What Everyone Should Know About EMV Cards


Americans report billions of dollars in credit and debit card fraud each year. A new technology using microprocessors called EMV chips could help curb future losses.

The chips are embedded on the front of credit and debit cards and exchange information with chip-card readers. Used together, the two make it harder for fraudsters to copy card information and make bogus in-store purchases.

Here’s what you need to know about EMV cards.

How EMV works

If you have an EMV card, you’ll insert the chipped end into a slot on an EMV-enabled reader, instead of swiping. Leave the card there for a few seconds, while the chip exchanges information with the payment processing system and authenticates the account; then remove it. Depending on the account, you might also sign for the purchase or enter a personal identification number, or PIN, to verify your identity and complete the sale.

How chips protect you

Named for developers Europay, Mastercard and Visa, EMV chips encrypt your information and generate a unique code each time you use your card. Each code can be used only once — so they’re useless to hackers.

Traditional cards use a magnetic strip that transmits the same unencrypted information every time you swipe. If someone copies the data, he or she can easily duplicate your plastic and use it to make fraudulent purchases.

Where they’re used

EMV-enabled cards are already the standard in parts of Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. In the U.S., where credit and debit card fraud losses have risen steadily over the past few years, retailers and issuers are slowly catching up. Many issuers are sending new EMV cards to customers, and retailers such as Target and Home Depot are installing chip-card readers on their registers.

Banks, credit card companies and merchants in the U.S. will likely pick up the pace of adoption in coming months, as new fraud liability standards take effect in October. Currently, credit card issuers bear the brunt of fraud losses, but responsibility after that deadline could fall to the retailer, if its system is less secure than the card used.

What it means for you

There’s a good chance you’ve already received an EMV card. If you haven’t, call your financial services provider and ask for one.

Using an EMV card at a retailer that has a chip-reading system should make your purchase more secure. It will also make it easier to use your card in the myriad countries that already have the technology. Traditional cards can still be used most places, too.

Although EMV technology helps you shop more safely, it doesn’t thwart thieves entirely. Hackers can still pilfer your card information online or over the phone, or simply steal your card. So it’s wise to exercise caution when using your credit or debit card. If your card goes missing or you spot suspicious activity, notify your financial institution immediately.

© Copyright 2015 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Keeping Your Identity Safe During Holiday Travel

Luggage consisting of large suitcases and rucksacks isolated on white.So the bags are packed and the doors are locked as you head out for the big trip, but aren’t you forgetting something? Identity theft predators thrive off of holiday travelers. Here are six basic tips to ensure you don’t fall victim to identity theft while on the road this winter.

  1. Keep your home safe. As tempting as it may be to rub a vacation in the neighbors’ faces, avoid announcing your vacation on social media. Your home could be targeted for burglary, leaving your identity vulnerable. Hide laptops and important documents within the home, just in case of a break-in.
  1. Use secured Wi-Fi. Avoid logging on to your bank account or other sites with sensitive information while using unsecured public Wi-Fi in hotels, cafes, airports and other locations.
  1. Use ATMs only at financial service centers. Other ATMs are more vulnerable to tampering. Be wary of restaurants where waiters could have portable skimmers.
  1. Bring the right card. Use a card with enhanced security, such as Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union’s advanced security ATM/debit cards. You’ll receive text alerts of any unusual or suspicious purchases so you can verify them. Just make sure to alert your financial institution before traveling internationally, so that using your card in unusual places doesn’t trigger a freeze on your account. It’s also a good idea to leave unnecessary cards at home, such as other debit cards and library cards.
  1. Dispose of documents properly. Rip up any papers with personal information that you’re no longer using. This means tearing up used boarding passes with full names or other personal information on them.
  1. Lock it down. Make sure your smartphone has a lock on it and is password protected. It’s a good idea to install a GPS-locator app that helps you find the phone in case it’s lost or stolen.

Cait Klein, NerdWallet

© Copyright 2015 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance

Patriot DayMany innocent and heroic lives were lost on September 11, 2001, a day that will never be forgotten.  In December 2001, President Bush signed into law a resolution to name September 11 Patriot Day, to honor those who lost their lives.  Then, in 2012, President Obama issued a proclamation to rename September 11 as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Today, flags will be flown at half-staff, and we are encouraged to observe a moment of silence for all the lives lost.   We are also encouraged to volunteer and do service today in honor of those who went above and beyond their call of duty to try and save others that day.  You can use the Corporation for National and Community Service to find volunteer/service work here in Hawaii!

Today is another reason to appreciate our country and each other.  Since September 11, 2001, America has vowed to move forward as a strong, united front.  To this day, we are still inspired by the courageous actions and stories of people trying to save others on 9/11.  Now, it is our turn to help our community and be an inspiration to others!

Happy National Wildlife Day!


Have you ever stopped to look around and see what kind of wildlife we have here in Hawaii?

Hawaii has a unique ecosystem with various plants and animals, many of which are endangered or endemic (in other words, they can only be found here).  Like the photo above, we see a lot of lizards and birds here, and out in the ocean, it is easy to catch a glimpse of turtles and jellyfish!

Our local zoos, aquariums, and all the different botanical gardens provide tons of information about the plants and wildlife we have here, both local and transported from other places.  We are lucky to live in such a unique place with such beautiful creatures and be able to learn about them all!

National Wildlife Day was created to help spread awareness of endangered animals and an appreciation for wildlife and places that help to preserve and educate.

So, in honor of National Wildlife Day, don’t forget to take a moment to look at your surroundings to see all the wildlife that Hawaii has to offer!  Let us know what you find!