FAQ – Card technology – Chip cards

A chip card is a credit or debit card with a built-in microchip instead of a magnetic stripe that lets you make the same transactions. Because of their features and the way they work, chip cards are the most secure solution on the market to prevent card skimming.

    Chip cards are not:
  • electronic wallets
  • pre-paid cards
  • gift cards
  • combined credit and debit cards

Chip card technology offers increased security because it reduces the risk of card skimming. The way chip cards are used differs slightly from magnetic stripe cards.

  • Chip credit card transactions are authenticated by a personal identification number (PIN) instead of a signature, which adds an additional level of security and speeds up transaction time at retailer terminals.
  • Chip cards must be inserted and remain in the point of sale terminal until the transaction is completed.

Magnetic stripe cards are secure and chip card technology will only step up this security.

Chip card technology increases protection against card skimming. But it only does so if transactions are made entirely using chip card technology, meaning on chip-enabled point of sale terminals.

Chip card technology requires new equipment, which is being implemented on a gradual basis with retailers everywhere. For transitional purposes, Desjardins credit cards and Desjardins Access cards will have both a microchip and a magnetic stripe so they can be accepted everywhere, whether chip card technology is available or not, including abroad.

Yes, you need to sign the back of your new debit or credit chip card, in the indicated area. You may still be asked to sign a receipt to authorize a transaction at retailer terminals that have not yet been upgraded to accept chip cards and PINs.

When you use a chip card at a chip-enabled terminal, you will be asked to follow the prompts to complete the transaction. You cannot choose to sign rather than enter a PIN. If the terminal is not chip-enabled, you will be asked to sign the receipt to authorize the transaction.

Since our chip card technology is the same as the one currently used in Europe, the cards are compatible with chip-enabled equipment on that continent.

In keeping with international agreements made by payment associations, Desjardins has implemented a 5-digit PIN, which is more secure.

Desjardins began issuing chip cards in spring 2008 in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, and Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, areas. Since the fall of 2008, expiring Visa Desjardins credit cards are being replaced with chip cards. Remaining Desjardins credit cards will be replaced gradually through 2011. As for Desjardins Access Cards, they started being replaced in January 2009 and will continue to be issued gradually through 2012.

Magnetic stripe credit and debit cards will still be accepted at ATMs in the PLUS network worldwide and the Interac network in Canada.

Some retailers abroad may not be able to accept chip cards with 5-digit PINs for payment. If this occurs, it does not mean your card is no longer valid; it simply means the point of sale terminal has not yet been upgraded to chip card technology standards. Currently, Visa International standards require that Visa retailers throughout the world accept chip cards with PINs of 4 to 13 digits (except in the U.S. where chip technology is not yet available). If you experience a problem with your chip card in a retail outlet, keep your transaction receipt and contact Desjardins Card Services with the details of the transaction. We'll follow up with Visa to rectify the situation.

Only you must know your PIN. Never share this information with anyone. You must therefore enter your PIN yourself at all times.

Yes. The best way to reduce the risk of card skimming is to use your chip card on point of sale terminals that have been upgraded to chip technology.

Chip card technology is currently the best solution on the market to reduce the risk of skimming fraud. All Canadian financial institutions, including Desjardins, are currently migrating to this proven technology. The changeover is inevitable.

Chip cards have been in use for many years in several countries, mostly in Europe.

As card equipment (retailer point of sale terminals, ATMs, etc.) is gradually changed over to chip technology, both technologies will coexist for some time.

Some countries have not yet adopted chip technology. The magnetic stripe can be used where chip technology has not yet been implemented.

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