Why do I need a new debit card, anyway?

January 18, 2017

Here at Randolph Savings Bank, we’re in the process of sending new debit cards to our customers who currently have active debit cards as those debit cards expire. These new cards are known as EMV cards, or chip cards. You may be wondering what the difference is between this new card and your old one.

We’d like to take a bit of the mystery out of the chip card for you, and explain why this is actually a beneficial change.

At Randolph Savings Bank, your security is important to us. Keeping your accounts safe is our priority. That’s why we think the EMV card is a good thing – its purpose is to reduce the rate of fraud from in person debit card transactions.

When you look at your new chip card, you’ll notice it has a small metallic square on the face of the card – that’s a computer chip and it’s equipped with the technology needed to authenticate each chip card transaction.

Paying in a store with a chip card is a bit different than what you might be used to. Instead of swiping your card on the point-of-sale machine, you will insert your card into the machine (known in the payments industry as “dipping”) where a unique transaction code will be generated for your transaction. This process can take a bit longer than the traditional swipe – but it’s worth it.

You see, that unique transaction code is key. In the event of a data breach, the information compromised is your one-time transaction code that has already been used. That means that the transaction information a scammer has obtained regarding you and your card is essentially useless making it extremely difficult for them to counterfeit and reuse your account information. That protective step adds an enhanced level of security to your debit card usage.

Incidences of in-person card fraud have already declined due to the rising usage of EMV cards. Does that mean that you should stop using your debit cards at stores that don’t yet process chip payments? No! Not all retailers have made the change to EMV-compliant payment systems, but that doesn’t have to impact your shopping habits. Keep shopping with the same retailers you know and love. Your EMV card still has that familiar magnetic stripe like a traditional debit card, so it can be swiped to make payment.

We would like to note that, as always, Randolph Savings Bank encourages our customers to exercise caution when using their credit and debit cards and advises closely monitoring your statements for suspicious activity. For more tips on better protecting your accounts from fraud, please visit the Protect Yourself page of our website.