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Chip and PIN (w/ PIN priority)

I've been doing some research and it seems that only one institution in the US offers a true chip and PIN in which the card automatically reverts to PIN as the primary transaction, even if the vendor accepts signatures.

Here is the link.

https://www.unfcu.org/product.aspx?id=385

I think there's a one time fee to join.

I'm trying to find out if my credit union's Chip and PIN is PIN priority.

Posted by
507 posts

Mike,

I am going to try to persuade the bank to make the primary CMV for my travel card the PIN w/signature secondary.

Wish me luck!

Posted by
1976 posts

Is the U.S. actually getting chip and PIN cards this year? I'm reading contradictory information online. According to the Wall Street Journal: "The new EMV credit card system the U.S. is set to migrate to by October, 2015 will use microchip-enabled credit cards, but still allows customers to sign for their payments. Banks can choose to issue cards that require a PIN number instead of a signature, but the switch to PINs will not be required in October 2015 as reported in an earlier version of this article."

http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2014/02/06/october-2015-the-end-of-the-swipe-and-sign-credit-card/

Posted by
507 posts

Sarah,

Bank of America is issuing chip cards (debit & credit). For the credit card one needs to ask for a pin which will be sent under separate cover. Unfortunately the credit card remains a chip 'n signature card. The PIN will come in handy in Europe for kiosks.

I have a name & address of someone to whom I am writing to ask "why" BoA cannot issue true EMV cards w/a PIN as primary validation & signature as secondary validation.

What is the worst that can happen? I get excuses or a run-around. :-)

Posted by
4499 posts

Battling your bank over validation priorities is likely a waste of time. Those types of decisions are made very high up and with lot's a variables.

If your emv (chip) card has a PIN for a secondary validation, it should work in just about every case in Europe. In some cases, you may need to ask your bank about getting a PIN for secondary validation.

Posted by
2811 posts

Collette, I was looking at the BOA web site today to see exactly what's up with their Travel Rewards chip card that I have. I already knew that it's chip and signature rather than PIN, but I also saw that they'll give you a PIN, but it's only good for cash advances, not purchases.

Posted by
1976 posts

So in the case of BoA, at least, it sounds like their credit card will remain a chip and signature for now, with the PIN usable only for cash advances.

Posted by
507 posts

That is if you use the credit card in an ATM. The PIN is needed for kiosks overseas.

The United Nations Federal Credit Union's EMV credit card that Mike in VT posted a link to looks tempting . . .

Posted by
4820 posts

I think the point is that even if you have a card with an EMV chip and a PIN to validate credit transactions, if it is issued in the US, you likely will still be asked for a signature as opposed to a PIN.

The first issue is your card and how the Card Validation Method (CVM) is structured. Your card has several methods arranged in a priority. As an example, your card may have "signature", "Online PIN", "Offline Pin", and "None" as the methods, in that order of priority.

Secondly, the terminal in which you make the transaction makes a difference. If in the above example, it can accept signatures, you will be asked for a signature, even if it is capable of taking a PIN. If it cannot accept signatures, then you will be asked for your PIN, and in some cases, for low dollar transactions, it may not even bother with a validation (the "none" option)

Nearly all "Chip and PIN" cards issued in the US still have "signature" as the top CVM, so there is a pretty good chance that in Europe, you will be asked for a signature with a Chip and PIN card.

The good news though is that just having the chip makes transactions easier, and whether your are then asked for either a signature or PIN is really of no concern. The Benefit comes when no signature is possible (Railroad ticket kiosk, gas pump, etc) and the amount is above what the "none" CVM allows, then you will need the PIN.

So far as asking your card issuer what the priority is, or having them jumble the priority, the word in forums is don't waste your time; and really, as long as you know you have a PIN, it really does not matter.

Posted by
78 posts

Paul said it perfectly. I was obsessed with finding a Chip and PIN priority card, but I've decided it's not worth my time. I'll be using a Chase Sapphire Preferred in Europe. Everyone that I've talked to about this card said that it's quite widely accepted. If I need train tickets, I'm getting them online or at ticket window. Chase and other American banks may move toward a true Chip and PIN in the fourth quarter of this year. Otherwise I may get a Barclaycard Arrival + a few months from now.

Posted by
4499 posts

Chase and other American banks may move toward a true Chip and PIN in the fourth quarter of this year.

No. Almost all American banks are going with signature validation for now. Eventually they may switch over to PIN but that may take years.

Again... It doesn't matter that your primary validation is signature as long as you have a PIN as a secondary validation.

Posted by
1092 posts

I have a true chip and pin card from USAA Bank. When I use it at a store/restaurant that has a chip reader I have never been asked for a signature. Just enter your pin and walk away with your receipt.

Posted by
78 posts

The problem with the USAA cards is that they have a 1% foreign transaction fee. That wipes out the 1.25/1.50% cash back.

What I may do is simply use my Chase Sapphire Preferred everywhere I can, and when I am required to use a C&P card, I'll use my credit union's Chip & PIN (signature priority) card for when I'm in a pinch. It will be nice back up to have anyway since it has a low APR.

Posted by
2039 posts

I don't understand your problem with the USAA cards. Even with a 1% fee on foreign transactions, you are still earning 1.5% cashback on that foreign purchase, that's 1/2% ahead. And that does not consider that you can use that on your regular purchases here, or get their AMEX with chip, that, while only giving 1% back (thus a foreign wash), gets you 2% on groceries and 5% on gas here. The only annoyance I see, and that is minor, is that you only get the cashback credited every January, as opposed to cards that let you request a credit at your option.

Posted by
1 posts

Out of all my chip cards my Wells Fargo Visa is the only Chip + Pin card that I have. Today I downloaded Cardpeek to take a look at its Cardholder Verification Method preferences:

CVM1 - Online PIN, if terminal supports it;
CVM2 - Signature, if terminal supports it;
CVM3 - No CVM required, if terminal supports it;
CVM4 - Encrypted offline PIN, if terminal supports it.

The instructions tell the terminal to cycle through from method one to four in order, if the fourth method fails the transaction is rejected.

While this card uses both online and offline Pin, a lot of payment terminals, such as train ticket kiosks and gas pumps, don't support the enhanced offline encryption required by the card. If the terminal doesn't support this feature then the transaction will be declined because it failed the fourth and final verification method.

Posted by
507 posts

I spoke with someone above the manager of a Bank of America regarding an EMV card. I rec'd a call 3 days later saying BoA is preparing to roll out chip 'n pin cards by the 4th quarter of 2015.

This person sent a letter "up the ladder" suggesting that credit cards being issued now contain as primary validation a PIN, & secondary validation a signature. When the merchants make the change, BoA will be ahead of the 8 ball.

By October all cards will need to be at least chip. A retailer will be responsible for any breach into their computers if they accept just the magnetic strip card. It is the reason retailers are willing to change from "swipe" to "chip" cards

Now one more nudge to get retailers to program their terminals to ask for a PIN for a credit card.

Posted by
4687 posts

I wonder if anyone knows why my new Bank of America ATM/Debit card has a six-contact Chip, and my State Department Federal Credit Union VISA credit card has an eight-contact Chip?

Posted by
4499 posts

Now one more nudge to get retailers to program their terminals to ask for a PIN for a credit card.

EMV capable terminals will work with a PIN. It is the card issuer that programs the chip to either require a signature or PIN. It has nothing to do with the merchant.

Posted by
4820 posts

In response to Tim's question, there are two formats, the six contact chip and eight contact chip. There are also any number of designs of the contacts, but they all break down to 6 or 8 contacts. It is really up to the card issuer which one is used, functionality of the card does not change, and apparently the readers pick up either. Other than that, any advantage of one over the other is not much of a topic. I suspect that there are some features that may be able to be programmed into one or the other by the issuer for their purposes, but from a user standpoint it is transparent.

Posted by
507 posts

Tim,

Check with the bank to see if you can change your PIN to a 4-digit format. I requested a chip debit card to replace the no-chip debit card I was carrying around. BoA allowed me to keep my 4-digit PIN.

I notice my husband's BoA debit card carries a 6-digit PIN, also.

Posted by
4687 posts

It just hit me why American banks have decided to make Chip-and-Signature the priority. It has nothing to do with our refusing to learn another PIN:

It must be that American restaurant lobbyists have suppressed the need to buy multiple, cordless POS terminals like European restaurants have had for years, during the swipe-only decades! They're not willing to pay for them, on the thin profit margins of most restaurants. So we will continue to have our credit cards taken out of our sight for the transaction - with all the opportunities for Swipe-Fraud (I know, I know, NOT Chip-and PIN fraud!) while the card is invisible to us.

The criminals can still swipe the card and clone a swipe card for use at another site.

Posted by
4499 posts

^^ Good point Tim. If PIN is always the priority validation, one must be able to enter then PIN at the terminal. I could see where restaurants would balk at that cost.

The point of EMV cards is that they cannot be duplicated. So the issue of a criminal enterprise duplicating your card isn't realistic. But by making signature the priority validation, it won't prevent people that steal you card from using it until you notify the card holder. Not really an issue for card holders as we've never been on the hook for such charges, but stealing cards will remain an attractive enterprise for thieves. EMV cards will also not prevent online fraudulent use.

Posted by
2039 posts

I will CYNICALLY add an extra idea to that, which I have felt for some time. Every ATM machine in the country will have to be switched out, at the banks' (ignoring the private machines) expense. Not to mention, it's much easier to justify the usurious interest rates when then have to cover the fraud.

Posted by
4499 posts

^^Larry - ATMS will not need to be changed, at least not for the foreseeable future. ATMs will still continue to use a magnetic strip reader, just as they still do in Europe. EMV (chip) cards will all still have a magnetic strip.

Posted by
1 posts

The Sams'Club credit card is Chip-and-PIN, which I verified with the bank.. but now I'm not that certain that it will help since it sounds like there is an order of verification and the Signature might be higher..

I want a card I can use when I arrive in Amsterdam to purchase train tickets from the kiosk (and avoid the line). Sounds like these machines take (European Chip-and-PIN) cards or Euro coin only (no bills). Quite difficult when I also hear there are no change machines in the airport area?!

Any guidance to confirm if this card will work would be appreciated. If it does, thats great because I already have the Sam's Club card!

Posted by
1005 posts

A friend used her Bank of America credit card with a chip in the Dutch train machines last fall. While it would default to requiring a signature in most other transactions, at the Dutch train machines she used her PIN. Good luck.

Posted by
4820 posts

Not sure if this helps or adds confusion....but as I mentioned above, the order of verification methods matters whether you use a pin or sign, but if you have a true Chip and Pin, it really does not matter.

As an example, in a recent trip to Berlin, I used my Corporate Chip and Pin Card...my experience was:

Buying a transit pass at the counter at Tegel...had to sign.

Dinner at Brauhaus George...Had to sign

Brunch at Hofbrau House...used Pin

Dinner at Brauhaus Sudstern...Pin

Dinner at Weihenstephaner Brauhaus...had to sign

(Yes, I ate mainly at Breweries)

Hotel...Had to sign

Overall, even though I had a Chip and pin, since likely signature has priority, if the terminal accepted a signature, I had to sign, otherwise, I used Pin. So if you have a true chip and pin, at an unattended kiosk, you likely will be prompted for a Pin...or even if you have a chip and signature, you may be fine if the terminal accepts "no validation" on small transactions (less than $50)

Posted by
2811 posts

I just used my Andrews FCU chip and PIN card in Canada, and for all shops and restaurants, I had to sign. Then at the gas station, I could use the PIN at the pump.