Posted 07.19.2017

EMV-Enhanced (Chip) Technology: Important, Necessary, and Secure

Credit card wirh chip read

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Hello cardholders! You have probably heard the exciting news.  On Monday August 14, our system is getting an upgrade. This update will include new-and-improved online banking, mobile banking, and an exhilarating addition of new debit cards with EMV-enhanced (chip) security features! Before we swipe away our old system, we want to make sure we answer a few key questions: why do we need chip cards, how do they work, and how will this transition affect me?

So what is an EMV-enhanced card anyway, and why is it more secure?

You may have heard it called a number of things: chip card, EMV card, smart card, or EMV-enhanced card. They are really all different names for a card with an embedded microchip that encrypts cardmember information. Created in 1994, EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) is accepted as the global standard for credit card technology and is widely acknowledged as the most secure and efficient system available today. In 2015, chip cards and EMV technology were introduced and normalized in the United States marketplace backed by credit card companies and financial industry federal regulators.

As credit card security hiccups encourage retailers everywhere to update swipe systems to EMV chip readers, we want to make sure we provide the most updated and reliable technology for our customers. Credit card security breaches, most notably the Target retail security scare that exposed 40 million customers to hackers, have drastically decreased since the introduction of chip cards into the United States marketplace. Even though fraud is still possible, security breaches caused by magnetic stripe swiping account for almost 40% of credit card fraud. Updating to chip cards ensures that we have the most up to date secure technology available.

How does it work?

Each time you are at a terminal and use your new EMV card, the embedded chip generates a one-time use code. This code helps reduce in-store fraud making it virtually impossible to forge payment data. Because of its constantly changing protective code, EMV-enhanced (chip) security is a step above the static information stored with every swipe of a magnetic stripe. Even if there is a security breach at a store or restaurant, chip information cannot be used or stolen to make additional purchases or start new credit or debit accounts.

Despite these widespread updates, if the merchant you are visiting does not have a chip reader, your card still has the magnetic stripe on the back, so you can still swipe and sign just as you did before. You can also use your ATM card as you did before at ATMs or for cash back on debit card purchases.

How does this affect me?

All New Resource Bank clients who currently have an ATM Debit card will be receiving a new EMV-enhanced (chip) card in the mail. Beginning in August, new EMV-enhanced (chip) debit cards will be mailed to customers whose cards are set to expire in August and cards will be mailed to all other customers from September to November 2017 based on existing card expiration dates.

When you receive your new EMV card, please activate it and remember to shred and destroy your old card.

We are excited that our new ATM debit card will also feature a new look! There are two card designs; one for business (navy blue), and one for individuals (white). Here’s a sneak peek:

When can chip cards be used at all merchant and ATM locations?

Every day, more merchants and ATMs are becoming chip-enabled to increase security for in-person card transactions.  You will start to see these terminals and ATMs at many of the stores you visit today. You will continue to be able to pay at both chip-enabled and non-chip-enabled merchants and ATMs with the same card.

Furthermore, you will be able to use your chip card for online purchases the same way you use your card today.

Can chip cards be used outside of the U.S.?

Absolutely! Chip cards have been widely used internationally for over 10 years and are accepted in more than 80 countries, and were normalized in Europe long before implementation in the United States. Having a chip card will even make it easier for you to make purchases and complete ATM transactions when you travel internationally.  Please let us know when you are traveling abroad at 415-995-8160.

Looking Forward

In our next blog post, we will be speaking with Kay Adler, the EVP of New Resource Bank and an IT security expert, for more insights about the transition our system is undergoing, and how it will affect and benefit our customers.

For more information on our system changes and how it will affect other banking services, please visit System Upgrade.