A Lesson about your Visa Card

Did you know the chip on the front of your Visa card is there as a means to prevent fraudulent use?

Before chip cards—more commonly known as EMV cards—were introduced in 2015, customers made purchases by swiping the magnetic-strip on the back of their card. With that method you swiped your card and the payment processor read the magnetic strip and matched the information to your bank account. The problem was that once the transaction was completed, your information stayed unchanging within the processor, making it easy for fraudsters to access your information and clone it onto a new fraudulent card.

Now, due to a sophisticated encryption built right into the chip, the ability to duplicate a card is extremely difficult. The data within the chip is constantly changing, scrambling the card number, expiration date, and CVV code.

You might be wondering, why does this matter? Let us explain.

Picture this: You’ve spent the majority of your day shopping and decide to get a quick bite to eat before heading home. You go to pay and the cashier tells you that their chip reader is down, so you’ll have to swipe your card. You do as your told and suddenly, you card is declined on a $6 purchase. Why?

To put it simply, Signature Visa Cards have an additional security measure in place. This means that if your credit card has a chip and the payment processor is chip capable, you must use the chip to complete your transaction.

This security measure is in place because if/when a fraudster gains access to credit card information on the dark web, that information is then used to create a duplicate fraudulent card. Fraudsters have not found a way to duplicate a chip, so the person using the fake card will ask the cashier if the card can be swiped rather than inserting the chip because “the chip isn’t working”. Without this additional security, the transaction will go through successfully.

There are two options consumers can choose when the chip reader is down:

  1. Ask the cashier to key in your card number
  2. Call the number on the back of your Visa card, and we temporarily exempt you from the authorization restriction. By doing this you are now able to either swipe or insert your chip.

We encourage you to register your Signature Visa credit or debit card with the My Card Rules app. You can receive push notifications for purchases, freeze/unfreeze your card in the event it is lost or stolen, and even set International card preferences for travel.

We understand the frustration of sometimes not being able to use your card the way you intended, but we are trying to help keep your account safe and minimize fraud.