It feels like just last week I was up in the Catskills enjoying a summer getaway with friends and family, but believe it or not, the holiday shopping season is here. You’ve probably been thinking about what gifts to give everyone on your list, but now it’s time to start shopping in earnest. And when you do, you’ll notice that things are a little different in the checkout line. For the first time ever, many people will be “dipping” instead of swiping their credit cards at the checkout line.
Maybe you’ve already received your chip, or EMV (Europay, Mastercard Visa)-enabled, card from your bank or have already ‘dipped’ your card to make a purchase. But whether you’re new to this or already a seasoned pro, here are some tips I put together with my friends at the American Bankers Association to prepare you to be a star shopper this holiday season.
Tip 1: Why you’re getting a chip now. Banks are continuing to improve credit card security to help protect customers against risks including retailer data breaches. Chip cards do just that by creating a one-time transaction code that can’t be guessed or re-used. If you haven’t received a chip-enabled debit or credit card yet, it’s coming soon. And if you notice a retailer isn’t using chip terminals yet, they might be by your next visit.
Tip 2: You have to dip in order to be protected. If you have a chip-enabled card, the only way to benefit from its security is by dipping – not swiping. Chip cards still have the magnetic stripe for use at businesses that don’t have chip terminals, but they won’t protect against counterfeit fraud if a retailer is breached. How to dip? Just insert your card into the slot and remove it only when the message on the screen indicates to do so. And don’t worry, you won’t forget your card. The machine will beep if the card stays in too long.
Tip 3: Stay calm, you’re not liable. Remember – whether you dip or swipe, you still are not held liable for fraudulent purchases. Until October 1, 2015 banks had been required to pay for credit and debit card fraud. Now, whoever has the oldest technology when counterfeit fraud occurs – bank or merchant – determines who covers the fraud costs. Banks monitor accounts for fraudulent activity, but you should too. If I ever suspect fraudulent purchases on my card, I always reach out to my bank! It’s particularly important to be vigilant during the holidays and monitor your statements closely.
Tip 4: Chips are just one of the ways you’re being protected. Banks are focused on rolling out new and innovative security features, like tokenization, encryption and biometrics to help protect against hackers. If you’re not sure what that means here are some examples of how these work. Tokenization and encryption are particularly helpful when you’re shopping online:
- Tokenization – new technologies available on some smart phones and apps rely on replacing account numbers with a random number at the point of purchase, rendering them useless to thieves.
- Encryption – makes your payment information unreadable as it makes its way from a merchant’s checkout stand to a card network to your local bank, and back.
- Biometrics – facial / voice recognition and fingerprint matching enable consumers to verify transactions.