Let’s jump right to it. Yes, chip debit cards really are that necessary. It may seem like that fancy little chip does nothing more than what the old “swipe” did. You’d swipe, type in your PIN, and go home with your stuff. Now, if you have a chip, you insert the chip, type in your PIN, and go home with your stuff. So what’s the difference?
Magnetic strip cards are based on 50-year-old technology; they store your name, account number, card expiration date and the three digit security code on the back of the card. If your card were to be stolen (or even just swiped through a point-of-sale system at any retailer) all of the information just mentioned could potentially be used illegally. Worst case scenario, your identity could be stolen.
Doesn’t sound that safe, does it? It’s not. That’s why in 2015, retailers and card issuers began using EMV (Europay/Mastercard/Visa) chips to replace the outdated magnetic strip.
The EMV chip debit card protects you (and the card issuer) from fraud and counterfeiting; it’s much more secure technology. If your debit card has a microchip, a unique ID code is created for each transaction. It uses encryption to securely hide your personal info. If a hacker gets ahold of the ID, it’s meaningless.
This way, your card is much less likely to be counterfeited, and basically renders it useless for in-person purchases without knowledge of your PIN. (This also prevents hackers from getting account numbers if a retailer data breach happens. Think Target hack circa 2013.) Basically, EMV chips are used to make it much harder for criminals to steal your info and exploit retailers’ payment systems. And that’s what we want.
Staying On Guard
Even if you think you’re super careful with your card, it’s important that you’re always on guard. Make it a habit to consistently monitor your account activity. You won’t know if something’s off unless you stay on top of your transactions. If you suspect fraud or see something suspicious on your account, contact your bank ASAP and let them know the situation.
If you don’t have a chip debit card, we strongly suggest you get one. And fast. And we can help. Every checking account at Republic Bank of Chicago comes with a chip debit card. So let’s help you get started opening one today.
And on top of better protecting you against counterfeiting and fraud, our Republic Bank Cash Back EMV Debit MasterCard™ gives you 3¢ cash back with every purchase. (Just a total bonus, but happy to provide it.)