Keep an eye on your chip card.

Card/payment security is a key topic within organizations’ Commercial Card policies and procedures. You know the drill: lock them up when not in use, ensure a website is safe before entering payment information, be attentive to phishing tactics, etc. Have you overlooked anything? Maybe. According to sporadic media reports, a risk associated with chip cards is that the chip could fall out. The risk is very small, but possible. A displaced chip could be used to create a counterfeit card, but this requires a fraudster getting a hold of it. 

Generally speaking, chip cards are durable. I’m aware of card issuers trying all sorts of things to test the durability; for example, putting them through the washing machine. (Yes, the cards came out fine.) Now the question is, what should you do with this news?

What to Do

As part of your Commercial Card program management efforts, communication is important. The best overall advice is to be mindful, but not get hysterical.

  • Make cardholders aware.
  • Update your training presentations accordingly.
  • Ensure your policies and procedures direct cardholders to contact your card issuer if they realize their chip is missing or even loose.

To date, I have not heard of any chip problems with Commercial Cards. However, industry professional Theresa Blatner informed me about a case at her workplace involving an employee’s personal card. She explained, “It was being used in our cafeteria. I contacted the café manager who said that the chip was loose on the card. The reader indicated an error and defaulted to using the mag stripe. He also said that he has seen a few cards with faulty chips—two of them where the chip fell out.”

Final Thoughts

The small risk of chips becoming loose or falling out does not detract from the benefits of card usage. Chip cards still offer greater security than cards with only a magnetic stripe and, with any type of card, there is fraud protection. All this being said, it could be a driver for increased adoption of mobile payments if/when it makes sense. The beauty is, we have all sorts of options within the realm of Commercial Cards.

About the Author

Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With more than 15 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more

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