Chip & Pin Technology

At U.S. Bank Canada we are committed to providing our customers with a secure payment system for all corporate, purchasing and commercial card program needs. Our cards are now more secure than ever with Chip & PIN technology.

The Canadian payment card industry has introduced Chip & PIN technology for all credit, debit and charge cards in Canada. Already in wide use around the world, this state-of-the art technology has been tested and proven. Chip & PIN cards provide an added layer of protection to account holders with an embedded micro-computer chip and the use of a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for transaction authorization.

Chip & PIN FAQs

Chip & PIN is the next evolution of electronic payments, helping to make an already safe card payment system even more secure. Below are answers to some questions you may have about this new technology.

How do I use my Chip & Pin card?

It will take some time for all businesses in Canada to become set-up with chip-enabled terminals, and in some regions – such as the United States – merchants are not expected to support Chip & PIN technology in the near future. To ensure your U.S. Bank Canada commercial card continues to be accepted everywhere, it contains a magnetic stripe in addition to the chip.

Chip & PIN cards together with chip-enabled terminals make a secure transaction system even more secure by validating both the card and the cardholder electronically. While merchants become familiar with the process a signature may still be requested during transactions, even though one is no longer needed at chip-enabled terminals.

The process is as follows:
  • Insert the chip card into the chip reading terminal
  • Leave the chip card in the terminal for the duration of the transaction
  • Follow the prompts on the terminal as a guide
  • Enter the PIN when prompted
  • Remove the card once the transaction is complete

How to activate and select your PIN

Upon receipt of new chip cards, U.S. Bank Canada account holders will need to activate the card and select a new PIN. All of the information needed is included with the new card. Please follow these important steps:

  1. Retain the bottom portion of the U.S. Bank Canada card carrier, as it contains all the information needed for card activation.
  2. Call 866-686-2209 to activate the card. On this call account holders will be asked to:
    • Enter the reference number that was provided with the card mailer to access the account
    • Enter requested details to confirm account holder identity
    • Select a PIN

NOTE: If a PIN is already associated with an account, it may be retained. Whether selecting a new PIN or retaining an old one, the activation number must be called to confirm identity and confirm or select the PIN.

How to protect your PIN

The PIN becomes a key security element of the U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN card. The PIN will be required as validation for transactions made at chip-enabled terminals. As always, it is very important that the PIN is safeguarded and account holders take the necessary steps to protect it.

  • Select a PIN that is not obvious information, such as telephone numbers, date of birth, social insurance number, etc.
  • Memorize the PIN. Do not write down the PIN or store it electronically. Only account holders should know their own PIN. Change the PIN immediately if someone else may know it.
  • Never provide the PIN for transactions made over the phone, online or to sales clerks

What is a Chip & PIN card and what are the benefits?

A Chip & PIN card is a credit, debit or charge card with a microchip embedded in it. The chip is encrypted and provides enhanced security and protection to help safeguard against fraud. When used with chip-enabled terminals and at ATMs, the system validates the chip and the PIN, helping to ensure a more secure transaction. The addition of a PIN provides an extra layer of security above and beyond the chip as only you know your PIN.

Why are Chip & PIN cards more secure?

The enhanced security of a Chip & PIN card comes from the chip itself as it is encrypted and employs a range of security features and measures that work in concert with each other to create a multi-layered defense against card fraud. When Chip & PIN cards are used at chip-enabled terminals, the transaction system identifies the cardholder through the Chip and the PIN. The enhanced security features of Chip & PIN cards make them virtually impossible to replicate and therefore less likely to be a target for criminals.

What information does a Chip & PIN card contain? Is the information private?

Chip & PIN cards contain an embedded microchip which holds the same information that is currently contained on a magnetic stripe card (card number, cardholder name and expiry date), which is also the same information that is embossed directly on the card. Chip & PIN cards also contain added risk parameters and security keys to enable PIN transactions and to provide added protection. U.S. Bank Canada employs a strict privacy code and is committed to always protecting client information. For more information about the U.S. Bank Canada privacy agreement, please go to privacy agreement.

If Chip & PIN cards are more secure, does that mean my existing magnetic stripe U.S. Bank Canada Visa card is not secure?

While Chip & PIN cards represent the latest advancements in card payment security, they will only make an already safe payment system even more secure. Your magnetic stripe U.S. Bank Canada Visa card continues to be a safe, reliable and convenient method of payment. In addition, U.S. Bank Canada has been very successful in protecting cardholders by reducing card fraud through continuous upgrades to its fraud detection systems. U.S. Bank Canada will continue its current fraud prevention practices to ensure cardholders are protected whether they have a magnetic stripe card or a Chip & PIN card. You will be protected under the Visa Liability Waiver program provided you took reasonable precautions to protect your PIN. For more information about this policy, see the cardholder agreement.

Will my U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card still contain a magnetic stripe?

It will take time for all merchants, stores and restaurants to be set up with chip-enabled terminals. To ensure your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card continues to be accepted everywhere, it will contain a magnetic stripe in addition to the chip. You can therefore expect to experience two types of transactions with your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card for some time to come.

  • Swipe and Sign – when you make a transaction at a non-chip enabled terminal with your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN card, the magnetic stripe is swiped and an authorized signature will be required on the receipt
  • Chip & PIN – the card is inserted and left in the terminal as you input your PIN for validation and for the duration of the transaction

I have heard of Chip & PIN cards being compromised, is this true?

At this time, we are not aware of the chip being compromised on any Chip & PIN cards. Any compromised issues that have arisen have been due to the magnetic stripe that is also on the card. For the time being, all U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa cards must also include a magnetic stripe to ensure continued acceptance everywhere (including locations that have not yet converted to Chip & PIN technology). Without the magnetic stripe, cards could not be used at non-chip-enabled terminals. Transactions completed with the magnetic stripe on your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card are as safe and secure as ever. U.S. Bank Canada maintains aggressive fraud prevention practices to reduce card fraud and to ensure cardholders are protected. In addition, the Visa Liability Waiver program protects you should your card ever be compromised due to fraudulent activity. For more information about this policy, see your cardholder agreement.

How will making a purchase with my U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card work?

When you make a transaction at a chip-enabled terminal with your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card, you are in control. The process is quick and easy and your card should never leave your sight:

    1. Rather than swiping your card, it will be inserted into the terminal and left there for the entire transaction. Removing the card will terminate the transaction.
    2. You will follow the prompts on the screen and enter your PIN instead of verifying the transaction with your signature.
    3. When the transaction is complete, you will remove your card when prompted and wait for the receipt.

If the business does not yet have a chip-enabled terminal, your card will be swiped and you will sign the receipt as you do today.

Are there any other changes I will notice with my U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card?

At businesses that have upgraded to chip-enabled terminals, you will need to do one of the following to complete a transaction:

  • A portable device may be brought to you to insert the card and enter your PIN.
  • You may need to go to a free-standing terminal in a central location to insert the card and enter your PIN.

Can my U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card be used anywhere?

Yes, your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card can be used anywhere in the world where Visa is accepted. At a chip-enabled terminal, you will insert your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card into a chip reader, follow the prompts and enter your PIN to complete the transaction. At a location that does not yet have a chip-enabled terminal, your card will be swiped and the transaction will be completed with your signature as you do today.

How do U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa cards work for transactions made online or over the telephone?

Transactions made online or over the telephone with your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card should be conducted the same way as with your current card. This may include using the three-digit verification code on the back of the card. Never disclose your PIN to anyone, even if it’s requested to complete a transaction – whether in person, online (via email or the Internet), or by phone.

Will all merchants know how to process a Chip & PIN transaction?

When a merchant terminal is upgraded to accept a Chip & PIN transaction, they will receive training from the terminal provider. Although the transaction process is straightforward when the terminal prompts are followed, it is a change that will take time for everyone to get used to. Many merchants employ a wide variety of full and part-time staff who may receive varying levels of training. At first your transaction may take longer for them to complete, so your patience in these situations is appreciated.

What should I do if a business insists that I sign the receipt after I have already entered my PIN?

When completing a Chip & PIN transaction, there is no need to sign the receipt because the PIN serves as the validation. During the transition, some merchants may still ask for a signature. Even though it is not required, we recommend that you sign the receipt to avoid any disruption. This will only be a temporary practice until all merchants become more familiar and comfortable with the new process.

You will still be required to sign your receipt when the magnetic stripe on your card is swiped.

When can I expect to receive my U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card?

U.S. Bank Canada will start to replace U.S. Bank Canada Visa cards with Chip & PIN cards based on expiry date, beginning in Q4 2009. Not all cards will be replaced at the same time and the process will take a few years to complete given the vast number of cards currently in the marketplace. This is an automatic process and there is no action required on your part. Until then, continue using your current U.S. Bank Canada Visa card with confidence, just as you do today.

Can I request my new U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card right now?

U.S. Bank Canada is not able to accommodate requests for U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa cards at this time. Cards will be replaced based on expiry date. This is an automatic process and there is no action required on your part. Until then, continue using your current U.S. Bank Canada Visa card with confidence, just as you do today.

If U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa cards are more secure, why not just give them to all cardholders right now?

As there are still a limited number of chip-enabled terminals in North America, not all cardholders would benefit from having a U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card right away. While each financial institution will have its own timelines for conversion to Chip & PIN technology, we are all working in cooperation to set the standards that will result in the best experience for you.

Can I keep my current U.S. Bank Canada Visa card if I don't like chip or if I am unable to use a PIN?

Over the next few years, all U.S. Bank Canada magnetic stripe Visa cards, with the exception of our Visa Fleet Vehicle cards, will be replaced with Chip & PIN Visa cards. Current market research shows an overwhelming preference by Canadians for the use of a PIN instead of a signature to authorize their transactions.

Where do I get a PIN for my U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card?

Information about your PIN will be sent with your new U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card. Retain the bottom portion of the U.S. Bank Canada card carrier, as it contains all the information needed for card activation.

Call 866-686-2209 to activate the card.

  • Enter the reference number that was provided with the card mailer to access the account
  • Enter requested details to confirm account holder identity
  • Select a PIN

If you have been using a PIN on your current U.S. Bank Canada Visa card to access your account from an ATM, your PIN can remain the same. Whether selecting a new PIN or retaining an old one, account holders must call the activation number above to confirm their identity and confirm or select their PIN.

How can I change my PIN or have it reset because I have forgotten it?

If you would like to change your PIN or if you have forgotten your PIN, please refer to the information that was provided along with your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN card and follow these steps:

Please call 866-686-2209. On this call you will be asked to:

    • Enter the reference number that was provided with the card mailer to access the account
    • Enter requested details to confirm your identity
    • Select a new PIN

If you have lost or misplaced your reference number, please call U.S. Bank Canada Customer Service at 800-588-8065 and request a new Reference Mailer to be sent to your attention. Once you receive the new reference mailer follow the same steps outlined above.

If I am travelling outside of Canada, will my current U.S. Bank Canada magnetic stripe Visa card still work?

Yes, you can use your current magnetic stripe Visa card anywhere in the world where Visa is accepted. While many countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America have already moved to or will be moving to Chip & PIN technology, they still accept magnetic stripe cards as a reliable and secure form of payment. You are not required to have a Chip & PIN card to transact in these countries and can use your current U.S. Bank Canada magnetic stripe Visa card with confidence.

How will my U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card transactions work outside of Canada?

Chip & PIN Visa card transactions will work the same way as they do in Canada.

  1. Rather than swiping your card, it will be inserted into the terminal and left there for the entire transaction. Removing the card will terminate the transaction.
  2. You will follow the prompts on the screen and enter your PIN instead of verifying the transaction with your signature.
  3. When the transaction is complete, you will remove your card when prompted and wait for the receipt.

When travelling however, you should consider choosing a four-digit PIN as some terminals and ATMs overseas will not accept a PIN with more than four digits.

Will my new U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card be covered under the Visa Liability Waiver program?

Yes, should your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card be exposed to fraudulent or unauthorized use, you will be protected under the Visa Liability Waiver program provided you took reasonable precautions to protect your PIN. For more information about this policy, see your cardholder agreement.

Where can I get more information about Chip & PIN technology?

Please visit the following websites for more information about Chip & PIN technology:

Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns about my U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card?

For questions or concerns about your U.S. Bank Canada Chip & PIN Visa card, please contact your U.S. Bank Canada representative or call 800-588-8065.

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