Chip credit cards, or EMV credit cards, are becoming the standard in credit card technology. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, and represents security features not found in traditional magnetic strip credit cards.
Read more: Beware of this chip credit card scam!
The reason chip credit cards are more secure than traditional magnetic strip cards is due to the chip. Basically, each time the card is used, the chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again, while using the magnetic strip allows criminals to ‘skim’ the information and use the payment info over and over should they gain access.
However, while these cards are meant to cut down on fraud, chip cards are not able to completely eliminate all fraudulent credit card activity.
So here are some ways to protect yourself and avoid being a victim credit card fraud!
7 ways to avoid chip credit card fraud
1. Shop with retailers that use chip-enabled card readers.
Though not every merchant has chip-enabled card readers, using your card with a chip-enabled card reader can cut down on the risk of fraudulent activity.
2. Monitor transactions frequently.
Although it is wise to monitor your transactions every day, it can become cumbersome to do so. There are technologies out there that can help you monitor your transactions and alert you if there is unusual or suspicious activity.
One service you can use to do this for you is called Prosper Daily, formerly Billguard. A free app, Prosper Daily can help you manage your money, provide fraud alerts and free credit scoring.
But, the best thing to do is to monitor your accounts as much as possible. This way, you can catch something early if it happens to be fraudulent!
3. Always check your monthly statements.
So many people have fallen prey to scams and were not able to catch them quickly enough to get their money back. You might have heard the story about the man who was charged $4,000 for a service he never signed up for, and unfortunately could not recoup the bulk of his money.
Don’t let this happen to you! Make it a habit to check your statements every month. This way, if you see something fraudulent, you should be within the time allotted to be able to report the fraudulent charge and get your money back.
Additionally, if you do not receive paper statements, this is why you should turn paper statements back on.
Read more: Checking monthly statements key defense against credit card hacks
4. When shopping online, only shop websites with ‘https’ in the URL.
That little ‘s’ after the http is actually a big deal! When you are shopping online, the added ‘s’ in the URL bar will let you know you have transitioned to a secure shopping site.
5. Never use public Wi-Fi to make a purchase.
Using public Wi-Fi is always a bad idea when it comes to security. Always make sure you are on a private, secure connection when checking anything related to your finances or your identity.
Read more: Is using public Wi-Fi a security risk?
6. Change your password at least every season.
Especially if you save your credit card info on a retailers’ website like Amazon, you’ll want to be sure to change your password at least 4 times a year. For banking sites, it is crucial to do this also, and to choose a password that a criminal would never be able to guess.
In fact, if your password is on this list, it might be time to change it!
Read more: How to make your passwords less hackable
7. Ask your bank for a virtual card number.
There are pros and cons to virtual credit card numbers. On the pros side, it creates an extra barrier of protection between your financial data and thieves, while on the other hand, virtual card numbers decrease the convenience factor.
Citi and Bank of America offer virtual card numbers for online shopping. Bank of America’s program is called ShopSafe, while Citi’s is called Virtual Assistant.
With virtual numbers, you can select things like an expiration date on the card, or setting a maximum charge amount. But, purchases that require in-person verification such as hotel stays or car rentals can prove to be a hassle, in addition to returning purchases. With a virtual card, you may not be able to return something the same way as a traditional credit card. You might have to decide for yourself whether the additional security is worth the inconvenience.