Wired

How to use a chip-embedded credit card — and why you should

This holiday shopping season you may notice that many retail chains are sporting new check-out terminals that are enabled to read chip-embedded credit cards, aka EMV cards. What's the point of these cards and why should you bother with them?

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EMV chip credit card.
  • Heightened security. EMV cards are designed to reduce fraud by producing unique codes for each transaction (magnetic strips on the other hand, use the same data for each one). ConsumerWorld.com’s Edgar Dworsky says that even if a thief gets a hold of your EMV card, it's harder for them to make a counterfeit because they can't clone the chip.
  • In-store only. Chip cards, Dworsky notes, are worthless when it comes to e-commerce. When shopping on the Internet, your credit card information is still susceptible because you're just using the numbers per usual (there's no dipping option available), so you still have to be cautious when shopping online.
  • Is it worth it? Banks are passing along the new charges of upgrading to EMV cards to consumers, which means these cards aren't fee. What's more, the checkout process is longer and more finicky when using a chip-enabled card. But it's may be all worth it when you consider that in other countries where chip technology has been used for years, fraud has declined significantly.

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