Chip Cards

"Chip" Cards are here!

Any new MemberCard® Debit Cards will be "chip" enabled when received and all expiring cards will be reissued with "chip" capabilities. To ensure our owners are using the latest in "chip" technology AECU will be replacing all MEMBER CARD® Debit Cards with "chip" cards over the coming months. These cards will provide a whole new level of security and peace of mind for our owners.

What is a "Chip" Card?

"Chip" cards contain an embedded microchip, which is virtually impossible to replicate.  This provides protection against card counterfeiting and fraud.  Even though these new "chip" cards incorporate sophisticated new technology, they are easy to use.   When you use your cards at an ATM, you won't notice any difference.  To enhance security, your new "chip" enabled MemberCard will require you to use your Personal Identification Number (PIN) at most retailers and a signature will not be required.  In addition to a "chip", your new cards will continue to have a magnetic stripe ensuring your cards work if the retailer's technology does not support "chip" or if you are traveling to a country where "chip" technology may not be used.

What's Next?

First, you will receive the PIN for your new "chip" card.  Keep your new PIN safe and don't disclose it to anyone.  A few days later you will receive your new "chip" card. Once you have followed the instructions to activate the card, you can begin using it.  If you would like to change your PIN once you receive your "chip" card, it can be done through our ATM's or by visiting one of our local branches.

We are always pleased to hear from you.  For more information, please call 1-877-377-3728 or visit your local branch location.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a chip card?

A chip card or "smart card", is a credit or debit card containing an embedded computer chip that gives the card the ability to perform a variety of functions, including card authorization, PIN verification, and information storage and processing, all in a highly secure environment.  Chip cards and chip terminals work together to ensure a highly secure transaction by validating the card and the cardholder. A chip card provides increased protection against counterfeit, lost and stolen card fraud.

For you, chip will mean entering a PIN at chip-reading terminals for every transaction regardless if you are paying by debit or credit card.

What is the benefit of having a chip card?

The primary benefit is extra security and protection from counterfeit, identity theft and fraudulent activity. Chip cards provide additional protection to avoid disclosure of personal information and they are virtually impossible to copy.

Chip cards offer enhanced privacy and additional protection to avoid disclosure of personal information.

Will my card still have a magnetic stripe?

Magnetic stripe will co-exist with chip card technology to allow consumers to use their cards at retail locations without a chip-reading terminal in Canada and other countries that have not yet migrated to chip technology.  If you shop at a retail location without a chip-reading terminal, your card will be swiped and you will be asked to sign a receipt.

As long as you continue to protect your PIN and card, you can have full confidence in the security of the magnetic stripe functionality of your card.

What happens to my current magnetic strip card?

Your current magnetic strip card will continue to be accepted everywhere that you currently use it today.  When you receive your new chip card, please destroy your magnetic stripe card.

Are all financial institutions migrating to chip?

In Canada, yes. All will be, although dates will vary because of the amount of work required to migrate the entire Canadian card payment system within the mandated timelines.

How does the new chip card work?

Instead of signing your name when you use your chip MasterCard to make a purchase, you enter a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN). The chip card is inserted into a chip terminal and left there for the duration of the transaction. The cardholder simply follows the prompts to complete the transaction.

If you shop at a retailer that does not have a chip-reading terminal, you will be asked to sign as usual.
When you use your chip debit card to make a purchase, the chip debit card is inserted into a chip terminal and you enter your four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN).  The chip card remains in the chip terminal until the transaction is completed.

Will chip card transactions be conducted differently?

The big change is for credit card holders: the credit card stays in the device for the duration of the transaction and instead of signing your name you enter a four-digit Personal Identification Number.   If you shop at a retail location that does not have a chip-reading terminal, you will have to sign a receipt as usual.

How do I use my chip card to pay for a purchase?

1.Insert your card "chip-first" into the chip reader on the terminal.  Your chip card remains in the terminal during the transaction.
2.Enter your PIN and the transaction is completed.
3.Remove your chip card after "Approved - Thanks" appears on the display.

Can  I withdraw cash from an ATM with my MemberCard?

Yes, you can withdraw cash from ATMs that accept MasterCard cards.  The chip MemberCard can be used at an ATM on the Cirrus ® network.  

Will I be able to use chip cards outside of Canada?

Yes. Chip technology has already been or is being implemented in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, and Canadian chip cards will be fully compatible with their systems.

In countries like the U.S. that have yet to switch or do not plan to, you will still be able to use your card, as the magnetic stripe will still be on your cards.

Will old cards work on new point-of-sale terminals?

Yes. New point-of-sale terminals that are chip enabled will be compatible with existing systems and cards.

Will chip cards be accepted by stand-alone terminals, such as pay-at-the-pump gas stations, toll booths, or parking lots?

Chip cards will work at these devices. Additional upgrades are needed at some stand-alone terminals in order for them to process chip card transactions. You will still be able to use the magnetic stripe feature of your chip card at devices that do not support chip cards yet.

Merchants have indicated they have a terminal that accepts chip cards, but when I try my MasterCard chip card, the chip is not read and the transaction can only be completed by the merchant swiping my chip card. I am not prompted to enter my PIN and I have to sign for the transaction as I did before. Is this a problem with my chip MasterCard?

It will take some time for the acquirers to update all merchant locations to process chip cards using chip technology. In fact, currently, many merchant terminals accept chip transactions for some card plans but not others.

At a number of merchant locations, acceptance of "chip and signature" transactions has been in place for at least the past two years.  In these situations, the chip card is inserted in the merchant terminal/PIN-pad and upon successful authorization, the cardholder is still required to sign the merchant receipt. As a result, the experience (and belief) of many merchants is that they already "accept chip transactions".

The Canadian payment industry is moving to "chip and PIN". Merchant terminals need to be upgraded to accept chip and PIN, and this upgrade requires a separate activity for each of the card plans - Interac®, MasterCard® and Visa®. The actual timing associated with the upgrades is dependent on each merchant acquirer. As a result, it is likely cardholders will have different experiences - especially in these early stages.

My new chip card has not arrived yet.  Will my old card with the magnetic stripe still work?

Yes your magnetic stripe card will still work as long as the expiry date on the card has not passed.

With chip, will I need to do anything to protect my card?

Yes! Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN). As with a magnetic stripe card, if someone obtains/steals your chip card and has your PIN - or if you lose your wallet/purse and your PIN is written down in it somewhere - they will be able to make purchases and withdraw funds from your account.
In short, keep doing the things you do now to keep your card and your PIN safe.

Chip cards represent the highest level of security available to protect payment information by employing a range of security features and measures that work in concert with each other to create a multi-layered defence against fraud.

•Memorize your PIN and do not carry it with you.
•Do not disclose your PIN or lend your card to anyone.
•Never keep your PIN and card in the same location.
•If you become aware that your AECU MemberCard  debit card PIN has been compromised or is known to others, contact AECU immediately at 1-877-377-3728.
Your PIN is unique to you and it must be kept confidential. Remember, never disclose your PIN to anyone or carry it with you. You will never be asked for you PIN when making a mail order or internet transaction. Online merchants may request the 3-digit security number on the signature panel on the reverse of your MasterCard, sometimes referred to as the card validation code (CVC). Never disclose your PIN over the phone, internet or when making a mail order transaction.

Do I need to sign the back of my chip card?

Yes. Chip cards are not valid unless signed. For credit card transactions at terminals that have not yet been upgraded to accept chip and PIN, you will still be asked to sign a receipt to authorize the transaction.

How do I get my PIN?

You will receive a new PIN in the mail prior to receiving your chip card.

Will my old PIN still work?

No, your old PIN will not work with the new chip card.  You will receive a new PIN prior to receiving your chip card.  If you would like to change your PIN once you receive you chip card, you can do so in person at your credit union branch.

What if I enter the wrong PIN during a purchase?

For your protection, if you incorrectly enter your PIN a number of times, it will be blocked. You will have to contact your credit union to have it reactivated.

Do I use the same PIN for ATM cash withdrawals and when making purchases at chip-reading terminals?

Yes, your PIN will be the same for both types of transactions.

Do I get to choose whether I use my PIN or sign the receipt for a credit card transaction?

No. If you are using your credit card at a chip terminal, entering your PIN will be your only option. Likewise, if you are using your chip credit card at a non-chip enabled terminal, you will have no choice but to sign.

How do I use my chip card to pay for items purchased over the phone or internet?

You can perform internet or telephone purchases exactly as you do today with your credit card, without signing.  You do not need your PIN for phone or internet purchases.  A PIN would never be required - and should never be asked for.  The chip-and-PIN combination is only for face-to-face transactions.  Internet, mail order or telephone order purchases will continue as they do today.

What should I do if a merchant asks me for my PIN to enter it into the terminal?

Never give your PIN to anyone including over the phone or  through the internet.

What information is stored on the chip?

The chip stores the same information currently stored on the magnetic stripe today: payment related information that allows the transaction to be authorized and processed (e.g., the card number and financial institution code).

Can I access and change the information on my chip card?

The only thing a cardholder can change on their chip card is the PIN, which is done through secure in-branch devices or an ATM that has this capability.

Will a merchant have access to the information on my chip card? Will my transactions be stored on the chip?

Like magnetic stripe cards, cardholder information on the chip is encrypted and not accessible by the merchant. Your card transactions are not stored on the chip card.

I have a lot of Choice Rewards points on my old card.  Will these points be carried over to my new chip card?

Definitely.  All previously accumulated CHOICE REWARDS® points will be carried over from your current card to your new chip card.