Americans Better Get Ready To Ditch The Old Magnetic Credit Card Strip

Microchip

Photo: Uwe Herman via flickr

Bank of America is the latest big bank to wave goodbye to traditional magnetic strip credit cards, reports to Bill Hardekopf from LowCards.com.The change applies to the bank’s Merrill Lynch, BankAmericard Travel Rewards, BankAmericard Privileges, and Virgin Atlantic Travel credit cards will all begin to be offered with a chip instead of the magnetic strip.

It joins a host of other U.S. banks in moving toward computer chip technology, which has been around for 15 years and is already widely used throughout the rest of the world, according to Bankrate’s Marcie Geffner.

The U.S. has been slow to adapt for a number of reasons, including the costs of upgrading upgrade the infrastructure necessary to process the chips, says Geffner. The EMV microchip-powered cards are encrypted to store customer data and can’t be read by card scanners. 

Here’s why consumers should be excited to ditch the magnetic strip:

International travel: It’ll make travel way easier. Many merchants in Europe and Asia don’t always accept the magnetic strip credit cards, which puts Americans at a disadvantage. 

Security: Our refusal to update our credit card technology has led a paper in the Nilson Report dub the U.S. “the world’s credit fraud leader.” Despite the fact that the U.S. only accounts for 27 per cent of the world’s cash purchases, 47 per cent of the world’s credit fraud happen here. EMV chips can’t be read by the card scanners thieves typically use to inconspicuously steal credit card information. 

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