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Chip Cards

What are chip cards?

A chip card (also known as a smart card) has an embedded microchip. This microchip stores all the data normally stored in a magnetic stripe. When you use a chip card to make a purchase at a chip-enabled card reader, the software on the chip will create a unique one-time code to authorize the transaction: making the card virtually impossible to duplicate. Chip cards have the potential to massively reduce fraud committed with counterfeit cards.

Check out Visa’s page on chip cards to learn more about how they work.

What kind of chip card does Simple offer?

Our chip cards comply with the EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) standard. They also have a magnetic stripe, so you can use them anywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted—even if the merchant hasn’t transitioned to chip cards yet.

The chip cards we offer are chip and signature cards, which will be accepted more reliably by U.S. merchants. You’ll still use your PIN at the ATM or with merchants that are equipped to process PIN transactions.

When will I get mine?

All of the cards we make have a chip in them, so if you open a new account or request a new card, we'll send you a chip card.

If you already have a functioning card (without a chip in it) yet you're eager to get a chip card soon, send us a message through your account. We can order your chip card right away, and your current card will continue to work until the new one arrives and you activate it.

How do I use it?

If the merchant has a chip-enabled card reader, just insert the chip end of your card, leave it there while you complete the purchase (following the prompts on the screen) and remove it when the transaction is complete. Chip card payments take a couple of seconds longer than a card swipe.

Some card readers will ask you to choose between "Visa Debit" and "US Debit". Choose "US Debit" if you'd like to use a PIN for the purchase or you'd like cash back; choose "Visa Debit" if you prefer to sign for your purchases.

If the merchant doesn’t have a chip-enabled card reader yet, you can just swipe as you normally would.

Does this mean I’ll be able to use my card more widely internationally?

These cards will be more familiar to merchants in countries where chip/EMV cards are prevalent, and you should be able to use it more easily than a card without a chip.

There are a few automated terminals overseas that offer offline PIN transactions—a transaction where the terminal isn’t connected to the internet. Our cards won’t support these transactions, so it’s still a good idea to carry some cash when you’re traveling.

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