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If you have questions about Visa chip cards, you've come to the right place. See below for answers to commonly asked questions about Visa issuers U.S. chip migration.

Card Overview

What is a Visa chip card?

Chip cards are regular plastic credit or debit cards with an embedded microchip. The chip protects in-store payments because it generates a unique, one-time code that is needed for each transaction to be approved. It is virtually impossible for fraudsters to replicate this feature in counterfeit cards providing greater security and peace of mind when used in-store. A chip card also has a magnetic stripe on the back of the card and may include Visa payWave technology for contactless payments.

Are Visa chip cards new?

Although Visa chip cards are relatively new in the U.S., they have been used elsewhere for many years. In some countries, particularly in Europe, merchants may be more familiar with accepting chip cards than magnetic stripe cards.

When will chip cards be accepted in the U.S.?

Merchants have already begun to deploy chip terminals, so you will see more and more merchants accepting chip cards over the next few years. Magnetic stripe cards will continue to be accepted. Contact your bank now to get more information on Visa chip cards.

Do I need to use a PIN with my Visa chip card?

In most cases, you’ll sign for credit purchases and either sign or enter your PIN for debit purchases — just like you do today. You may not be required to do either for certain types of transactions involving relatively small purchase amounts.

Can I use my Visa chip card for all the same things as my old card?

Yes, you can still make purchases as you always have — by entering the card number online or swiping your card at merchant locations that do not yet have chip readers. You can also continue to use your card at ATMs.

Will a chip card be more expensive for me to use?

Typically, your financial institution will upgrade your card at no cost to you. Please contact your financial institution for details.

Card Usage

Where can I use my chip card?

You can use your chip card anywhere Visa cards are accepted. You can swipe your card just like you do today using the magnetic stripe on the back of the card, if a chip-activated terminal is not yet available. The terminal or the cashier will prompt you to insert and leave the card in the terminal until the transaction is complete if it’s activated for chip.

Can I use a chip card at merchant that hasn’t yet updated their terminal?

Of course, just swipe your card using the magnetic stripe the way you always have. You’re still protected from unauthorized transactions with Visa’s Zero Liability Policy.

Can I still use my card over the phone or online?

Absolutely. Your card will work over the phone and online just like it always has.

What if my chip card doesn’t work when I insert it into the chip terminal?

Some merchants may have chip terminals, but they may not yet be activated to accept chip cards. If you are unable to insert your chip card into a chip terminal, you can always swipe your card to complete the transaction. Most often, merchants that haven’t activated their terminals will block the chip slot.

Why does my chip credit card work at the chip terminal but my chip debit card does not?

Until the technology is available everywhere, chip card acceptance may vary by type of payment card at some merchants. During this transition, you can always swipe your card to complete the purchase. And rest assured, you’re protected with Visa’s Zero Liability Policy.

What happens if I swipe my chip card in a chip-activated terminal?

If the terminal is chip-activated, a prompt on the screen will advise you to insert your card and follow the instructions.

What happens if I insert my chip card in a chip terminal that isn’t activated?

If the terminal isn’t chip-activated, a prompt on the screen will advise you to swipe your card using the magnetic stripe on the back as you do today.

How will I know whether to swipe my card or insert it?

Your card will always work either by swipe or insertion. The terminal or the cashier will prompt you to insert the card into the terminal if it’s activated for chip technology. If the terminal is not yet chip-activated, you can always swipe your card to complete the purchase.

Card Security

Are chip cards safer to use than magnetic-stripe cards?

All Visa cards offer protection from unauthorized use of your card or account information. Visa chip technology offers another layer of security when used at a chip-reading terminal, because it generates a unique, one-time code that is needed for each transaction to be approved. Adding this dynamic element to transactions makes account data less attractive to steal and adds greater security to the payment system.

Can any chip be used for a Visa chip card?

No. Visa will only accept new chip cards for testing if the chip has successfully completed the EMVCo chip hardware security evaluation process and the chip is on the EMVCo approved chip list located at www.emvco.com.

How does the U.S. POS Counterfeit Liability Shift work?

Effective October 1, 2015, Visa’s global POS counterfeit liability shift will be effective in the U.S. With this liability shift, the party that is the cause of a chip transaction not occurring (i.e., either the issuer or the merchant’s acquirer) will be held financially liable for any resulting card present counterfeit fraud losses.

Does the liability shift apply to small ticket and/or No Signature Required (also referred to as Visa Easy Payment Service - VEPS) transactions?

Yes, it applies to all transaction types regardless of cardholder verification method. It is worth noting however that the liability shift pertains only to counterfeit fraud. As with many other regions in the world, Visa is not instituting a lost and stolen fraud liability shift in the U.S.