Should I Use My Credit Card’s Chip and PIN Technology?

December 1, 2014, Written By Lynn Oldshue
Credit Cards Stack

As America transitions to EMV credit card standards, many banks have already issued new cards to their customers that utilize Chip and PIN technology. If you have received one of these cards, you may be wondering, “Should I Use my credit card’s Chip and PIN technology?” The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!” but perhaps you would like to know why this option is so beneficial. Here is a look at why you should embrace this new technology.

The Benefits of Chip and PIN Technology

Chip and PIN technology provides a microchip on your credit card or debit card that encrypts your personal information. It acts as a secondary way to identify that you are, in fact, the account holder for this card. The chip and its data are incredibly difficult to duplicate, limiting your risk for identity theft when you use your card. Even if someone manages to take your credit card number, they won’t have the chip needed to authorize the transaction.

Traditional magnetic strip cards have become vulnerable to hackers who have figured out how to print new cards with the same information and use them to get money or merchandise. With Chip and PIN cards, the chances of this happening are significantly decreased.

Chip and PIN Is the Standard In Other Countries

Chip and PIN technology is the standard in more than 80 countries. It has been around for over a decade, and it has become the most trusted security options for credit and debit cards. The question shouldn’t be, “Should I use my credit card’s Chip and PIN technology?” but rather “What has taken us so long to adapt Chip and PIN technology in America?”

How to Use a Chip and PIN Card

Here is a look at how you can use Chip and PIN technology in different settings:

  • Stores with Chip and PIN Readers: Insert your card into the slot allotted for chip and PIN cards, and wait for a signature box or PIN request to come up. Some cards are designed to work as chip and signature cards instead, which means you will have to sign for the transaction instead of entering a PIN.
  • Stores without Chip and PIN Readers: Most chip and PIN cards in America currently have a magnetic strip on the back of them because the United States is in transition. This strip may go away over time, but for now, you should be able to swipe your card to make a purchase.
  • Stores Online: Enter your credit card information as normal. There is no change with this type of transaction.

There should not be too much of a change in the way you go about your shopping and spending. You just have a new layer of protection working in your favor.

When Will I Receive a New Chip and PIN Card?

Every bank has its own plan for releasing Chip and PIN cards to its customers, but all banks have to abide by the same deadline next year. By October 2015, you should have a full set of “smart cards” in your wallet. You can use these cards while traveling because most other countries already operate under this technology. Just wait for your bank to send you a card in the mail, and then you can destroy your old card.

Use your Chip and PIN technology as often as possible, and it will soon become the “norm” for your daily routines.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 1, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.