EMV® Chip Card FAQs

EMV Overview

What is an EMV chip card?

Developed by EuroPay, MasterCard®, and Visa® (EMV), these next-generation cards include an integrated microchip to enhance security and make transactions quick and easy. This technology has been used in other parts of the world—particularly in Europe—for many years and has proven successful in reducing credit card fraud. As the transition in the U.S. continues to the new cards, the industry is embracing the term “chip card” and the way consumers use them is to “dip” their card. We will be referring to EMV cards as “chip cards” in all Heartland communication.


How does the chip card enhance security?

Chip cards enhance security in several ways, including:

  • The integrated microchip securely stores information about the cardholder and account.
  • Chip cards assign a unique one-time-use cryptogram to each transaction.
  • Unlike magnetic stripe cards, chip cards are virtually impossible for criminals to copy.

Do chip cards prevent all fraud?

We employ the latest technology and processes to keep our customers’ transactions safe. Though chip cards offer another layer of security, they will not prevent all credit card fraud. All credit cards—whether magnetic stripe or chip—can be exposed to fraud, including:

  • Outside data breaches
  • Unauthorized use of lost or stolen cards

However, the microchips embedded in chip cards make it more difficult to perpetrate some types of fraud. For example, the illegal collection of data using a device connected to ATM and credit card terminals—known as ‘skimming’—is virtually impossible with chip cards.


Are chip cards more secure than magnetic stripe cards?

Both types of cards offer protection against unauthorized use, but chip cards offer an additional layer of security. Every transaction made with a chip card generates a unique one-time-use cryptogram and the embedded microchip makes chip cards virtually impossible to counterfeit.


What if my chip card is lost or stolen?

You will need to follow the same procedure as you would for any lost or stolen card by contacting us as soon as possible to prevent unauthorized purchases. Please call 866.260.8708 to report lost or stolen cards.


What type of information is stored on a chip card?

Chip cards will contain the account information needed to process transactions. No other personal information is stored on the card and it does not allow for location tracking.


Can the new chip card be used everywhere?

Merchants across the U.S. are installing chip card terminals and the technology is expected to become standard in the coming years. In the meantime, our customers will be able to use their new card anywhere that accepts debit or credit.

Outside of the U.S., chip card holders will find it even easier to make purchases. Many overseas merchants have already transitioned from traditional cards to chip cards. Chip-and-Signature cards should be readily accepted where the transaction is being completed with personal interaction such as hotels and restaurants. Chip-and-PIN cards may be needed when making purchases from kiosks at places such as train terminals.


Will it cost more to use a chip card?

No. Your new chip card will have the same—if any—fees as their current card.


Will the new chip card have the same benefits as the old card?

Yes. Your card benefits will not change.


Will the new card look different?

Your new chip card will look the same as the card you have been using, with the addition of a small microchip visible on the front. The new card will also have a magnetic stripe, like your current/old card, which can be swiped at merchants that have not yet upgraded to chip card terminals.


How can the new chip card be used?

Chip cards can be used for all the same transactions you currently do; including in-store, online and over-the-phone purchases. The steps for using a chip card at an in-store terminal or ATM are slightly different than how they currently swipe, but are easy to learn. On-screen prompts will guide you through the process.



In-Store Purchases

How do I use the new chip card for in-store purchases?

The new chip card will work the same as the card you’ve been using, with some additional options.

  • For use at chip-card-enabled terminals, you will insert your card into a special slot—where it will remain until the transaction is complete.
  • If a merchant has not yet upgraded to chip card terminals, they’ll swipe the card's magnetic strip as typically done in the past.

What are the steps to make a purchase at an in-store chip-enabled terminal?

Chip-enabled terminals have a slot to insert the card. The chip card will remain in the terminal until the transaction is complete.

  1. Insert the card face-up and chip first in the slot at the front of the terminal.
  2. Customers will then authenticate their purchase by signature as instructed by the terminal.
  3. The card needs to be left in the slot until the terminal confirms that the transaction is complete and then it can be removed.

How will I know if I should swipe my card or insert it in the payment terminal?

Chip-enabled terminals look similar with the addition of a slot to insert your card. The slot will most often be at the bottom of the terminal.

If it’s not clear whether a terminal is chip enabled, insert your chip card in the slot to complete the transaction. If the terminal has not been activated to accept chip cards, it will prompt you to swipe their card instead, or the cashier might instruct you to do so.


What if I try to swipe my card at a chip-activated terminal?

The terminal will recognize your chip card and on-screen prompts will instruct you to insert your card in the slot to complete the transaction.


What if I try to insert my card into a chip card terminal that has not yet been activated?

The terminal will provide on-screen prompts instructing you to swipe the card’s magnetic strip.


What if a merchant doesn’t have updated chip card terminals?

The new chip card will still have a magnetic stripe. Simply swipe and complete your transaction as you always have.



ATM Transactions

How will I know if an ATM accepts chip cards?

Chip-enabled ATM machines look just like any other ATM.

Start your ATM transaction as you normally would. Chip-enabled ATM machines will read your card to determine if it is a chip card. If the ATM recognizes a chip card, on-screen prompts will instruct you how to proceed.


What are the steps for getting cash at a chip-enabled ATM?

  1. Insert your chip card in the ATM as you do now and the terminal will determine whether the card is chip-enabled.
  2. If the card remains visible and you normally remove the card to complete the transaction, you will be prompted to reinsert your card. The ATM will hold your chip card in place until the transaction is complete. Do not try to remove your card during the transaction. Once finished, the terminal will indicate you can remove your card.
  3. If the card does not remain fully visible, a chip-enabled ATM will recognize the chip on the card and use chip technology for the transaction. Complete your transaction as you normally would. Once finished, the ATM will return your card.


Online & Phone Purchases

How do I use my new chip card for online and telephone purchases?

The new chip card will work the same as the card you’ve been using for online and telephone purchases.



Additional Card Usage Questions

What if I don’t yet have a chip card?

Merchants and ATMs will continue to accept magnetic stripe cards.


Will all chip card terminals accept both debit and credit transactions?

As merchants transition to this new technology, the type of transactions accepted might vary from terminal to terminal. For example, you might be able to insert your chip card for credit transactions, but may still be required to swipe for debit transactions. However, during the transition, you will be able to complete both debit and credit purchases everywhere you’re accustomed to, using one of the methods.


How do contactless chip cards work?

Contactless cards use Near-Field Communication (NFC), which transmits data through a radio antenna. Transactions using this type of technology are initiated by tapping the card on, or waving it above, the terminal. Not all chip cards are contactless and not all chip card terminals have NFC capabilities. Cards issued by Heartland will not be contactless.


How do I use new chip cards for mobile purchases?

Mobile technology, which also uses chip technology, is still in development. If you currently use a secure mobile app to turn your enabled cell phone into a payment device, you can simply update your card information and continue using your phone for payments as you do currently.