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HomeLoans & Credit CardsMastercard Credit Cards • Smart Cards (EMV) FAQs

Answers to Your Questions about Smart (EMV) Credit Cards

This fall, WPCCU will begin issuing credit cards with EMV chips in them, also known as “Smart Cards.” Please refer to the following questions and answers for information regarding EMV technology. Your new MasterCard Smart Card will also be flat, like a hotel room key card, containing no raised name or account numbers.

1. What is EMV?
EMV (Europay, MasterCard®, Visa®) is micro-computer chip technology that provides increased security capability. EMV chip cards are equipped with a small metallic computer chip on the front of the card that holds your information. Originating in Europe, EMV technology has been instrumental in preventing the spread of credit card fraud.

2. Why is WPCCU adopting EMV, or Smart Card, technology?
WPCCU is implementing EMV technology to ensure you have the most secure and seamless purchase experience possible. EMV technology is currently one of the most effective tools being used to prevent the spread of credit card fraud. EMV chip cards ensure your information remains protected, and make it more difficult for potential fraudsters to obtain your data.

To avoid liability, merchants are required to convert their current card readers to EMV-compliant processing terminals by October 2015. Unattended kiosks – gas pumps, movie ticket kiosks, etc. – are not required to update for a few more years.

3. Will my new credit card look the same?
No, your new credit card will have a different image, and will be flat, with printed letters and numbers instead of raised letters and numbers.

4. Why is WPCCU switching to flat printed cards?
In the days when manual card imprinters were commonly used, the raised number cards were necessary so that merchants could make an imprint of the account number. Now, consumers or merchants swipe or insert the card through the card reader, which reads the information encoded on the card's magnetic stripe or embedded chip. Card readers are safer, as there is no paper or carbon paper trail that might get into the wrong hands.

5. Do I need to update my contact information to receive my new card?
Yes, it is extremely important that you make sure your contact and address information is updated with WPCCU. If the information on your account does not reflect your current address, you may not receive your card. We also monitor cards for suspicious activity. Be sure that you have your mobile phone and email address updated with WPCCU, too, in case we have questions about your card transactions when you are away from home.

6. What are the benefits of Smart Card technology?
There are many benefits to EMV, namely the fraud deterrent technology. Another benefit is the reduction in credit card fraud resulting from counterfeit cards.

7. Why are EMV credit cards and EMV payment transactions secure?
EMV chip cards are inherently more secure due to card authentication and transaction authorization features. EMV chip cards are more secure than the magnetic stripe cards currently used in the United States because they have the ability to encrypt data. This means that only authorized users can access your information. Having encryption technology in place makes it extremely difficult for fraudsters to access or use information stored on your card, making it very challenging to create duplicate cards. These capabilities help protect against card fraud and provide an enhanced level of comfort when making purchases.

8. Is EMV going to be widely implemented in the U.S.?
Yes, EMV technology will be the chosen method of payment in the United States within the next few years for credit unions and banks. October 2015 is the deadline currently in place for most merchants to have EMV-friendly payment processing terminals.

9. Can my Smart Card protect me against fraud when I make purchases online?
No, Smart Cards (EMV chip cards) are designed to reduce card-present fraud. While there is no foolproof way to protect against fraud online, you should always verify that the website is secure. Two ways to verify the authenticity of the website is to ensure that--when you go to make a purchase—there is a yellow lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of the page, and an “s” at the end of the “http:” in the URL line in your browser. If you do not see these indicators, leave the page right away.

10. Will my Smart Card also have the magnetic stripe?
Yes, your new Smart Card will include the magnetic stripe on the back, giving you dual-purpose technology to enhance your purchasing capabilities. This means that you will be able to use your Smart Card at retailers who support EMV processing, and the magnetic stripe at all other locations.

11. Will having both the EMV chip and the magnetic stripe on my card void the improved fraud provided by EMV?
No, the improved fraud protection provided by the EMV chip is not void. The EMV chip provides enhanced security utility when used at an EMV card reader, and the magnetic stripe provides the convenience to use your card at any merchant locations that have not yet implemented EMV payment processing terminals.

12. Will my PIN be the same on my new credit card?
Yes, your PIN will remain the same on your new card.

13. Will my debit card be updated with EMV chips?
Yes, in the near future your WPCCU debit cards will be updated with Smart Card (EMV) technology. However we are only reissuing credit cards at this time.

14. How will I know how to use my Smart Card when I make a purchase?
Smart Card (EMV) technology requires that you put your card into the card reader when making a purchase. The card reader will not release your card until it has verified the information stored in your chip. If the merchant has a chip-enabled terminal, you will place your card into the slot at the bottom of the machine and sign for your purchase. If the terminal is not chip-enabled, you will be able to swipe your card, enter a PIN or sign for your purchase.

15. How will my new card work if I am travelling outside the United States?
Your card should work the same outside the United States.  EMV chip technology is supported in 80 foreign countries, including Canada, most of Europe, Latin America and Asia.  To be safe, always call the credit union to advise us that you will be using your card while travelling abroad.

16. When should I activate my new card?
In order to be protected by the EMV chip technology, it’s very important that you activate your new card within 24 hours of receiving the card. Delayed activation may result in denied purchase approvals on your old card.


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