Video: Do I need to swipe my EMV credit card?

By Dana Kochnower

Get ready for something different in your wallet. Banks are issuing new credit and debit cards with security chips. It's part of a nationwide switch to EMV cards, which use a computer chip, instead of the magnetic stripe on the back of the card, to enable more secure credit card transactions.

We spoke with Randy Vanderhoof, head of the Smart Card Alliance, to find out what you need to know about so-called chip-and-PIN cards. We have a lot of questions, so we'll answer each in a separate video.

Answer to question number one: Yes, even if your card has a chip, you may still need to swipe the magnetic stripe when you buy something.

"The new cards still will have a magnetic stripe and those cards still will work like the old cards do at merchant locations that have not yet upgraded their point-of-sale systems to accept the chip cards," says Vanderhoof. "So for a period of time consumers are going to find that sometimes they are prompted to use the chip in that retail store and other times they won't be able to use the chip and they will continue to use the magnetic stripe.

"The coding on the magnetic stripe on the EMV cards will let the terminal know that that card was issued with a chip and if that terminal is enabled to accept an EMV chip transaction it will no longer allow that magnetic stripe to be used to complete that transaction."  

See related: EMV FAQ 2: Do I need a PIN for my EMV credit card?, EMV FAQ 3: Will EMV credit cards protect my online purchases?, EMV FAQ 4: Will EMV chip cards work in NFC mobile wallets?

Published: April 16, 2015

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