The shift from magnetic stripe card technology to the new EMV chip technology might seem like a big switch, but as consumers, there are just a few things to know.

  1. Chip technology is tested, secure and reliable. It’s been in use for more than 20 years in Europe, so you can be sure of its security when you make in-person purchases. Unlike data in your magnetic stripe, chip data is dynamic, which makes it more difficult for thieves to use.
  2. You’ll insert instead of swipe. The main difference is how you use your card at checkout. Insert your card into the slot at the base of the terminal and keep it there until prompted later to remove it. Next, you’ll sign for your purchase or enter a PIN. You’ll then get the signal to remove your card, which could be at the end of the transaction—even as late as when the receipt is printed. At ATMs equipped with EMV technology, you’ll leave your debit card inserted during the entire transaction.
  3. Stripe technology will still work. Old cards with magnetic stripes, or “magstripes”, will still work at new terminals, which are outfitted with both magstripe and chip readers. New chip cards also have magstripes, but they’ll only work at terminals without chip readers (or terminals with chip readers that have yet to be activated). The magstripes are coded to tell the payment terminal that the card has a chip, disabling the magstripe for that transaction.
  4. It may seem to take a bit longer to pay. It doesn’t really take longer, but because your card is still in the reader through the process, it often feels like it takes longer. In the old magstripe world, you often had downtime after swiping before the keypad prompted for next steps. Don’t forget to take your card back at the end of the transaction!
  5. You’ll likely need a PIN overseas. Unattended terminals, such as those at train stations, usually require a PIN to complete the transaction, even for credit cards. Navy Federal credit cardholders can request a PIN for overseas transactions. Call 1-888-842-6328, login to your online account or visit a branch to create a PIN.
  6. For online use, you’ll still use your card number. Security will be the same as when you used your old card, so take the same precautions.
  7. Rollout is gradual. So if you haven’t received chip card replacements for all of your debit and credit cards yet, don’t worry. Many merchant terminals are still being updated following the Liability Shift in Oct. 2015. Navy Federal will complete distribution of chip-enabled credit cards in 2016 and chip-enabled debit cards in early 2017. 
  8. Pay-at-the-pump chip technology will be delayed. Due to the complexity of replacing card-reading units at gas pumps, you’ll still use your magnetic stripe to pay.
  9. Shared cards may become separate. Some issuers may provide joint cardholders with unique card numbers. For Navy Federal personal credit cards with multiple users, the primary cardholder will retain the account number, while joint owners and authorized users will be issued new, unique numbers. For business accounts with multiple users, all cards will be issued new, unique numbers.
  10. Activating your new credit card may deactivate your old card. For Navy Federal members, once you make a purchase with your new credit card, any credit card with the same account number will be deactivated. For your debit card, it will be the same process as current debit card renewal/reissue cycles; the old card will deactivate in roughly 14 days of the new one being sent. Be sure you destory your old cards once your new one activates.