What You Need to Know About the New Chip Cards

by Wade Barnes 19. October 2015

On October 1, there was a major shift in the way debit and credit card fraud is handled. If you didn’t notice the change, you’re not alone. Read on to discover how this shift could affect you.

Have you recently received a new debit or credit card in the mail? If so, it is likely enabled with new EMV chip technology. EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, has become the standard across the globe for debit and credit card transactions. The United States is one of the last countries to adopt the EMV technology. The EMV cards, or chip cards, include a chip which reduces the risk of fraud. With the chip, each transaction has a unique code assigned to it, unlike the magnetic stripe that contains unchanged data that can easily be replicated. If someone were to steal the information from a magnetic stripe, the data could be replicated over and over again. If a fraudster stole chip card information, duplicating the transaction would never work because the unique code can only be used once. Essentially, the adoption of chips cards is an effort to reduce the significant amount of fraud seen in the United States.

If you haven’t yet received a chip card, don’t worry. If your card provider is opting to switch over to the EMV compatible system, you will automatically receive a new debit or credit card in the mail. It is the card provider’s responsibility to make the choice if their customers are going to have EMV compatible cards, which many already have or plan to do.

As of October 1, 2015, the way that fraud is handled with these new chip/EMV-compliant cards shifted significantly. Before October 1, if a fraudulent transaction using a chip card occurs on a magnetic stripe terminal (an establishment that had not yet switched over to EMV technology), the card issuer would be liable for the costs. Now, that liability has shifted to the merchant. Merchants can reduce their liability for fraud by installing the new EMV compatible payment terminals. Luckily, this shift does not directly impact consumers.

You can still use the EMV card on a traditional magnetic stripe reader. Because the EMV technology is so new and merchants are still adjusting, the chip cards that are being issued are equipped with both EMV and magnetic stripe capabilities.

Overall, consumers can expect little impact from these new cards and terminals. Consumers should be excited that steps are being made to protect them from fraud with no action or cost required at their expense. The cards are safe and a step forward in fraud protection in the United States.

Bitcoin: What's with All the Hype?

by Wade Barnes 29. April 2014


For those who don’t know, Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system and a digital currency. Bitcoin with the capitalized “B” is the payment system and bitcoin with the lowercase “b” refers to the currency. In theory, Bitcoin digitizes the payment system and offers protections from identify theft, debit/credit card fraud, and other forms of modern day financial intrusions. Despite this, many government agencies aren’t fond of the system as the anonymity creates an environment for illicit activities.

I could go on and on about Bitcoin itself but I don’t think that’s what the hype should be all about. In my opinion, Bitcoin isn’t the final answer but it prompts us to think of a world where cash, checks and cards are out, and a fully digital transfer of money happens – and happens immediately.

From a merchant’s perspective, money has immediately transferred from the buyer’s account into the seller’s account. No temporary credits and imaginary holds in the background but a true exchange of money from one party to the other. Without the temporary provision of debits and credits there isn’t a chance that the money wasn’t actually in the buyer’s account, which means no overdraft charges and no losses to merchants or to banks when customers write bad checks or overspend with their card.

I certainly don’t want to knock debit cards as they have revolutionized the way we pay for goods and services, and while they’re a great method of payment, it still is not immediate. Popmoney® and other person-to-person payment forms have revolutionized the way we can exchange money between individuals, but the payment is still not immediate.

The theory of Bitcoin revolutionizes the movement of money in a cashless environment where the money is digitally and securely transferred from the sender’s account into the receiver’s account immediately without holds, credits, or overnight processing.

While Bitcoin has its flaws and some of these have recently questioned the stability of the infrastructure, Bitcoin has challenged us to think about the exchange of money and I’m positive it has prompted the beginning of the end for cash, checks, and cards.

If you found this article interesting, be sure to check out these related articles:

The Future of Technology and Banking

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The Ever-Evolving Landscape of Banking

Things To Do Before You Leave the Country

by Wade Barnes 1. May 2013

Travel Abroad

Whether you travel for business or for pleasure, whether it’s your first time or you’re a professional, it’s helpful to have a checklist of things to do before you leave the country. Some things are easy to overlook and can make or break your experience while abroad. 


Like most things in life, planning is the most important step to making your trip a success:

Contact Banks/Credit Card Providers: Many banks will detect foreign transactions as fraudulent and will block transactions initiated abroad unless they were notified in advance. It’s good to travel with multiple methods of payment like bank cards, credit cards, and cash.

Email Travel Documents: Email documents including your travel itinerary, flight information, and hotel information including all important phone numbers both to you and a friend or family member at home. This way, if you lose the documents or someone needs to contact you, all pertinent information is easily accessible.

Copy the Contents of Your Wallet and Your Passport: Copy the front and back of everything in your wallet. Keep one copy at home and one in the hotel safe or other secure location while traveling. Having copies allows for quick cancelation and/or replacement if needed. While you can’t travel with a copy of your passport, having a copy will help get it replaced quicker if needed.

Cell Phone / Skype: If you plan to use your cell phone, be sure to talk with your provider about international plans to save expensive roaming charges while abroad. Consider opening and using a Skype account to communicate while abroad as this is a free internet service that allows you to video conference with anyone in the world.

Consider Power: Be sure to know both the plug and voltage differences where you plan to travel. Simply having a plug converter might not be enough if the voltage is different and your device doesn’t support multiple voltages. I learned this first hand and it isn’t pretty.

Stop Mail/Newspaper: Be sure to stop your mail/newspaper delivery.

Notify the State Department: Register with the State Department so they’ll know your whereabouts. While we don’t want to consider an emergency abroad, it’s better to be prepared and ensure they know where you are and for you to know where an embassy is.

Pick Up Travel Books: Even if you don’t have time to read them before you leave, read them on the plane to get a good idea of things to do, things to avoid, and ways to make the most of your trip.


While packing is fairly straightforward and doesn’t vary much from traveling domestically, there are some things you should consider when traveling abroad:

Power Convertor: Now that you know the power and plug configuration, be sure to pack the right device to power your electronics.

Carryon Luggage: Airlines are not perfect and luggage goes missing sometimes. If it does, you’ll want an extra set of clothes and important medications in your carryon to hold you over.

Medicine: Be sure to not only pack your medication but also bring an extra prescription and be sure you scope out local pharmacies at your travel destination just in case.

Antacid: Even if you don’t typically have digestion issues, when eating local cuisine, foods might not always sit well. You’d rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it!


You've planned, you’ve packed and it’s time to enjoy your trip. When traveling abroad here are some things to keep in mind:

Safety/Security: No matter where you’re traveling, you can’t be cautious enough, but when abroad, pay particular attention to your surroundings and travel in groups if possible. Keep your possessions held tightly and out of sight. Pick-pocketers thrive on unsuspecting, unaware tourists.

Access to Money: Most places accept credit cards and this is always a safe option. When exchanging currency, be sure to know the current exchange rate as not to get ripped off at a currency exchange center. Another solution is to use your ATM card. While you may pay ATM fees, you’ll likely save as the exchange rate will be calculated at the nightly inter-bank rate, which can be more advantageous than at currency exchange centers.

Internet Banking: It never fails; you forgot to pay a bill or need to transfer money. Don’t sweat; we’ve got you covered with our robust online banking suite.

Now it's time to enjoy your trip. Don’t hold back, enjoy the fine wine, great cuisine, memorable sights, and experiences that will last a lifetime.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Spring Break Travel Tips

Traveling Tips: Keep the Costs Low and the Fun Level High

Managing Your Money in Retirement


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