Members of First Service Credit Union, one of Houston’s largest financial institutions, are receiving the new generation of chip-enabled debit and credit cards. The credit union is issuing the cards, which promise greater security and less card fraud. All members will receive the new chip card by early December, so they will be able to use during the Christmas shopping season.
Financial institutions in Houston and elsewhere will be migrating to these new cards this fall and into 2016, but First Service is striving to be an “early adopter” of the new, technologically advanced cards, said David Bleazard, President of First Service Credit Union.
The new First Service cards retain the familiar magnetic stripe along with the chip, so that they can be used at any retailer, whether the business has new card readers or old ones. It also allows card holders to readily use the cards when traveling abroad, since chip cards are now the international standard in secure transactions.
“We wanted to put these new cards into our members’ hands as early as possible, so they can start to benefit,” Bleazard said. “Anywhere that retailers have implemented the new chip card readers, our members will be able to take full advantage of their new cards.”
The cards, known in the industry as “EMV” cards, contain a small computer chip that makes a credit or debit card nearly impossible to counterfeit. That feature is expected to significantly reduce card fraud by identity thieves.
First Service is emphasizing to members that they have to start to modify the way they use the chip card when they encounter new card readers. Eventually, it will no longer be necessary to “swipe” the card; instead, the card will be placed in the new reader for a couple of seconds until the reader captures all the card information. Swipes will be necessary for older readers, however.