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Chip Cards – Debit Card Technology Evolves

Interac is transitioning to chip — a new generation of payment card technology that will make a safe payment system even more secure.

New debit cards will contain an embedded microchip that will put the power of a computer onto your card. Point-of-sale terminals and Automated Banking Machines (ABM) across the country will also become chip enabled.

Chip cards will have processing functions and will work together with chip capable terminals and ABMs to ensure a highly secure transaction by validating both card and cardholder, providing increased protection against debit card fraud.

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Chip card technology is based on a global standard known as EMV, a proven technology in wide use around the world. Chip technology is virtually impossible to duplicate, increasing consumers’ confidence in the payment system, while decreasing your fraud management costs. Chip technology will provide a platform for new product and service offerings, allowing you to keep pace with your competitors’ card payment technologies.

The same Interac services, combined with all new technology:

Completing a sale with a chip debit card and terminal:

  • Insert the chip card into the chip reader instead of swiping.
  • The customer’s card must remain in the reader until the transaction is completed.
  • Then it’s business as usual. The customer completes the transaction and payment is accepted.

The chip transition timeline:

Every payment service provider has its own timetable in place for providing chip terminals. In order to ensure a smooth transition, Interac Association has implemented final conversion deadlines that work within merchants’ normal business cycles, so that merchants will be able to transition to chip within the set timeline and with minimum impact.

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  • Interac chip cards and terminals are already being rolled out across Canada.
  • Complete migration to chip technology will take several years and the timetable for the introduction of chip will vary from one financial institution, and one service provider to another.
  • All Automated Banking Machines (ABM), point-of-sale (POS) terminals and banking cards across Canada will be upgraded.
  • Magnetic stripe debit card transactions will no longer be accepted at ABMs after December 31, 2012.
  • Magnetic stripe transactions will no longer be accepted at POS after December 31, 2015.
  • Chip cards will continue to carry the magnetic stripe, not only to facilitate the chip transition period, but also to allow cardholders to use their debit cards in other countries that do not use chip technology.

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For up-to-date information and answers, visit

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