Frequently Asked Questions

What makes chip cards different from magnetic stripe cards?

Traditional credit and debit cards in the U.S. have used a magnetic stripe on the back of the card. The stripe contains cardholder data that doesn’t change. In the wrong hands, this data can be skimmed or copied and used to make counterfeit cards, which can then be used to commit fraud.

Chip cards contain a computer chip that creates a unique transaction code for each purchase, and the card is customized for each cardholder. This technology protects against card-present fraud.

Chip cards will still have a magnetic stripe on the back because not all businesses are expected to convert their card-reading payment terminals to chip-enabled terminals right away.

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