Dipping your chip isn’t just about salsa anymore. It’s the latest mode of credit and debit card use, and it should make you less vulnerable to theft.
You’ve probably noticed the small computer chip (sometimes called an EMV chip for Eurocard, MasterCard, Visa) embedded in the front of credit and debit cards issued in the past year or so. Learning to use it may take a little practice, but it should become second-nature soon enough.
How it works: Instead of swiping the magnetic strip on the back, you will insert the card into a slot – a practice called dipping – usually faceup. Leave it there; you need to give the computer in the register and the chip in your card a chance to have a little talk.
There will be some prompts on the screen, asking you, for one, to verify the amount of the transaction. For now, you will most likely need to sign, just as you have been with the old cards. The technology is moving toward using a PIN instead of signing, but that’s likely a couple of years away, at least in the United States.
Once the transaction is over, remember to take your card back. The whole process may take a little longer than swiping the magnetic strip, but not too much longer. If you’re still confused, Chase Bank has posted a helpful video demonstrating how it works. (The process is the same no matter who issues the card).
Other ways of using cards, like giving your number over the phone or online, won’t change. You’ll still need the number, expiration date and the code on the back, just as you do now.