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Chip-Protected Debit Cards Are Here. What You Need To Know.

Alerus | JUN 07, 2016

Answering Common Chip Card Questions

To help protect your against fraud, we're happy to let you know that we've added an additional layer of security to our debit cards - a computer chip. You may have heard about this technology before, as it's been used in other countries for many years, but it's just now making it's way to the U.S. Terms like chip card, smart chip card, and EMV card all refer to the same thing: a new card with an embedded chip to enhance security. 

If you have questions about the new cards, you certainly aren't the only one. As American banks reissue their cards, a few common questions have come up. We try to answer some of them in this post. We also invite you to view our debit card page for additional general information about our cards.

Helpful Info For Businesses:    Visa Info on Business Owner Responsibility

Common Questions from Individuals and Businesses

Are chip cards really safer? Yes they are, for two reasons. For one, they make your card harder to counterfeit. And two, instead of transmitting your card information to the merchant when you make a purchase, chip cards transmit a unique code that hackers can't use even if they find it. Stealing these codes is essentially like stealing an expired password.

How do I recognize a chip card? Look for a thumbnail-sized metallic square on the face of your card. That square is the chip. If the chip isn't there, then your bank is still in the process of issuing replacement cards.

How do I use these cards? You'll no longer swipe your card. Instead, you'll insert your card into a slot in the bottom of the card reader, then follow the instructions on screen. Some transactions require you to enter a PIN, others require a signature, and some will not require either. Leave your card in the slot until you're prompted to remove it. 

What about buying things online or by phone? The chip cards don't change the way you make purchases on the Internet or the phone, only in stores.

How are chip cards used at ATMs? The process is essentially the same as making a purchase. Simply insert the card and follow the instructions. You'll need a PIN number. Once your transaction is complete, the ATM will release your card and your cash and you'll be on your way.

What if a store doesn't have a chip-enabled terminal? U.S. chip cards still come with the magnetic stripe, so you'll be able to swipe the card if needed. When a chip card is swiped, the protection of the chip does not kick in.

What protections are there if a card is lost or stolen and used fraudulently? All cards issued by Alerus come with "zero liability protection," which means cardholders are not held liable for unauthorized transactions if a card is stolen, lost, or used fraudulently. Make sure to promptly report a lost or stolen card or any suspicious transactions by contacting us

More questions? We'd be happy to hear from you and answer any other questions you might have about the Alerus chip-enabled debit cards. Just give us a call at 888.409.5375 to speak with our customer service representatives. 

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Alerus offers a wide variety of checking account options for customers in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Arizona.

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