Are Chip Debit Cards Safer?

Why Are EMV Chip Cards So Much Safer Than Magnetic Strip Ones?

December 14, 2017

You might be wondering why stores and payment terminals across the country are now encouraging you to  "insert" instead of "swipe."

“Let me assure you, inserting the chip is worth it for your security," says Bill Kepp, Senior Vice President of Bank Operations at Northwestern Bank.

The small, metallic square available on Northwestern Bank's new chip-enabled Debit Card —  known in the industry as EMV technology — is what sets it apart from previous generations of magnetic stripe Debit Cards.

“The magnetic strips on older cards contain unchanging data, making them prime targets for hackers and counterfeiters who can replicate that data and use it to make several purchases or cash advances before the card can be shut down," Kepp says.

The new chip, on the other hand, creates a unique transaction code that cannot be duplicated. 

“The chip prevents someone from stealing card information from a single point of sale or from the card skimming scams that are running rampant right now,” Kepp says.

as of March 2017, merchants using chip cards saw a 58% drop in counterfeit fraud from the previous year.

While EMV technology won’t prevent data breaches completely, it does make it harder for hackers and criminals to benefit from what they steal. In fact, as of March 2017,merchants using chip cards saw a 58 percent drop in counterfeit fraud from the previous year.

However, Kepp cautions that consumers still need to be careful about what they purchase online, what websites they buy things from, and suggests that consumers monitor their accounts frequently via online/mobile banking. After all, much of the fraudulent activity takes place online occurs regardless of which type of card is used.

“As big of a change as the smart chip is, it’s only the beginning,” Kepp says. “Payment technology continues to get more and more secure as card companies and merchants try to stay ahead of criminals.”

Northwestern Bank has always been committed to protecting their customers from fraudulent activity.

“We don't see a lot of fraud,” Kepp adds. “This is in large part due to our team of specialists in place who provide education on fraud prevention, and we have a fraud detection service that monitors for unusual activity. Upgrading to the chip cards increases consumer security while giving them a payment method that is accepted around the world — even more widely than the mag stripe.” 

NWB customers can now expect to see chip technology on their Debit Cards as they are replaced over the next two years.


Refer to our Chip Debit Card FAQ page to find an answer, or contact Northwestern Bank today.