The Switch to Chip

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American Express previews their new EMV-enabled credit card, which they claim decreases fraud vulnerability.

Some things have an uncanny ability to take us back to simpler times: record players, typewriters, certain fine pastries, perhaps.

While Proust had his madeleine, all of France has U.S. credit cards. That’s because France, and pretty much the rest of the world’s major economies, has been ahead of U.S. payment technology for decades. This month, we are finally starting to give up our vintage credit cards with only the black, magnetic stripe on the back — the equivalent of a cassette or an 8-track tape — and switching to the “chip card." You may have gotten one in the mail already: they’re the new credit cards with a shiny computer chip on the front.

Also known as "EMV" — short for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, the three companies that created a standard for the chip in the early 90s — the chip card virtually eliminates the possibility of counterfeit card fraud. That's where crooks make a copy of your card, and it’s a kind of fraud that's been consistently growing in one place: the United States. 

Listen to Money Talking producer Julia Longoria as she went to find out what's taken us so long to get on board.