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Swipe, insert, tap? What your credit card style says about you

minute read

    Remember the days when the only way to use your credit card on the check-out line was swiping it? Credit card chips and tap to pay, also known as contactless payments, entered the world and changed the way in which we live — or pay. You may be hearing less and less about swiping as more merchants are updating their payment terminals to accept chip-enabled credit cards, but there are still plenty of places where swiping your credit card is the norm.

    What it means if you tend to swipe

    If you tend to swipe your card when you're making a purchase, you probably like the classic things in life and don't always need to fit in with the crowd. For some people, swiping may be a thing of the past, but you like to keep it plain and simple, just like the good old days. Your favorite album is probably from a time before you were born, and people tend to refer to you as an old soul.

    Swiping might still be common at places like gas stations, where you swipe the credit or debit card at the pump you're using. The magnetic stripe on the back of the card contains 3 tracks of data. The first 2 tracks contain your account number plus other data like your name and the card's expiration date, which is used in processing transactions. Once you swipe, the card reader sends the data to the merchant's bank, which checks with your bank to make sure that the card is valid. It'll most likely ask you to enter your PIN or sign.

    Tend to insert your card?

    Do you prefer to insert your card instead of swiping or using tap to pay? You're probably looking for a greater sense of both security and convenience, while not going too over the top in terms of trying something new. You may like to switch it up every so often, but you don't live life on the edge. You believe that life is all about maintaining the perfect balance between work and play.

    Most cards have chips now, which you may be asked to insert into a card reader, chip-end first and facing upwards. Transactions are made by sticking the chip end of your card into the slot on the reader.

    The EMV chip (Europay, Mastercard® and Visa®), or the metallic square on the card, may help prevent fraud. It's read differently by card readers than a magnetic strip is. EMV chips may reduce the risk of your card information being stolen through skimmers because it's harder to duplicate your information. Similar to the magnetic stripe, the chip contains the cardmember's information, as well as enhanced security features.

    Tap to pay: The newest way to pay

    Whether you're paying with a credit or debit card, tap to pay is the newest way to make speedy and secure purchases. If you find yourself leaning towards the tap to pay option, you're typically a person who likes to get in and out of stores and knows what they want in life. You could be a natural go-getter who isn't afraid of trying new things or adapting to new ways of life.

    Contactless payments may give you a faster checkout experience and more peace of mind at the register. This payment method allows for the exchange of encrypted payment information without the need for the card to touch anything physically. If you're wondering how contactless payments work, we've got you covered.

    How do contactless payments work?

    If you look at your credit or debit card and see four curved lines on the front of it, you're in luck. This symbol means that you're able to use tap to pay to make your next purchase if the merchant accepts contactless payments. Checking out is becoming easier and faster than ever thanks to it contactless payments. Aside from simplicity, this payment method offers speed and security at some of your favorite places, typically reducing the need to enter a PIN or sign a receipt.

    These cards are equipped with Near-field communication (NFC), which makes the tap to pay option available. Both the card and the payment keypad at the merchant must have this technology to use it. A one-time security code is sent between the card and the keypad over a type of radiofrequency every time you make a purchase. To pay, you may be able to tap your card on the payment terminal or hold it within an inch or 2 for a few seconds.

    Digital wallets

    You can also make contactless payments by storing your credit or debit card information in a mobile wallet or app. Like using a contactless card, you can use your mobile wallet to make digital payments by holding your device to the payment terminal for a few seconds or tapping the terminal with your device. It allows one party to make electronic transactions with another party. The payer and the payee use digital modes to send and receive money.

    Where you can tap to pay

    Many stores, restaurants and other locations around the world offer the convenient tap to pay method, and it's only becoming more popular as the days go on. Consider contacting your credit card issuer or network to see if they offer a contactless card for your account.

    Many major retailers, grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants offer tap to pay and contactless payments. Some retailers, services and restaurants let you make contactless payments by using your mobile wallet within their mobile apps. Many mass transit systems, taxis, vending machines and more offer contactless payments, depending on the method you use — just look for the contactless symbol at check out.

    Use your credit or debit card to enjoy the speed, simplicity and security of contactless payments, as well as swiping and inserting. Happy shopping!

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