Chip and PIN cards

Sometimes referred to as a “smart card,” the new CHIP card technology contains an embedded computer chip which stores and processes data. The chip stores encrypted information that is virtually impossible to copy and can be used only when combined with your personal identification number (PIN).

Here’s how it works: the computer chip in your card communicates with the chip terminal where you are making a purchase, validating who you are through your unique PIN. Canadian merchants and card issuers are making the transition to this safer, new payment system over the next several years.

Chip and PIN technology has proven itself as a powerful way to reduce fraud in Canada and other parts of the world. The technology has also contributed to a dramatic decline in skimming, which often depends on continued use of the magnetic stripe technology (where your credit or debit card is swiped in a debit or credit card terminal).

While chip cards have improved security over purely magnetic stripe cards, no technology is 100 per cent invulnerable to fraud, and the mag stripe on a chip card can still be compromised. Always be vigilant about protecting both your cards and your PINs from others.

Complete migration to chip technology in Canada will take several year, and point-of-sale terminals aren’t required to be converted to chip until December 31, 2015. Please note that chip and PIN is not yet available on Prepaid Visa gift cards in Canada.

More information about Chip & PIN Visa cards
More information about Chip & PIN MEMBER CARD® debit cards

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