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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?

Will my card still have a magnetic stripe?

Are chip cards safer to use than magnetic stripe cards?

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 chip card where there is an activated chip reader?

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

Why haven't you put chip technology on your debit cards yet?

When will I receive a debit card with chip technology?

Is the credit card “Chip and Signature” or “Chip and PIN?”

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

Where are chip card enabled point-of-sale terminals used?


What is chip technology?

Chip technology (also referred to as EMV for Europay, MasterCard, Visa) is a micro-chip built into your VACU credit card which will improve the global usability and security of your card when used at a merchant with an active chip-card reader.

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 beginning to be used in 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 these features together. While VACU’s card has chip technology, it does not have contactless capabilities.

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 when used at a merchant's chip enabled terminal. The encrypted chip uses several measures that create a complex level of security, making a chip card difficult to counterfeit.

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 a merchant’s card terminal, there is a slot where you would insert your chip-enabled card. That’s a different place from the traditional “swipe” reader.

How do I use the chip 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 chip 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 haven't you put chip technology on your debit cards yet?

All Virginia Credit Union credit cards support chip technology. We are currently working to transition to chip-enabled debit cards in 2016. Since debit cards are more complex and many merchants aren’t yet ready to activate chip technology, we are taking time to ensure a smooth transition for our members.

When will I receive a debit card with chip technology?

We will begin transitioning to debit cards with chip technology in 2016.

Is the credit card “Chip and Signature” or “Chip and PIN?”

Your VACU MasterCard credit card is Chip and Signature. Both Chip and Signature and Chip and PIN are more secure ways to pay with your credit card at merchants that have chip compatible terminals. 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 credit card abroad for purchases will I be asked to provide a PIN?

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

Where are chip card enabled point-of-sale terminals used?

You will encounter chip card enabled point-of-sale terminals outside the U.S. and at an increasing number of U.S. retailers as they implement them.