Sometime in the past year, your credit card company probably sent you a new card -- one with an obvious chip installed on the front. (If you have not received one, don't worry, you will.) The new cards are rolling out to help improve security against fraud by encrypting customer data and by creating a one-time, unique code when used at a chip-enabled register. You'll recognize the chip-card readers as the ones that require the card to be inserted rather than "swiped."
Interestingly, this chip technology isn't actually new: it's been used in more than 80 countries for more than a decade. And while credit card companies are on-board with the chip cards, it's going to take retailers a while to install the chip-enabled readers. No problem, the new cards will work in the old readers just fine.
It all sounds great, but if there's one thing we know about technology, it's that no one is ever prepared to leave 'well enough' alone. That means you probably shouldn't get too emotionally attached to your new chip card just yet, as Visa has recently announced a move to Quick Chip technology. Supposedly checkout scanners can read the Quick Chips in just a few seconds, whereas it takes 15 - 18 seconds to read the "old" new cards.
Hey, anything that gets us through the checkout line a little faster has got to be a good thing, right? How well will these new cards do in protecting our interests? We'll keep you posted as things develop...