By: Stella Katsipoutis
By the end of 2016, all VyStar credit and debit cards were upgraded to EMV (Europay, MasterCard® and Visa®) chip technology. The transition was part of a nationwide shift to implement the technology and help combat counterfeit fraud, which has already proven to be successful: According to Visa, approximately 408.1 million cards in the U.S. are now chip-enabled, and counterfeit fraud has declined by 52% at chip-enabled merchants across the country over the past year. Although EMV chips help make card payments more secure, cardholders still have some misconceptions about how this technology works. To help straighten out some of the confusion, we’ve debunked three of the most common myths about EMV chip cards.
Myth 1: Chip Technology Is New
It may be a newly introduced concept to the United States, but EMV chip technology has been around for more than 20 years. After rigorous testing, it has also proven to be more secure than the traditional magnetic stripes we are used to seeing on plastic cards. In fact, the U.S. is one of the last countries to adopt EMV technology. It’s particularly popular in Europe, where almost 97% of card-present transactions (i.e., transactions in which the card is physically used, as opposed to online) are made with EMV chips, according to EMVCo (an organization created to facilitate the operations and acceptance of EMV technology). The technology is also widely used across the globe—including in Canada, Africa, Australia, Latin America and more—making it not only more secure, but more travel-friendly as well.
Myth 2: All Chip Cards Are Contactless
Just because a credit or debit card may have an EMV chip, that does not necessarily mean it offers the capability to make a contactless payment to a merchant simply by waving your card in front of a payment terminal, which is known as radio frequency identification (RFID). That technology is different from EMV chip technology, which is considered a contact payment system. This means the EMV chip must be physically inserted into the payment terminal in order to complete a transaction. VyStar credit and debit cards are NOT equipped to make contactless payments. In order to use the EMV chip on your VyStar card, you must insert the chip end of your card—with the chip facing up—into the chip-enabled terminal. For more detailed information about using your VyStar chip card, please visit the EMV Chip Card Technology page on our website and click on the “How do I use my chip card in stores?” menu item.
Myth 3: Fraudsters Can Scan Your Chip Card From a Distance
Another misconception is that fraudsters can use a device to scan and read the information from your EMV chip card, even if they are standing across the room. There’s also speculation that you need to buy a special wallet to protect your chip card from these mysterious scanning devices. However, these theories are simply not true, and they likely result from confusion between EMV and RFID technologies. While RFID does wirelessly transmit card information that can be hacked, the same does not hold true for EMV chips. The chips are encrypted to protect your account information, and they do NOT wirelessly transmit information. As mentioned above, the chip must be physically inserted into a payment terminal in order for a transaction to be completed. When you insert the chip into the terminal, a unique one-time code is created and used to approve the payment, giving your card an added layer of protection against fraudsters.
While EMV chips are more secure than magnetic stripes, they do not guarantee that fraud will not occur on your account. You play a large role in keeping fraudsters at bay, too. Check your accounts regularly, and make sure that your correct mailing and email addresses are on file with VyStar. Should we see evidence of fraud, we will want to contact you immediately, and failing to update your contact information only delays this process. Likewise, we ask you to contact us as soon as possible if you suspect that your card information has been stolen.
To add or update your contact information within Internet Banking, log in and select “Settings/Service” at the top right-hand corner of the screen. Under the “Personal Information” menu, you can select the appropriate option to change your mailing address, telephone number or email address. You can also contact our Call Center and speak with a representative to update your information.
If you have any questions about your debit or credit card, please visit the Cards & Services page on our website for more information or call (904) 777-6000 or 1 (800) 445-6289 to speak to a VyStar representative.
The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.