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Posted: 1:25 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, 2012

AMEX, BOA using chip and pin technology in credit cards



By Clark Howard


America practically invented credit cards, yet we've been the only place on Earth that does not use the secure world standard of smart chip technology in our cards....until now.

American Express and Bank of America have both announced they'll begin implementing "chip and pin" technology in their cards.  Here's how it works: A unique computer chip placed within your card is associated with a secret PIN code that you enter with each use. So if the card is stolen, the criminal won't be able to access your funds.

You're familiar with our old magnetic strip technology, right? Well, crooks could duplicate a card that was only protected by a magnetic strip in seconds and start charging it up anywhere in the world. With chip and pin, however, the card can't be duplicated, at least not yet, because of the extra layer of PIN security.

This move will have a dramatic impact on credit card fraud. But don't expect this change to happen overnight.

Bank of America, for example, is rolling out the chip and pin technology only for customers who travel overseas and are high volume customers at first. Only then will they start doing it for everybody. So don't expect complete compliance if you're a Bank of America cardholder until at least 2014 or 2015.

In the meantime, you need to continue to check your statements each and every month for fraud activity.