Home > News > There Could Be Something Hidden Inside Your New Debit Card

Comments 0 Comments

If you have a Bank of America debit card, you might soon get an upgraded piece of plastic. While many Bank of America credit cards are already enabled with chip-and-PIN technology, the company announced Sept. 30 that all its new and reissued debit cards will contain integrated circuit cards also known as chips. Given the rate of data breaches, you might get one of these new cards before your current one expires (not that you’d want that to happen, but it’s how things are going these days).

A little bit about chip-and-PIN: To use a card with this technology, you dip the card into a payment terminal, which reads the chip and asks for your personal identification number (PIN) to validate the transaction. Global card issuers and merchants have widely adopted this technology, which has been hailed as a way to improve America’s data breach problem, but there’s a big obstacle in the way of chip-and-PIN success: Many U.S. merchants aren’t equipped to read such cards.

Most cards with chip-and-PIN (also called EMV — Europay, MasterCard, Visa — which is the global standard for this technology) have the good old magnetic stripe on the back, so cardholders don’t have to worry about finding retailers capable of processing EMV transactions.

Bank of America is adding the chips to all consumer and small business debit cards starting this month. All new cards will contain the chips, and existing cardholders will receive the upgrade when their cards expire (or need to be replaced), according to a news release from the company. Bank of America has been adding EMV to consumer, commercial and corporate credit cards since 2012, and about 17 million to 20 million EMV cards were in U.S. consumers’ wallets at the end of 2013, according to the EMV Migration Forum. It’s expected that another 100 million cards will have been issued by the end of this year.

Requiring a PIN to complete a transaction has been found to significantly curb credit and debit card fraud, though there are some weaknesses in that security, like if a terminal’s chip reader has been disabled and the processing defaults to the magnetic stripe. Still, EMV cards are more expensive to produce, making them less appealing to people who buy stolen credit card data and manufacture fake cards.

There’s no question fraud-prevention technology needs to evolve in the U.S., but on the way to more secure payments systems, you have to be your own protector and monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity. Checking bank accounts on a regular basis helps stop fraud, and regularly reviewing your credit scores (you can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com every 30 days) could also alert you to suspicious activity on your accounts.

More on Credit Reports and Credit Scores:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team