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Debit Chip Cards FAQs

Find all the answers you need about Chip Cards.
If you have questions about how your Chip Card works and how it provides an extra layer of protection, read through this section.
Q. Why are we moving to EMV/chip card technology?

A. Beginning October 1, 2015, the Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover rules changed and the party (bank or merchant) with the lowest level of security will be held liable for any fraud. This means merchants (except gas stations – they have until 2017) must begin installing chip-enabled terminals and banks need to begin issuing debit cards and credit cards with a chip in it to personal and business banking customers.

To ensure a seamless rollout of this new EMV/chip-enabled technology at United Bank, we will begin issuing the chip cards to new personal and business banking customers starting February 1. Also at this time we will issue new debit MasterCards to customers whose current card expires in March. Then we will take a phase-in approach by reissuing cards to other existing United Bank customers over the next few months based on their level of card activity. So you can continue to use your existing debit card until your new one arrives and is activated.

We will not be issuing chip-enabled HSA cards at this time.

Q. Are merchants complying with the new rules?

A. Yes. You will see more and more merchants installing the new chip-enabled terminals because historically banks have been responsible for covering most of the cost of counterfeit fraud but now the party with the lowest level of security is held reliable for any fraud.  Larger merchants like Macy’s, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target already have made the switch and it could be sometime before all merchants adopt the new technology.

Q. What is a chip card?

A. Chip cards contain an embedded microchip, which provides enhanced security by making it extremely difficult to counterfeit or copy when making transactions at a chip- enabled terminal. Your chip card will also have the usual magnetic stripe on the back so that you can continue to swipe your debit card or credit card while merchants are transitioning to new chip card terminals. Chip technology is also more broadly accepted internationally.

Q. Is an EMV card the same thing as a chip card?

A. Yes. Chip cards are commonly referred to as EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) cards, smart cards and chip-and-pin cards.

Q. How do I know if my bank-issued debit card or credit card has a chip in it?

A. The front of the card will display a small, metallic square.

Q. What information is stored in the chip?

A. The chip contains information used to process your transactions at a merchant terminal or ATM. No personal information is stored in the chip. 

Q. What are the benefits of chip technology when using my debit card or credit card?

A. The cards with the embedded-microchip add increased security to every debit and credit card transaction and other capabilities not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards.  

Q. Are chip cards more secure?

A. Yes. The chip generates a unique, one-time code each time you “dip” your United Bank debit card or credit card at a chip-enabled terminal – this typically takes about 10 seconds. Chip card technology is already used in other countries around the world. It’s been reported that chip cards and chip-enabled terminals are expected to reduce debit card and credit card fraud by as much as 40%.

Q. Will my PIN number change?

A. For existing debit card customers, neither your card number nor PIN will change. However, if you are new to the Bank or a new debit MasterCard member, your PIN will be provided in a separate notification mailed to you a few days later with directions on how to activate your card.

Q. If I have an existing debit card or credit card, can I continue to use my old card?

A. No. You need to activate your new chip card immediately by calling 1-877-819-2231. Once you activate your new chip cards you will no longer be able to use your old debit card.

Q. Is my expiration date changing?

A. For existing customers, your card expiration date and three digit security code will change so please update any automatic payments you have set up with merchants. Your account number and PIN will not change.

Q. How do I use my chip card to make purchases?

A. Here’s how:
  • With the chip facing up, insert the chip end of your card into the terminal and wait until prompted to take your debit or credit card out – the transaction takes up to 10 seconds.
  • Follow the prompts on the screen, and if necessary, enter your PIN. (Please be aware that the prompts and process can vary by merchant)
  • Keep the card in the terminal throughout the transaction, or the transaction will be canceled. Again, the transaction takes up to 10 seconds and you will be prompted on the chip-enabled terminal as to when you should remove your card.
  • When your transaction is complete, don’t forget to remove your card.
  • If the merchant does not have chip-enabled terminals like the one below, you can continue to swipe your card.
Q. Where can I use my chip card?

A. You can use your chip card at the exact same merchants you do now. You simply insert the card into card terminals that are chip-enabled or swipe your card at merchant locations that have not yet switched to chip-enabled card terminals. You can also continue to use your card as you did before for online payments, telephone payments and at ATMs.

Q. What if I go to a merchant but they have not yet installed chip-enabled terminals?

A. That’s okay. You will still be able to use your chip card as you do today where chip enabled terminals are not yet installed.

Q. Will chip cards prevent all fraud and protect me again third-party data breaches?

A. Chip cards enhance the level of security that you had with your magnetic stripe card and are expected to help significantly reduce the percent of debit card fraud for personal and business banking customers in the United States. But we will continue to identify and implement new ways to keep ahead of fraudsters. We shouldn’t just rely on technology. All of us can help prevent fraud by always monitoring and reporting any suspicious activity on our accounts.

Q. Do I get the same benefits with my new chip card as I did with my prior card?

A. Yes. You will continue to enjoy all the same benefits you had with your previous card.

Q. Will my chip card still work at an ATM?

A. Yes. You can continue to use your chip card as you normally would at any ATM.

Q. Are there any additional fees that come with having or using a chip card?

A. No

Q. With this enhanced protection and the use of chip cards around the world, do I still need to contact United Bank if I plan to travel internationally?

A. Yes, you should continue to contact the Bank when traveling out of the country or out-of-state to another domestic location outside of Massachusetts and Connecticut to ensure your banking services go uninterrupted.

Q. Who should I call if I have more questions about my new card?

A. Feel free to call our Customer Care Center toll-free at 1-866-959-BANK (2265) or visit your nearest United Bank branch. In addition to these FAQs, you can also go to and click on the “Consumer” tab for more information.

United Bank is a leading community bank in New England, with banking locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts.