Credit Card with Chip Frequently Asked Questions

What is a chip card?
A chip card is a credit card that contains an embedded microchip as well as the traditional magnetic stripe. The chip encrypts information to increase data security when making transactions at a chip-enabled terminal. You may hear chip cards referred to as “smart cards” or “EMV cards” – they’re all different ways of referring to the same type of card. An EMV terminal is the same as a chip-enabled terminal. Although chip cards are relatively new in the U.S., they have been used in other countries for many years. In some countries, particularly in Europe, chip cards are the standard.

Why are we moving to this type of card?
Chip-enabled cards have been the standard in Europe and many other countries around the world and are becoming a new standard in the United States. The chip technology provides enhanced fraud protection, making it hard to duplicate. It also offers wider acceptance, making it easier on those who frequently travel internationally to continue using their regular cards for payments.

Why are chip card transactions more secure?
Chip card transactions offer you advanced security for in-store payments because your chip card is more difficult to counterfeit or copy. If the card data and the one-time code are stolen, the information cannot be used to create a counterfeit card. Chip technology is the next step to providing enhanced security to our members. Whether you use the magnetic stripe or the chip to make your purchase, you can have confidence in the protection and security features we provide for all credit card accounts. Remember, if you notice any suspicious activity on your account; notify us immediately by calling the number on the back of your card.

What is Chip & Signature and Chip & PIN?
You have a Chip and Signature card, so in most instances, you should not need a PIN to make purchases with your card. The term “PIN” or “Signature” simply refers to how you will authorize the transaction – by entering a PIN or by providing your signature. When using your Stanford Federal Credit Union chip card, you’ll be prompted for a signature to complete the transaction.

How do I know if I have a chip card?
If you have a chip card, the chip is located on the front of the card. You will still have a magnetic stripe on the back so that you can use it at merchants who don’t accept chip cards yet.

Does this change the process of using my card?
Yes. Instead of swiping your card or handing it to a merchant, when making a transaction at a new EMV-compatible terminal, you’ll need to insert the card in the terminal and leave it there until the transaction is complete. If you remove the card too soon, the transaction will end and your purchase will not be processed.

How do I use my chip card?
During the transition to chip, you can swipe your card as you normally would and follow the prompts. If the terminal is chip-enabled, it will prompt you to insert it instead. If you already know your chip card works there, start by inserting your card. These basic steps will help ensure successful transactions:

  • 1. Insert your card with the chip toward the terminal, facing up
  • 2. Follow the prompts on the terminal screen
  • 3. Provide your signature or PIN as prompted by the terminal. Some transactions may not require either
  • 4. When the terminal says the transaction is complete, you will be prompted to remove your card
  • 5. Remember to take your card
Where can I use my chip card?
Anywhere you would use your existing card. Your card will have a chip and a magnetic stripe so there’s now two ways to use it—swipe your card as you normally would and follow the prompts if the terminal is chip-enabled, it will prompt you to insert it instead. Every day, more merchants are becoming chip-enabled to increase security for in-store transactions so you will start to see these terminals at many of the places you shop today.

Can I still use my chip-enabled card if the merchant’s terminal is not enabled?
Yes. If a merchant is not yet chip-enabled, simply continue to swipe your card. Then enter your PIN or select CREDIT and sign for your purchase (if necessary).

Can I use my chip card outside of the U.S.?
Yes. Chip cards are widely used in international markets and are accepted in more than 80 countries. Having a chip card will make it easier for you to make purchases when you travel internationally.

What does a chip-enabled terminal look like?
Chip-enabled terminals have all of the features you are used to with a payment terminal, with the addition of a slot to insert your card. The slot is typically located at the bottom or the top of the payment terminal.

How does a chip card work?
It’s easy. If the retailer has a chip-enabled terminal, simply insert your chip card face up in the terminal. The chip card will remain in the terminal while the transaction is processed. To authorize your transaction, just follow the prompts on the terminal as you do today. You’ll be prompted for a signature to complete the purchase. When traveling internationally, on rare occasions, you may be asked to provide a PIN. Should this occur, just enter the card PIN assigned to your card. Your card is available to be removed from the terminal once the transaction is completed. If the retailer is not equipped to read the chip card, just swipe as you do today. For transactions made over the phone or online, nothing changes.

What do I do if I’m asked to enter a PIN?
If a merchant asks about a PIN code, you can say that your card only requires a signature for verification. If the merchant card reader prompts for a PIN code, it may allow you to “Cancel” out of the prompt so you can sign. You may also be able to select “Enter” or “Continue” to bypass the PIN request.

Will my PIN number change?
No. Your pin will stay the same.

Will anything change during my online purchases?
No. You will use your chip card for online purchases by following the same process you do today.

What about recurring payments on my current card?
Just like anytime you get a new card, notify the merchants that charge your card, give them your card number, expiration date and the 3-digit security code.

Can I still pay in store if I don’t have a chip card?
Yes, merchants will continue to accept your current magnetic stripe card payments.

What should I do if my card gets lost or stolen?
To report a lost or stolen SFCU Credit Card, please call 888.723.7328.
Do the same benefits come with my chip card that I had with my prior card?
Yes. You’ll continue to enjoy the same benefits with your chip card as you do today with your credit card.

What should I do with my existing card?
Once you have activated your new chip-enabled card, please destroy your current magnetic stripe card.

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