The new credit card you received from GenFed looks a little different than the one you currently are using. You’ll notice a small “chip” embedded in the plastic. Old cards that don’t have the chip use a magnetic strip on the back to permanently store your financial information, making it an easy target for data thieves. Forty-seven percent of the world’s credit card fraud occurs in the U.S. As more consumers use the new chip cards this percentage should decrease.

The chip in an EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) card creates a unique transaction code that can’t be used again. So if a hacker should steal the chip information from a transaction, it would be useless because the transaction code is only valid for a single use.

Here’s what you need to know about the new cards, according to the consumer engagement editors at the Credit Union National Association:

• The new cards work exactly the same, but now they come with an integrated microchip that helps protect your financial information at chip-enabled terminals.

• Chip cards are the new security standard worldwide.

• Card issuers have discretion about whether they’ll require you to use a signature when making payments or to use a PIN (personal identification number). GenFed will require a signature with credit card transactions.

• The transaction process will be slightly different. You’ll insert your EMV card in a POS terminal, wait for it to be authorized, and remove it. You’ll either sign a sales draft or key in your PIN to complete the transaction.

• Other countries likely will stop accepting mag stripe cards after a certain date. You’ll need an EMV card when traveling abroad, and international travelers in the U.S. will have the additional protection against counterfeit that EMV cards afford.

• It’s possible that some merchants and card issuers may choose not to convert and will continue to use mag stripe technology for a time. Your card still will work at the checkout and consumers will continue to be protected from fraud liability.

GenFed Mastercard