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Kalamazoo College
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Chip & Pin Cards

1.     What is a chip and PIN credit card?

A chip and PIN card is a credit card that includes microchip technology and a personal identification number (PIN) to securely verify a cardholder during a transaction.  The embedded microchip is encrypted and the cardholder must enter his/her PIN for each transaction to be approved if the transaction is processed through a chip payment terminal that requires a PIN.

The PIN will take the place of a signature at merchant locations that provide chip payment terminals that require PINs.  A chip and PIN card also has a magnetic stripe on the back of card so your transactions can continue to be processed as signature transactions at merchant locations that have not yet been equipped with new chip payment terminal technology.           

2.     Why did you send me a new chip and PIN card?

Although signature-based transactions continue to be the most common type of transaction in the United States, many other countries are switching to chip and PIN cards.  Upgrading your magnetic stripe card with the new chip and PIN card technology is one way we can help enhance your purchase experience when you are traveling outside the United States.

3.     What are the benefits of my new chip and PIN card?

Chip and PIN credit cards are more convenient when traveling abroad, especially when using the chip card at unattended kiosks, such as at train stations or gas pumps that will only accept a PIN to validate a transaction. Additionally, the embedded microchip in the card helps protect cardholders from fraudulent activity because the microchip is extremely difficult to copy and the PIN validation requirement enhances security of the card if it is lost or stolen.

4.     What does a chip and PIN card look like?

Many features of a chip and PIN card are the same as a magnetic stripe card. Both cards are embossed on the front with the card number, cardholder name and expiration date and provide the three-digit security code on the back of the card. The key difference is the silver colored embedded chip on the front left side of the card.

5.     I’ve never heard of a chip terminal before. Is this something new?

Today, the United States has very few chip-enabled terminals. Within the next year or two, chip-enabled terminals will become more prevalent across the country. Around the world, chip technology has been used for many years to help protect cardholders from fraudulent activity.    

6.    My card expired and a new card was sent to me.  Will my pin number change?

 No, you will have the same pin number each time your card is replaced.

7.    What if I forget my PIN or don't like the one assigned to me?

If you attempted your PIN incorrectly three times your card will become blocked and if you do not remember your blocked PIN, please contact the number on the back of your chip card and select “Forgotten PIN” from the IVR menu. You will be required to answer security questions about your card account prior to selecting a new PIN.

Thereafter, you will select a new PIN for your chip and PIN card by completing the remaining prompts in the reset process.

For first time usage after obtaining your new PIN, you will need to insert your chip card at a merchant that has a chip-enabled terminal (do not use the chip card for the first usage at an unattended kiosk or unmanned chip terminal).

When prompted for your PIN, you may need to enter your new PIN up to three times before it will sync up to your chip card. You will receive a message on the terminal that you are entering an invalid PIN. On the next PIN attempt (possibly your fourth attempt), your new PIN should work properly. If it does not, you should contact the number on the back of the card.