Smart Chip Debit Cards

General Questions:

Why is GTE moving to smart chip debit cards?

It’s all about our members! The security and protection of our member accounts and finances is a top priority. Shown to reduce fraudulent losses overseas, GTE Financial is excited to introduce smart chip technology to every new and existing debit card, free of charge to our membership. This enhancement is an important step in ensuring our members experience easy and convenient access to their money, as securely as possible.

How do chips work?

With a traditional debit card, you’re probably used to seeing a magnetic stripe on the back. When making a purchase, you swipe that stripe at a terminal to complete your transaction. Cards with smart chip technology also have a magnetic stripe, so you can make transactions as you do today; however, the card also includes an actual microchip that is embedded within the plastic. Overseas, chip reader terminals are very common and many retailers and merchants throughout the United States are beginning to offer chip-enabled check-out; you insert the card into a smart chip terminal versus swiping the card.

The security in the chip makes every purchase unique and dynamic, not like static magnetic stripes. If someone were able to intercept one of your chip transactions they would not be able to use that information again as it changes each time you use your card. This stops fraudsters from easily being able to counterfeit chip cards, mitigating risks and losses.

How is this card different from a magnetic stripe card?

A chip card looks just like a traditional card with an embedded chip in addition to the standard magnetic stripe on the back of the card. Rather than swiping your card, you will insert your chip card into the card terminal to complete the transaction!

Where can I use my chip card?

Use your chip card at the exact same merchants you do now by inserting the card into card terminals that are chip enabled or swiping your card at merchant locations that have not yet switched to chip-enabled card terminals. You can also continue to use your card as you did before for online payments, telephone payments and at ATMs.

Are chip cards new?

Although chip cards are relatively new in the United States, they have been used elsewhere for many years. In some countries, particularly in Europe, merchants may be more familiar with accepting chip cards!

GTE Card-Specific Questions:

How/when will I get a smart chip debit card?

Starting July 23, existing debit cards will all be replaced by the 3rd quarter of 2015 with a new smart chip card via mail. We will mail you a notification letter prior to the new card being mailed to let you know to keep an eye out for your new card.

When I get my new card, what should I do?

Great question! Below are the top things to remember to do as soon as you receive your new smart chip debit card in the mail:

  1. ACTIVATE: There will be a sticker on your new debit card – please follow the instructions to activate your new smart chip card. Don't like your PIN? You can now also change it when you activate your card.
  2. OLD CARD: For added security, please destroy and discard your old card – as soon as your new card is activated, your old card will no longer work.
  3. PAYMENTS: For any bills you may pay using your debit card, please call or update your card information with the merchant to reflect your new expiration date and the new 3-digit CVV code on the back of your card. Your old card with your old expiration date and old CVV will no longer work.
  4. SIGN: When making purchases, whether you swipe or use a chip-enabled terminal, remember to sign versus inputting a PIN! It could earn free rewards. Learn more!
  5. ALL DONE! You will now be even more secure.

What will change and what will still the same with my new smart chip card?

When you receive your new smart chip card in the mail, please note the things that will be staying the same and some things that will be changing!

What will stay the same:

What will be different:

  • Your Debit Card Number
  • Your Checking Account Number
  • Your PIN Number (If you ever want to change your PIN, please visit a GTE Community Financial Center)
  • You can still swipe your card to make purchases as you do today
    The new card will work for online payments, telephone payments and at ATMs
  • Sign versus use your PIN for added security and a chance to earn reward points
  • Your CURewards points will remain with your new card and can be accessed and redeemed the same way as your previous card
  •  Your expiration date will change – please make sure to update any payments you have set-up using your debit card; the expiration date will need to be adjusted to avoid declines
  • The 3 Digit CVV Code on the back of your card will also be changing – for payments, please also update this code with merchants as well
    The look of your card – your new smart chip card has been spruced up with a new design that celebrates the GTE Financial 80th Anniversary (New Look + New Security!)
  • You’ll now be able to use smart-chip terminals to make payments – choose this option if provided for more secure transactions
  • For ATMs, please note, the chip will need to be inserted into the ATM to utilize the machine - it will appear that the card design is upside down, but it is indeed correct!
Do I have to switch to a smart chip debit card?

Yes, GTE will close all non-smart chip cards as they are replaced by the new card design. You will receive a letter in the mail prior to getting your new chip card that will let you know the date your old card will be closed. It will be within 30 days of receipt of the new card so don't delay!

Do my CURewards points transfer over to the new card?

Yes, your card number stays the same and so there is no change in your CURewards account.

What if I have automatic or recurring payments linked to my current debit card?

If you have automatic or recurring payments, please contact your billers and service providers once your new card is activated to provide the new expiration date and CVV code on the back.

When will my old card no longer work?

Once you activate your new chip card, your existing card will no longer work. Please make sure to destroy your old card for added protection. GTE will close all non-smart chip cards as they are replaced by the new card design. You will receive a letter in the mail prior to getting your new chip card that will let you know the date your old card will be closed. It will be within 30 days of receipt of the new card so don't delay!

Does the smart chip debit card work at an ATM?
Yes! The smart chip debit card does work at an ATM! Make sure that the chip is inserted inside the ATM. While it may appear that the card is upside down, it is indeed correct. Once the chip is positioned within the machine, the new card will work exactly the same at an ATM as the magnetic stripe debit card. 

*See official rules for more details.