Credit card issuers in Canada are moving to a new system for fighting fraud and are gradually migrating all of their customers to the new technology each time the user renews their cards. Each new credit card will have an embedded computer chip that can store and process data more securely. Your card looks exactly the same with two differences.
First there is a new marking on the card. Usually on the left hand side that looks like a small computer chip printed circuit board. This is the brains of the card and contains all of your information including your pin number. The second major difference is a symbol on the right hand side of the card. It looks like a series of ))) which signifies that you can swipe your card against a reader for faster processing.
When you present your card for payment at a store, you will enter a personal identification number, just as you do for debit cards. The new cards will still have a magnetic stripe on the back to ensure they are accepted in other countries. Or by vendors that have not yet adopted the chip technology in their card readers. Most Canadian Venders now accept these chip cards and use chip card readers.
The reason the credit card companies are adopting this new technology is to reduce the amount of fraud that they are experiencing due to stolen and copied credit cards. The advantages of these new chip credit cards are:
For those of you who have not used one of these cards yet, they are pretty easy to use. First of all the vendor must have a terminal that is equipped with the new reader for chip cards. All you need to do is to plug it into the card reader at the bottom and leave it there until the transaction is completed. Once it is plugged in it is a simple manner to follow the instructions on the screen to approve the transaction and then enter your pin number. Once approved, the card reader will automatically print a receipt for you.
You can even add tips to the transaction if you are using your card at a restaurant. Be careful though. The last one I used, gave me two choices. One was an automatic 20% tip which I thought was a little rich. So I used the other selection which allowed me to select either a dollar amount or a different percentage.
Overall, I like this new approach. I am in control of my card at all times and there is less chance of fraud with the card, which protects the card holder as well as the bank. The waiter told us that one store in the mall that we were in , had a card reader ( unknown to the owners) that had a double reader inside. One was for the transaction and the other was to read the information on the strip so that it could be copied. With a chip reader this problem goes away!
So far, Visa is saying that they are extending their zero liability policy to the chip cards. Still you need to make sure that you keep your pin number private, don’t give it to anyone and do not write it down to protect yourself and the card company. If in doubt check with your credit card company. One important point is that if you do a lot of transactions over the phone, never give your pin number out. There is no need to provide it and if asked, by a vendor, you are probably being set up for a fraudulent transaction!
If you have more questions about your new chip credit card, don’t hesitate to call your credit card company. They are the only ones that give you specific answers based on the agreement they have with you. Anything else you get from anyone can only be a general answer at best.