Starting in November of 2015, Pen Air members began receiving new chip debit card to replace their magnetic-stripe cards. We hope you’ll agree that using your new card for purchases and ATM transactions is just as easy and convenient. So why did we make the change?How chip cards work vs. magnetic strip cards

Chip cards are the secure international standard.

You may hear chips referred to as “EMV technology.” That stands for “Europay, MasterCard, and Visa.” In 1996, those three payment companies formed EMVCo with the purpose of developing and rolling out the new technology (which French banks began testing in 1984) across Europe. Today, EMV is a global payment technology standard.

After 2014’s data breaches at Target, TJ Maxx, Home Depot and other huge customer databases, the need for better consumer data security became glaringly urgent. On October 1, 2015, card-issuing banks entered into an agreement under which liability for fraudulent transactions would fall to the party who is the least EMV-compliant. Chip technology was off and running in the US.

Inside the card: How EMV chip technology works.

Pen Air converted all our cards to EMV back in November 2015. For you as a consumer, the only real difference has been that you insert your chip card into the payment terminal at checkout, instead of swiping it. You still have to enter your PIN to authorize the transaction. What happens between your card and the terminal is what makes your chip card more secure.

The data on your old card’s magnetic stripe doesn’t change—so if your card is stolen, that data can still be read and used to make purchases in your name.

But the data on your new card’s chip changes every time you make a purchase at a terminal. The chip creates and stores a one-time authorization code with each transaction. If your card falls into the wrong hands and a hacker tries to use one of those codes, the transaction will be will denied.

Chip cards can provide added security, too.

The fact that data can be written on the chips provides further peace of mind. Properly programmed, your chip card can decline foreign transactions, decline payments greater than an amount you specify, or disable itself if you report it missing.

Chipping into the future.

You’ve probably had to use the magnetic stripe on your card now and then, at retailers who haven’t upgraded their payment terminals. Stripes WILL be phased out, but it’s hard to say precisely when. Upgrading those terminals is a pricey proposition (especially for mom-and-pop stores but, until they do, they face fraud liability risk until their terminals are chip-ready.

EMV chip technology is evolving in another cool way: faster touch less transactions that won’t require you to insert the card—just tap and go!

Remember: You STILL play an important role in data security.

Even when you’re using an EMV chip card, it’s still critical that you always take steps to protect yourself against credit card fraud. If your debit card is lost or stolen, call Pen Air immediately at (850) 505-3200. Your nearest Pen Air branch can issue a new debit card immediately (replacement credit cards will be mailed). We also invite you to read our FAQ about chip cards.

One more chip-card bonus for Pen Air members: Purchase Rewards!  It’s the super-easy way to get cash back when you shop with your card.