Chip Card Deadline Approaching – What It Means for You!

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Have you noticed new chip-enabled versions of your credit cards coming in the mail recently?

This is good news for folks who travel abroad!  It means most major US-issued cards now come with an EMV chip (or will very shortly).  And chip-enabled cards are far more widely accepted overseas.

I’ll explain the real reason the banks are mailing these cards with built-in chips.

Chip Card Deadline Approaching What It Means For You

After October 1, 2015, Liability for Fraudulent Transactions Will Land on Merchants and Card Issuers Who Haven’t Adopted Chip Technology

And I’ll show what it means for you!

What’s the Deal?

Link:   8 FAQs About EMV Credit Cards

Link:   Do You Really Need a Chip & Signature Card in Europe?

Link:   Do Chip & Signature Cards Really Work in Europe?

Link:   Why You Need a Chip-and-PIN Credit Card to Get Gas in Iceland

After October 1, 2015, if your card is lost or stolen, the liability for fraudulent transactions made with your card will shift from the card issuer to the merchant if the merchant does not have EMV chip-reader technology.

And liability falls on the card issuer such as AMEX, Chase, Citi, etc. (subject to your card’s terms & conditions) if they haven’t updated their card with a chip, but the merchant has upgraded their systems.

So merchants and card issuers are scrambling to meet this “liability shift” deadline.  That’s why you may have noticed updated versions of your credit cards arriving in the mail recently!

Chip Card Deadline Approaching What It Means For You

Most Major Banks Are Upgrading Their Credit Cards to EMV Chip Technology

From that date, fraudulent transactions made with a credit card will be the responsibility of the merchant if they haven’t upgraded their systems to accept chip-enabled cards.  Currently, it’s the responsibility of the card issuer (subject to the card’s terms & conditions).

That said, most US-issued cards have chip-and-signature technology, which means you’ll still often have to sign a credit card slip to complete the transaction.

Chip Card Deadline Approaching What It Means For You

Most US Cards Will Now Have a Chip, but You’ll Usually Still Have to Sign

Other countries use chip-and-PIN cards, which require you to enter a PIN (much like a debit card) to approve the transaction.  It’s even more secure.

Note:  If you notice fraudulent activity on your account, the procedure to report it is the same.  Contact your card issuer immediately by calling the number on the back of your card, and they’ll start an investigation.  You do NOT have to pursue the merchant.

1.   More Acceptance Abroad

It’s nice to see chip cards finally gaining acceptance in the US, because most other areas, including Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Asia, have been using this technology for several years!

While most overseas merchants accept cards without a chip, you may require a chip-enabled card for automated payment kiosks, train ticket & parking ticket dispensers, or vending machines.

Chip Card Deadline Approaching What It Means For You

Buying a Train or Bus Ticket Overseas? You Might Need a Chip-Enabled Card

Some of these (like gas stations I used in Iceland) will require a PIN.  There are no major US-issued rewards cards that are truly chip-and-PIN, but the Barclaycard Arrival Plus will default to chip-and-PIN if chip-and-signature isn’t available.

Read my post on chip-and-PIN cards in Iceland for instructions on how to set up your Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard PIN!  (And to learn what happened when I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred!).

Note:   Chase says effective July 2015, the PIN-requirement at unattended kiosks is (usually) no longer a problem:

As of July 2015, unattended kiosks that accept Visa/MasterCard should now accept payment with or without PIN according to their new guidelines.  If a merchant/kiosk asks you for a PIN, first verify that Visa/MasterCard are accepted.  If so, you may be able to select one of the following to bypass the PIN prompt: “Cancel,” “Enter” or “Continue.”  If the card reader still will not accept your card without a PIN code, there may be staff in the area to assist you.  Otherwise, local currency may be needed in this situation.

If you’ve been overseas recently and successfully used a chip-and-signature card at an unattended kiosk, please share your experience in the comments!

2.   Better Security at Home

Chip-enabled cards are more secure than the magnetic-swipe cards we’re used to.  They’re harder to counterfeit or copy information from.  So this is a good thing!

Don’t forget to activate your new chip-enabled cards and discard your old ones!

If your card has a chip, you may be prompted to insert it at the bottom of the card reader when you make a purchase.  Leave the card inserted until the machine tells you the transaction is approved.

Chip Card Deadline Approaching What It Means For You

Some Merchants May Prompt You to Insert or “Dip” Your Card Instead of Swiping It

That said, even if a merchant has upgraded their systems to accept chip cards, you’ll still be able to swipe your card if it’s not chip-enabled.

You can read Chase’s page about new chip-enabled cards for more information.  And here are step-by-step instructions on how to use your new chip cards.

Bottom Line

October 1, 2015, is the deadline for banks and merchants to upgrade to credit card EMV chip technology.  EMV chip-enabled cards are more secure and reduce the risk of fraud.

From this date, if a merchant hasn’t upgraded their systems to accept chip-enabled cards, they’ll be liable (instead of the card issuer) for fraudulent transactions.

This is good news for cardholders, because it improves the security of credit card transactions.  And because most major credit cards will now come with a chip, they’ll be easier to use in some places overseas, like train ticket dispensers or vending machines.

Do you like your new chip-enabled cards?  And please share if you’ve recently used them overseas at unattended kiosks!

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12 responses to “Chip Card Deadline Approaching – What It Means for You!

  1. I am surprised that Citi still has not adopted the embedded chip technology on their Prestige card.

  2. Oops. I take that last comment back. It’s on the backside of my card.. 🙂 Silly me. I didn’t notice.

  3. The way these cards works, by the way, is by a hierarchical verification priority that is preset on each card, from the card issuer: chip + pin, chip + signature, some have both options.

    For instance, a card that is set as 1) chip-and-signature 2) chip-and-pin will first try to pay with chip + signature, if that can’t go through for some reason, it will try to pay with chip + pin, assuming the terminal has the options turned on.

    In the US, most all cards and terminals will continue to have the old fashion magnetic stripe as a payment option, so if the chip payments fail or if the terminal is not turned on for that, you can still pay by swiping it.

    Some retailers though, like Target, have already set their terminals to recognize a chip card and if present, to not accept a mag stripe payment; if you swipe a chip card it makes you insert the card for the chip to be read, by prompting a message on the customer terminal. Other retailers still process the payment when you swipe the card even if the chip setting of the terminal is turned on and the card is a chip (EMV) one.


  4. @darius how does this affect the use of gift cards?

  5. I just got back from a trip to the EU. Before I left I could not get my banks to issue any PINS for my chip-enabled credit cards. They told me that “chip-signature” was “more secure” … seriously WTF. Anyway, not having a chip-pin card in the EU means you get looked at funny for every transaction, and will be denied sometimes when trying to use the card and/or asked to show ID. On top of that I found any automated machine would not take the card and just cancel the transaction.

    Why are we being denied the technology in the US? It doesn’t make any sense. If I want a PIN for my card, why won’t the CC’s let me have one? /rant

  6. Agree, why is the US so intent on chip+signature. Luckily, my Barclay credit cards have chip+pin so they worked great while I traveld in Europe this past summer. Arrival+ worked perfectly at train/bus kiosks and merchants all through Europe.

  7. Because US thinks they are the best in everything and don’t give a f*** about what other countries are doing. Take the New York City Metro Card for example, Hong Kong was already using Octopus card 18 years ago, yet we still have those pathetic magnetic swipe cards that don’t swipe correctly 50% of the time.

  8. I’ve started receiving Chip-&-Pin cards from most of my (US) card providers including Chase, Discover and HSBC. I requested and received a PIN number for my HSBC Platinum Mastercard and with its “no foreign transaction fee” policy, I used it throughout my travels in Italy with no problems (even when I forgot my PIN, I’d simply tell the merchant that my card had no PIN and the transactions went through just fine).

  9. Just got back from London and I can confirm that you can use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with chip WITHOUT a pin at the unattended kiosks where you can replenish your Oyster card balance. It worked fine every single time.

  10. Just returned from Madrid and Paris. Unsuccessful use of Citi Prestige (Chip + Signature) card at Madrid Metro automated ticket machine. (It was subsequently processed fine with a booth agent and my signature.) Successful use of Citi Prestige at Paris Metro/RER automated ticket machine. (No PIN/bypass needed.)

    Overall, having to sign to use the card wasn’t a problem. Dozens of purchases. Nobody ever asked for ID. The only hassle (as was mentioned in a previous comment) was that retailers couldn’t understand where the chip was located on the Citi Prestige. (I think it’s an attractive design but not very commonplace.)

  11. This is absolute bunk for security (at least in the US). Nobody anywhere actually checks a signature. So maybe with the chips, it’s harder for someone to hack a POS terminal and get CC info, but this doesn’t stop someone from stealing your card and using it.

  12. @Yvette, while many US cards now have the EMV chip, the vast majority of them do not offer Chip-and-Pin as a mode of transaction. There are a handful of them that do so, Prepaid REDcard being the only major Amex card that I know of which offers both Chip-and-Pin and no foreign transaction fees. For more info on EMV chip card features take a look at