Posted on April 28, 2017

Your EMV-Enabled Cards are on the way!

If you haven't received an EMV VISA or debit card from us yet, you will be getting one. EMV cards are often referred to as “chip cards”. While we started issuing EMV VISA cards last year, we are now getting started with replacing debit cards with EMV chip cards. When your WRCU VISA or debit card comes up for renewal, the replacement card will be an EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) enabled card. WRCU is replacing the older magnetic strip cards as they expire, or need a replacement for other reasons. You may have heard about how the new cards are more secure, but you may not sure about how they work and what it means for you. EMV cards are relatively new in the U.S., but have been in use in Europe for about 20 years, and have been shown to greatly reduce some types credit and debit card fraud.

An EMV card has an embedded computer chip which requires a special type of card reader terminal that many merchants are now getting. (The EMV cards work in older swipe readers as well.) This chip enables encrypted communication between the card reader and the card; this prevents card information from being electronically hijacked. The chip is unique to your card, and the information about it changes every time you use it, so the information is not able to be re-used in the unlikely event that it was intercepted somehow. The chip is just about impossible to counterfeit, which helps reduce the problem of fake cards. If the actual EMV card itself is stolen, you are no more protected than with a magnetic strip card, so be sure to let us at WRCU know at 802-767-3333 or after hours at 800-991-4961 if your card is lost or stolen.

The major difference you will notice when using your EMV card is that instead of swiping it in an EMV-capable terminal you insert it and leave it in the terminal until prompted to remove it, and the process may take a bit longer than what you are used to. The card will also swipe if the terminal is not EMV-capable, but if it is an EMV terminal and you try to swipe, you will be prompted to use the more secure EMV transaction. Store personnel can guide you through the process the first time. You use the card online in the same way that you always have.

For most transactions, you will be able to sign for your purchase as you do now. However, if you are traveling in another country, or getting cash from an ATM you may be asked to enter a PIN number. Your VISA or debit card PIN is sent separately from the card, and the envelope doesn't look like anything special; make sure you don't throw it away! If you don't get a PIN number, or forget the one you have, you can contact us at WRCU for a replacement.

All the protections from fraud you had with your VISA or debit card remain in place. Liability may shift to the merchant if they are not EMV-capable, and your card is an EMV card, but you personally won't see any change in liability for unauthorized charges.

There is some unfounded concern that an unscrupulous person standing next to you can read the data off your EMV card. This is not really possible since the signal produced by an EMV chip can only travel a few centimeters.