Chip Enabled FF&M Cash & Check Cards

Enhanced Security for your FF&M Cash & Check Cardsimage of new EMV Chip Debit Card

First Farmers & Merchants Bank have begun the roll-out of debit cards with chip technology. The embedded computer chip provides more security and wider international acceptance.

A microchip embedded in the card adds a new layer of protection against fraud for purchases made at the point of sale. Information programmed into the chip is personalized for your account and each transaction generates a unique code, adding an extra safeguard against unauthorized use and counterfeiting.

These cards are already in wide use around the world and are now becoming the standard in the U.S.

What are chip cards?
A chip card - also called a smart card or an EMV™ card - is a debit or credit card that contains a microprocessor that enhances the security of cards during point-of-sale transactions.

These cards, already in use in much of the world, use a security standard originally developed by Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) as a way to fight card fraud resulting from theft, skimming and counterfeiting. The EMV technology has been adopted by the other major card brands and issuers.

Can I use my chip card anywhere?
Yes. Your chip card can be used virtually anywhere this brand of card is accepted in the U.S. and around the world. If a merchant has a chip-enabled card terminal, you will insert your card during the transaction. In the U.S., you will still be able to 'swipe' your card to make your payment if a merchant has a regular terminal. You will need a PIN to get cash at an ATM.

When will I get my chip card?

Your card will be replaced with a new chip card as your current card expires. Once your new card arrives, be sure to activate it for use and then destroy your old card.

There is no need to request a new card. You'll automatically receive your new chip card in the mail before your card's expiration date. There is no extra charge for the new chip card.

If you are planning to travel internationally or have an immediate need for a chip card, please contact your local bank.

Can I still use my current card?
You can use your current card until you get your chip card. At that time, activate your new chip card and start using it. Be sure to destroy your old card by cutting it up or shredding it. Once you activate your chip card, your old card will be disabled.

When will the change happen?

Even though chip cards are being issued in the U.S. and some merchants have already installed chip-enabled card terminals for payment, the entire conversion process is expected to take a few years to complete.
That's why chip cards will continue to have a magnetic stripe on the back. That way, if a merchant's terminal or an ATM is not yet chip-enabled, your transaction can still be processed using the magnetic stripe as it is today.

Can I use it at an ATM?
The process is essentially the same as at a merchant. Insert your card, leave it in the ATM, and follow the prompts on the screen. Depending on the type of ATM, you may be prompted to re-insert your card. Leave the card in the ATM until the transaction is complete and the card is released, and then remove your card. A PIN is needed for ATM transactions.

What if a merchant isn't using a new chip-enabled terminal yet?
Your payment will process as it normally does from your initial ‘swipe’. Chip cards will continue to have the magnetic stripe on the back.

How do I do online or phone purchases?
Provide your card information as you have done in the past. Chip cards will not change the way payments are made online or by telephone.

Do I need to sign the back of the card?
Yes. You still need to sign the back of your card.

What is the difference between chip and signature and chip and PIN?
You may be asked to provide your signature or enter your PIN to complete a transaction when you use your card. You will need to use your PIN at ATMs and it may be required at some unattended terminals such as fuel pumps and payment kiosks. Please note that some merchants are now requiring you to use your PIN for debit card transactions (previously you could select “credit” to sign instead). This is why it is important to select and remember your PIN. You are always protected against fraud no matter if you sign or enter your PIN. (Note: - Pinned transactions are not allowed for cards that are attached to a health savings account).

Will chip cards prevent data breaches?
While chip cards won't prevent the types of large-scale data breaches that have hit some merchants, they do make it extremely difficult to produce counterfeit cards from that stolen data.

Does a chip card contain more information about me that could be stolen?
No, a chip card does not contain any information about you that isn’t in your magnetic stripe cards – just your name, account number, and expiration date. 

How can I enter a tip (e.g. at a restaurant or hair salon)?
Some merchants that used to allow you to add the tip to the receipt after the transaction, may now ask you to specify the tip before the transaction. We expect that this will change over the next several months to restore the previous option of adding a tip after the transaction.

What if my card is lost or stolen?
It's important to report a lost or stolen card immediately. Keep a record of our Help Desk telephone number on the back of your card (866-733-3444) somewhere handy and call it if necessary.

Follow these steps to use your card at a chip-enabled terminal:

If the terminal is chip-enabled, you will be instructed to insert your card.

  1. Insert your card, face up and chip end into the chip-enabled terminal.
  2. Leave the card in the terminal during the entire transaction.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen and either sign your name or enter your PIN as needed. Be sure to remove your card and take your receipt when the transaction is complete.