across the U.S. have created a new standard to help protect credit card users: EMV technology (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa). EMV technology is simply a small chip on the front of your credit card. Many people have already made the transition to this new card. However, the transition is still taking place. This article will explain and help you understand the new change to EMV, as well as the actions everyone should take.

Why the change to EMV?

EMV Technology is much more difficult to counterfeit. Traditional magnetic strip credit cards use the same information to verify the card at every transaction. On the other hand, EMV cards create a new code for every single transaction. This dynamic data will make counterfeit fraud extremely difficult. Although it is more difficult, there is still a degree of risk involved. Consumers should still use caution and protect their personal financial information just as usual.

How is it used?

“Chip dipping” will soon become the new “swipe”. Consumers will be required to insert their card, chip side in, into a POS (point-of-sale) system instead of the usual swipe. We will all have to be patient: the EMV technology takes a moment to verify your information with your financial institution. After doing so, the card may be pulled. As of now, signatures are still being required to hold the consumer liable for charges. The ultimate goal (2-3 years projected), is to do-away with the signature and require a pin for every transaction.

Do I need an EMV card?

Eventually (probably another 2 years), EMV will be required. As of now, consumers can stay with their traditional magnetic card. Making the transition is extremely beneficial to the consumer. Not only is it a more secure transaction, but it will prevent fraud liability from being shifted to you instead of your financial institution. Most major financial institutions have set a deadline of October 1, 2015 for this liability shift. The liability of a fraudulent transaction will fall on whichever party is the least compliant with EMV.

What do I do if an EMV point of sale system is not available?

The expense of buying EMV point of sale systems will restrict an immediate transition. As a result, traditional magnetic sales are still available for businesses to use. To guard yourself as a consumer, simply make sure that all of your credit cards are EMV compatible. Having an EMV compatible card will ensure that the most negligent party (responsible for fraud liability) will be the business that has not yet ungraded their POS system.

How do I upgrade to EMV?

Most financial institutions are executing a plan to send out new cards. If you have not yet received your new EMV card, they can be requested (usually free of charge). If your institution offers free card design changes, maybe this would be a good time to do so!

Although this technology is new to the U.S., it has been the standard internationally for many years now. Large businesses such as Walmart, Costco, and Target made the transition early in an effort to stay as compliant as possible.

Source: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/emv-faq-chip-cards-answers-1264.php

Keaton Dugan
Graduate Assistant
Powercat Financial Counseling

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