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Back to Chip Technology Page

Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics/Chip Card Technology

Q: Why does my Citi Card now feature a chip?

A: Your Chip Card will provide greater peace of mind when you travel by making it easier and more convenient to use your card for purchases at international merchants. It will also provide greater protection against fraud whether you use your card here or abroad to make purchases at merchants that use chip terminals to accept your payment. Many countries and merchants outside the U.S. have already adopted this technology, which has become the global standard. Approximately 1.5B Chip Cards have been issued globally, and there are 22MM point-of-sale chip terminals. By 2015, Chip Cards will be standard in the U.S. as well, and we expect to continue to see more merchants in the U.S. adopt this technology over time.

Q: What is a chip-based card?

A: A Chip Card contains an embedded microchip that encrypts cardmember information into a unique code that significantly increases transaction and account data security when used at a chip-enabled terminal, and makes card cloning and fraud more difficult.

Q: Chip Card, EMV card, smart Chip card...what's the difference?

A: These are all just different terms for the same technology. The technology used in these credit cards is commonly known as being EMV-enabled, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, which uphold the chip technology. These cards are a global standard for processing credit and debit card payments. Various credit card companies may refer to Chip Cards slightly differently, but they all function to help keep your card more secure.

Q: Is this the same technology that's featured on a PayPassTM Card? Can I use my Chip Card to Tap and GoTM?

A: No. MasterCard® PayPassTM uses a different technology called RFID (radio frequency identification), which uses near-field communications to transmit your transaction - so you can pay by tap and go. Your Chip Card will need to be read by a device before you sign for your purchase. You can continue to swipe your card when making domestic purchases in the U.S. However, if your credit card already has PayPass functionality, you can still use it to tap and go.

Security Benefits

Q: What makes the Chip Card more secure?

A: Traditional magnetic stripe cards require a signature for security purposes. A Chip Card adds an additional layer of sophisticated fraud protection through an embedded microchip that turns cardmember information into a unique code when used at a chip-enabled terminal that is difficult to duplicate or copy. This type of card has been around for more than a decade and is safe to use; it is already standard practice in more than 80 countries worldwide.


Q: How do I use my card to make a transaction?

A: It's easy:
— At merchants who have chip-enabled terminals, insert your Chip Card in the chip-enabled terminal, and sign to authorize the transaction.
— At merchants who are not yet equipped with chip - enabled terminals, swipe and sign your name as usual.
— For phone or online transactions, nothing changes - simply provide your credit card number and complete your online transaction as you do today.

Q: Can I still use my card at merchants that don't have a chip-enabled terminal yet?

A: In addition to the embedded chip that provides an added layer of security at chip-enabled terminals, your card will also continue to have the traditional magnetic strip, enabling you to use it at merchants who do not yet have a chip-enabled terminal.

Q: Do I need a PIN to use my card?

A: No. Today, your Citi Chip Card is a chip + signature card, so just sign your name like you currently do today to complete your transaction. There is no need to memorize a new PIN.


Q: Should I be worried that my personal information is vulnerable if my card gets lost or stolen?

A: The embedded microchip makes cardmember information much more difficult to duplicate or copy, and provides enhanced fraud protection on your account when used at a chip-enabled terminal. If your card is lost or stolen, you should call the number on the back of your credit card so we can issue a new Chip Card to you.


Q: Do I need to pay an additional fee to have a Chip Card?

A: No. There is no extra cost to receive a Chip Card. Citi wants to make sure cardmembers have the benefit of this added card security and greater global acceptance.

Q: When will I receive my new Chip Card?

A: Your new card will be mailed to you and should arrive in 7-10 business days (for domestic addresses).

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