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Debit Card EMV Frequently Asked Questions


What is “chip” or “EMV” card technology?

For decades, consumers have swiped their credit and debit cards using a mag stripe on the back, but that is changing. Consumers are receiving “EMV” or “chip” cards, which are embedded with a computer chip that replaces the magnetic stripe for in-store transactions. It’s all about security -- the chips are almost impossible to copy or counterfeit.

Banks have been moving quickly to put this security upgrade into consumers’ wallets, with an estimated 575 million chip cards expected to be issued by the end of 2015. EMV stands for “Europay, MasterCard, Visa,” which were the original chip developers, but chip cards can be used on all major U.S. card networks, including American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.


When will Union Federal adopt EMV card technology?

Union Federal expects to begin issuing EMV cards in June 2016.  


I have an existing Union Federal or First Federal Debit card.  Will I get an EMV card?

Yes.  All existing Union Federal and First Federal Debit cards will be reissued in June 2016.


How do EMV chips protect my data?

Counterfeit card fraud occurs when a mag stripe card is copied (or created using information stolen in a data breach) and then used in a store by a criminal. Chip cards prevent this kind of fraud, because the chips can’t be programmed with copied or stolen account information. The chip produces a one-time transaction code that can’t be guessed or re-used for future transactions, adding a dynamic, ever changing layer of security on top of static card information like account numbers.

What happens in October 2015?

Consumers will start seeing more point-of-sale terminals that are ready to accept their chip cards. Consumers continue to enjoy the same protections for fraud—zero liability in most cases.

For card issuers and merchants, as announced in 2011, the way fraud losses are assigned will be adjusted to take into account the implementation of chip technology. Essentially, whichever party has not upgraded to EMV will assume liability for fraud. 

Is October 2015 a deadline or the end of the magstripe?

No. The “liability shift” is not a government mandate, nor is it a deadline. It is a private sector-initiated incentive to ensure that consumers are protected as soon as possible. Magstripes will still work at stores without a chip terminal. Since this is a gradual process, consumers don’t have to worry about their current card being accepted after October 1.

How are upgrade costs being shared in the marketplace?

Consumers pay nothing – banks are reissuing cards for free.

Chip cards are just one of the many ways banks are working to protect you.

EMV chips are an important innovation that better protect consumers’ financial data, but they are only part of the greater effort being made by banks and networks to combat hackers. Other innovations are on the horizon and will play an important role fighting future threats. Tokenization technologies (like Apple Pay) are becoming more common; they replace account numbers with a random number at the point of purchase rendering them useless to thieves. Point-to-point encryption scrambles data at every point of the transaction. In addition to today’s sophisticated neural networks which spot fraud at the point of sale, these new technologies will be layered on top of EMV and create multiple layers of security necessary to fight increasingly sophisticated forms of fraud.