Chips in cards?

Discuss the Visa & MasterCard payment networks as well as cards that operate through them.
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Chips in cards?

Postby olefaithful » Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:02 pm

I know there is a lot of fuss over having a card with a "chip" but what is it and why is it awesome? It sounds kinda creepy to me, like a constantly on GPS or an easy way for someone to steal your card info, like RFID chips, I think.

Brad Bishop
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Postby Brad Bishop » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:10 pm

From what I've gathered, and others please correct me if I'm mistaken, there are two different types of chips. There's the EMV and then the RF chips. EMV have the little contact-spider thing directly on the card which does some magic to identify you. These are not susceptible to card scanners. Then there are the RF chips (NFC - Near Field Communications) which you can use to just wave over the card reader and have your purchase accepted.

EMV cards are what's used in Europe and they generally do the chip & PIN approach meaning that if you're paying for a meal, the server will bring over a wireless device to both read your card, allow you to enter the PIN, and print you out a receipt.

In the US, EMV seems to be, at least in the first wave, chip & signature cards. This means that you will likely have your card swiped at most places until they upgrade and then sign. At newer places you'll insert your card into a reader, it'll validate the chip, and then you sign or, if under $25 or so, it'll just print you off a receipt.

The RF (radio frequency) cards are where you wave the card near the reader, no direct contact is necessary but it's also not forbidden, and I suppose you either enter a PIN or sign for it, depending on the amount. I've never really experienced these cards. When you see the special wallets to protect you from theft then they are talking about these cards. They don't have a set of exposed contacts but, instead, have a WiFi like icon on the card to indicate it's RF.

With regards to whether it's creepy: It's not. It's really no different than you swiping any traditional cards with regards to who knows what you've purchased. Neither the EMV or the RF card are reporting back to some central location as you walk around. The RF card is susceptible to someone passing by you and waving a reader near your purse or wallet to try to get your card's information. That's about it. A newer wallet should protect you against that. I think that the RF cards are the minority compared to the EMV cards.

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Postby Cre » Thu Dec 25, 2014 11:56 am

Cellphones and Apps are creepy. People have no idea how much of their behavior is being collected by data centers due to the permissions they voluntarily grant to the apps so that they will work. Including taking your picture. And I count myself as one of those dumb people.

Credit cards, by their very nature, with or without a chip, track your movements, as well as your interests, by virture of where and how you use them. Every store. Every online order. Every purchase. Every location.

Christmas music plays.... "They know when you are sleeping... They know when you're awake... They know when you've been bad or good... so be good for goodness sake! You better watch out..."
Current Cards:
AmEx Platinum Charge: NPSL, $450 AF
AmEx Reserve Credit: $30K limit, $450 AF
Chase Slate Visa Credit: $32K limit, No AF
Future Strategy:
Near Term: Need a good MasterCard for places that won't accept AmEx or Visa
Long Term: Will downsize out of one or both current AmEx cards to reduce AFs

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