Fear, shock and disbelief hit me at the same time. I was on the phone with a representative who had just informed me that my debit card had been hacked. Card compromises are something that we hear about in the news, it couldn't possibly happen to me, right?
I was always careful about how I used my card, I didn't use it online and I'd never given out my PIN. There must have been a mistake. Sure enough, when I got home and looked online, several hundred dollars were pulled from my account at a store where I've never shopped. My card was quickly shut off and I later got a new one.
A few months later, this same scenario happened again on a different card. Then it happened again. Was it really safe to use my cards anymore, or was I destined to a life of paying with cash? Then I heard about the awesome new security features that EMV (Europay/Mastercard®/Visa®) cards offer. I'm looking forward to many stress-free shopping experiences and not worrying about which card I'll be shredding next. Here are a few more reasons why I'm excited for this little piece of plastic.
EMV cards are embedded with an encrypted microchip that stores the cardholders' information. This extra security feature makes it difficult for fraudsters to get ahold of your information, so it's not easy to make a fake card. This microchip also protects against skimming, or the criminal method of stealing card information by overriding the card reader on a point-of-sale machine.
Though EMV cards will eliminate a lot of fraud activity, we still encourage you to stay alert and practice using your card safely.
When you use your card at a store, it's verified at three different points. When you pay for a purchase, something like this happens: First, the card itself is validated to make sure it's real. Then you'll verify who you are through a PIN or signature. Finally, the transaction is verified. A unique code is created for each transaction that you do, so your purchases can't be duplicated.
Use it Overseas
The adaption of EMV technology has significantly decreased fraud around the world, saving all of us a lot of money and headaches. This technology is currently used in 130 countries. Rest assured that even when you're traveling abroad, your information is safe. But remember to let us know when you're going out of town so you don't have any issues when trying to use your card.
How to Use EMV Cards
When you go to buy something and you use your EMV card, the payment process is a little different. Next time you go shopping, check out the payment terminal at the store. A card reader slot will be at the bottom of upgraded machines. When you go to make a purchase, you'll place your card in this slot at the beginning of the transaction. Sign for your purchase or enter your PIN. When the transaction is complete, just remove your card from the slot. Easy, right?