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Chip Technology FAQs

What is chip technology?

Why are we moving to chip technology?

How is chip technology more secure?

Does chip technology make it a “contactless" card?

What is the difference between chip technology and contactless technology?

Can someone steal my card information just by walking past me with a special electronic device?

Will my card still have a magnetic stripe?

Are chip cards safer to use than magnetic stripe cards?

Does this mean that a magnetic stripe card is not secure?

Can I use my credit card with chip technology in the United States?

What does a chip card reader look like?

How do I use the card where there is an activated chip reader?

How do I use the card where there is no chip reader?

Why didn’t you put chip technology on your debit cards?

Is this card “Chip and Signature” or “Chip and PIN?”

When I use my chip card abroad for purchases will I be asked to provide a PIN?

What if a merchant asks for a PIN during the purchase?

Where are chip card enabled point of sale terminals used?


What is chip technology?

Chip technology is a micro-chip built into your VACU credit card which will improve the global usability and security of your card.

Why are we moving to chip technology?

We are moving to chip technology because it has greater worldwide acceptance and because it offers greater cardholder security. Chip technology is used in more than 80 countries around the world and is coming to the U.S.

How is chip technology more secure?

The chip contains encrypted information that makes it difficult for the card to be counterfeited. In addition, at merchants that use chip terminals, the card and terminal work together to add an additional layer of security to the transaction.

Does chip technology make it a “contactless" card?

No, they are different, although some issuers are using them together. While VACU’s card has chip technology, it does not have contactless capabilities.

What is the difference between chip technology and contactless technology?

Contactless is a technology that is similar to Bluetooth in that it allows communication between two electronic devices in close range to each other. Chip technology payments take place by physically inserting a chip card into a chip reader with additional layers of security and authentication included.

Can someone steal my card information just by walking past me with a special electronic device?

No. Chip technology payments take place by physically inserting a card with chip technology into a chip reader with additional layers of security and authentication included.

Will my card still have a magnetic stripe?

Yes, your credit card will have both a chip and a magnetic stripe. It can be used at both chip terminals and magnetic stripe terminals as a “swipe” transaction.

Are chip cards safer to use than magnetic stripe cards?

Yes, chip cards provide a higher level of security in some countries because the encrypted chip uses several measures that create a complex level of security, making a chip card difficult to counterfeit.

Does this mean that a magnetic stripe card is not secure?

You can be confident about the security of using magnetic stripe cards. Converting to chip card technology is the next step in electronic payments to enhance card safety. In addition, you can be confident in the protection and security features we provide.

Can I use my credit card with chip technology in the United States?

Yes, your new card can be used worldwide, wherever MasterCard is accepted for all purchases.

What does a chip card reader look like?

At the bottom of the terminal at an increasing number of merchants where in addition to the “swipe” reader, there is a slot at the bottom of the terminal where you would insert your credit card with chip technology once the merchants have turned on the feature.

How do I use the card where there is an activated chip reader?

Insert the chip portion of your card into the reader with the chip facing up, and leave it there for the entire transaction. Then follow the on-screen prompts to complete your transaction.

How do I use the card where there is no chip reader?

At all other merchants who have not yet installed or activated the chip reader, nothing changes. You can use your card as you normally would. Present your card to the merchant, swipe it through a conventional reader or provide your card details by phone or online.

Why didn’t you put chip technology on your debit cards?

Regulatory decisions are still being made about how debit payments will be processed through chip technology. We determined that it would be best to wait until those decisions had been made before implementing the technology.

Is this card “Chip and Signature” or “Chip and PIN?”

Your new VACU MasterCard is Chip and Signature. Both Chip and Signature and Chip and PIN are more secure ways to pay with your credit card. Chip and Signature requires your signature at the end of the transaction, just like your current magnetic stripe card does. Chip and PIN transactions use a four-digit PIN on transactions.

When I use my chip card abroad for purchases will I be asked to provide a PIN?

Your chip card is “Chip and Signature” and when you use your card you will be required to provide your signature at the end of the transaction, just like your current magnetic stripe card does.

What if a merchant asks for a PIN during the purchase?

Simply follow the instructions on the point of sale terminal to complete the transaction. Explain to the merchant that your card is “Chip and Signature” and that a PIN is not required or necessary.

Where are chip card enabled point of sale terminals used?

You are likely to encounter chip card enabled point of sale terminals outside the U.S.