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Do you use a debit card often? If so did you know that your debit card is likely not secure? I say likely since most debit cards have yet to switch over to the EMV chip. EMV in this case stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, which helped to propel this new security feature forward. An EMV chip is basically a mini microprocessor that is embedded directly into your credit or debit card. It securely stores your payment information, preventing random people from scanning your information. It also has a second feature that really helps to kill any fraud, it sends a unique digital code each time you make a purchase. Every purchase has a new digital code sent to a payment terminal, so any attempted purchase that does not have this unique code will fail. The unique code can only come from an authentic EMV chip, as of today’s date there is no way to fake this process.
Using the cards is much the same, in fact they can be swiped just like the magnetic cards you are used to already. They can also be dipped into the terminal. Some of these cards do not even need to make physical contact with the terminal, they can be make a remote payment from several feet away from the terminal. Credit cards have already started rolling these EMV chip cards out in the United States. These cards have been in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world for years. If these cards had been rolled out sooner in the United States, experts agree that the damage done by credit card fraud would have been severely diminished in the States. Now banks have started to roll these cards out for debit card users. As much as 4 out of every 10 debit cards will likely have a chip in them by the end of 2015, with more to follow in 2016.
This comes at a high cost to U.S banks, but the savings in debit and credit card fraud will make it well worth it for both the banks and you the consumer. While large banks are having an easy go of producing and sending these cards out, many of the smaller banks in the U.S are falling behind and struggling to catch up. Also there is a change coming to payment terminals, which was the main reason EMV chips were delayed state side. For now people will be able to swipe or dip their EMV cards, but the plan is for all terminals to eventually be dip only.
If you are wondering why the big push to do this, it is not just credit card fraud people have to deal with. A shocking 1 in 5 Americans has been the victim of debit card fraud over the last 5 years, according to the ACI Worldwide and Aite Group. Unlike credit cards, banks are under no obligation to refund fraudulent debit card purchases, and when they do refund these bogus charges, it is often after a long battle with the bank. Banks and consumers alike are on the hook for millions of dollars in debit card fraud every year. Unlucky people can find their entire bank accounts wiped clean by a clever fraudster.
If you have yet to receive an EMV debit card from your bank, you should contact them and ask for one. Most big banks have them available, but are staggering out handing them out. By simply calling and asking for one, you could secure your bank account, and add peace of mind.