Chippy the Credit Card

by Colin Berkshire

As of today all merchants are required to accept chip-based credit cards and all banks are required to have issued them.

Don’t hold your breath. Many banks haven’t issued them yet, and most merchants don’t have the terminals. More than half the merchants with the terminals have not enabled the chip feature.

So it is no wonder you probably don’t know how to do it. I will explain.

When a credit card has a chip (it looks like a SIM embedded into the credit card) and the merchant has a chip-compatible terminal (it has a slot on the front side facing you ). This is safer for you, and will cost the merchant less money.

To do it you insert your card into the terminal and then you leave it there. (It’s tempting to pull the card back out like you do at a gas pump. But don’t do that.) Leave the card in.

Now, you approve the transaction on the display and sign the screen. Wait for the transaction to be approved, and then wait for the message to remove the card. Leave the card in until you get this message. It’s a bit longer than you are used to. When you see the message that it is safe to remove your card, pull it out.

While this may all seem new to you, most of the world has been doing this for many years. The US is one of the last countries to implement chip-based credit cards.

Your chip based credit card is different from all of the rest of the world. It’s compatible, but less secure. You see, the rest of the world doesn’t sign with a pen. The rest of the world enters a 6-digit PIN number. This proves that the card owner did the transaction. But US card companies think we are too stupid to remember a 6-digit pin so the banks eliminated this feature.

When traveling overseas you just don’t enter a PIN number and press ENTER. Your transaction will be approved. This makes your American credit card incredibly valuable to thieves. They can charge up a storm overseas because they don’t need the PIN number. So remember that as an American your wallet is likely being specifically targeted. Nothing like having criminals single you out. Thank you US financial institutions.