Credit Cards

Tips, news, reviews, caveats, trends, updates and analysis related to consumer and business credit cards, and prepaid debit cards. From the interest rate specialists @ FedPrimeRate.com

Monday, December 14, 2015

Where's My Smart Card?

Citi MasterCard with PayPass Sticker
Citi® MasterCar®d with PayPass® Sticker
I was so envious reading about people getting their new smart credit and debit cards from card issuers, and I was starting to wonder why the banks I deal with hadn't sent me new smart cards automatically (smart card, also known as smart chip cards, EMV cards and chip-enabled cards.)

The tiny chips in smart cards work together with smart-card terminals to create a unique and secure transaction at the point of sale, which makes shopping with these cards much safer than cards that only have a swipeable magnetic strip. 

I'm not interested in having a radio-frequency identification (RFID)-enabled chip in my credit and debit cards, because of this, but I am interested in upgrading to smart credit and debit cards without the RFID.

OK, so it seems that banks like +Citi® have figured how to keep wary cardholders like yours truly happy by separating the RFID from the EMV, via a sticker (pictured, top left.)  You can attach the sticker to your smart phone, or to your credit or debit card, or to anything you'd like to use for contactless payments (like your car's key fob.)  This system lets cardholders use contactless payment technology (either RFID or near-field communication [NFC]) if they want to, and opt out very easily if they don't.


I Just Ordered My Citi EMV Card

With my Citi Dividend World MasterCard®, I clicked the Account Management link in the top left navigation bar, which took me to a page where I found a link for Replacement Card/Chip Upgrade.  Alternatively, I could have waited for my current card to expire, at which point Citi would have sent me a new smart card automatically.

I'm looking forward to the arrival of this smart credit card, as it means no more handing over my card to strangers who may do bad things with it while it's away from my eyes.


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Note that:

  • Even with smart cards that have no RFID technology in them, the system can still be hacked, but it's still much safer than the fading standard of magnetic-strip swiping.

  • I've read of people complaining that they can't execute a convenient cash withdrawal on top of a purchase when using their smart debit card.

  • Also heard that some merchants are rejecting the old magnetic-strip cards now, because if the transaction turns out to be fraudulent, it's likely that the merchant will have to eat 100% of the cost, whereas before the cost would often be shared between the card issuer and the merchant.

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