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Debit Card SAFETY...still IMPORTANT for Chip Cardholders

Identity_Theft_final - 2010 Crime Prevention_Part1.jpgIn an effort to combat debit card skimming and the production of counterfeit cards, Interac Association is transitioning to a new generation of payment card technology, known as chip. Chip technology provides the card with processing power, allowing the card and the terminal to communicate and carry out additional security checks to ensure the card is valid.

Debit cards, ABMs, and store terminals are already being upgraded to chip technology, however given the vast number of debit cards and terminals in the marketplace, the transition will not be competed until 2015.

As a result, magnetic stripe transactions will still continue to take place throughout the transition and it will be important to continue to practice debit card safety routinely, even if you have a chip card. The full security of a chip transaction can only be achieved when a chip debit card is used at a chip-capable terminal. As a result, if you're using a chip debit card at a terminal that is not chip-capable yet, a standard magnetic stripe transaction will take place.

Although 99.99 per cent of magnetic stripe transactions are processed without incident, Interac Association recommends following some important debit card safety tips to protect yourself throughout the transition to chip:

  • Insert First - if you have a chip debit card and are not sure whether the store terminal is chip-capable, insert the card first. If the terminal is not chip capable, it will prompt you to swipe your card. By inserting first, you avoid an unnecessary need to swipe and reduce the potential of being skimmed.
  •  Protect Your PIN - always shield your PIN with your hand or body to prevent someone from stealing your PIN. 
  • Check Your Statements - check your financial statements or online records regularly. If you suspect anything unusual, contact your financial institution immediately. If you are a victim of debit card fraud, you are protected and will be reimbursed by your financial institution. 
  • Memorize your PIN - only you should know your PIN. If you suspect someone knows your PIN, even a friend or family member, change it immediately.
  • Keep Your Card in Sight - Keep your debit card in sight when conducting transactions at the checkout. 
  • Report a Lost Card - Notify your financial institution immediately if your debit card is lost or stolen.

Test your I.Q.:Debit Card Safety
How fraud savvy are you?

March is Fraud Prevention Month, a national awareness program that informs Canadians about the dangers of fraud and how to prevent it. Interac Association, Canada's national debit network, wants to know how fraud savvy you are when it comes to debit cards. Take the challenge!

  1. Debit card skimming is the method that fraudsters use to copy your magnetic stripe information and PIN which is then used to reproduce a counterfeit card and steal money from your bank account.

    RESPONSE: True
    Fraudsters use hidden equipment such as pinhole cameras and card reading devices to obtain your magnetic stripe information and PIN.
  2. Shielding my PIN with my hand or body and checking my statements regularly is the best way to protect myself against debit card fraud.

    RESPONSE: True
    Shielding your PIN is the best way to protect yourself, because without the PIN - the key security feature - a fraudster will have more difficulty accessing your bank account. If you detect anything unusual on your financial statements, contact your financial institution immediately.
  3. It is O.K. to share my PIN with family members.
    Your PIN is the key security feature. Only you should know your PIN. Never disclose your PIN to anyone, not even friends or family. If you suspect somebody knows your PIN, change it immediately.
  1.  I don't need to shield my PIN because fraudsters can't access my bank account if they don't have my debit card.

    Fraudsters use hidden equipment such as pinhole cameras and card reading devices to obtain your magnetic stripe information and PIN, which is then encoded onto a counterfeit card and used to withdraw your funds without your
    knowledge. Shielding your PIN during every transaction will make it more difficult for a fraudster to capture your PIN, and without it, they will not be able to steal money from your bank account.
  2. If I am a victim of debit card fraud, I will be reimbursed by my financial institution.
    RESPONSE: True
    Cardholders are protected and will not suffer financial losses due to circumstances beyond their control.
  3. A chip card is a payment card embedded with a microchip that will provide increased security against card skimming.
    RESPONSE: True
    A chip card is a new generation of payment card technology that will put the power of a computer onto the debit card and provide increased protection against debit card skimming. Chip cards and terminals have started to roll out across Canada and will continue to enter the marketplace over the next several years. 


OACP Crime Prevention Identity Theft

 More information about debit card safety and chip card technology is available online at