In a world where keeping your information safe has become the number one priority, it is amazing that the United States has not moved wholesale to chip-and-PIN technology where credit cards are concerned. This chip system eliminates the old fashioned magnetic strip technology and is considered much more secure. Here are some things to consider about this wonderful way of doing business safely:
The primary thing to know about chip-and-PIN technology is that it uses a chip rather than a strip. The difference is that the chip is impossible to get to with readers. You have to stick the card into the reader to actually glean the information. Today’s magnetic strips are being read through our pockets, at gas stations and even at ATMs throughout the United States. This means that our technology is far outdated. Banks now are realizing this stateside and changing over slowly to chip technology. You should ask for one now if you haven’t already.
Another disadvantage of magnetic readers is that most of the world is on the chip now. Europe uses the chip almost exclusively and will usually only process a magnetic strip card on request and with some prodding. Some don’t use the magnetic strip cards at all anymore. This can be a huge problem if you are overseas and don’t have any cash on you.
The only reason that America has dragged their collective feet on changing over to this safer technology is because of costs. Switching means moving to new equipment and plenty of other things. The entire system will have to be overhauled to implement this completely. Despite the costs, we will have to do this soon. Criminals are quickly running through the magnetic strip way of doing business. They can literally steal our identities right out of our wallets without our even taking them out.
If changing to a card that carries a chip rather than a strip can keep our information safe from the criminals, then we should usher in the new era with open arms. They also have a chip-and-sign technology that is similar to the chip-and-PIN technology. The only difference is that you have to sign the receipt rather than put in the PIN number. It will be interesting to see how quickly this technology overtakes the United States. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.