At the Register Swiping is Out, Dipping is In
Atlanta - Some of you have been to a cash register and noticed a change in how you pay with your credit card.
And if you haven't, it's time to get on board. The bottom line is that security experts agree, it's safer to use than your magnetic strip.
The swipe at many retailers is on its way out. Now at the register you will "Dip the Chip."
Pull your credit card out of your wallet. If you got a new one, which many of you have, you should see a silver square. It's called EMV chip technology.
We listened in as a Home Depot employee walked a customer through it.
"This is a chip card now, place inside - the card - like that. Just leave like that until the light is gone."
Bonnie Smyre of the local Internet security firm RAXIS said, "What that does that is special is that it creates a one-time code."
It's an extra security layer. A new code is created for each purchase. But, it does take longer to process the card.
It takes a good, solid 10 seconds, at major retailers. Longer at smaller shops. But, according to security expert Bonnie Smyre, it's offering the closest thing we have to perfect credit card security protection.
"Even if that code is stolen by a thief nearby who is trying to get that information, the code can not be used again. And that's your protection here."
The US is the last big market to use this EMV chip technology. Great Britain has used it for 10 years and it's credit card fraud for in-person purchases has plummeted a whopping 63 percent.
Home Depot customer Ben Darmer said there isn't really much of a learning curve at all when using it the first time. The machine at the register walks you right through the process.
"I like the security and it's very easy to use. We were recently in Europe and they use them all over the place," he said.
Novelle Caibon was a first-timer.
"It seemed pretty good. I like it."
But here's the catch: This chip doesn't offer any protection for online purchases.
"In the UK, like I said, 10 years ago that they did this conversion, since then they've seen 120 percent increase in online fraud," said Bonnie Smyre.
Not all small retailers have the new chip machines yet. They're expensive. Ms. Smyre says it can cost up to $1,000 per terminal to install. But big box retailers, like Home Depot and Target, do have them installed.
Home Depot supervisor Kevin Cannon says while customers look at little confused at first it only takes one time to get it.
"It's not here to hurt you; it's here to help you and it's a better way," he said.