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Busting 5 Common Credit Card Myths

When it comes to credit cards, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Americans have millions of credit cards, so it makes sense that there are different opinions about how they work.

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Here are five of the most common credit card myths, and why they are false:

Myth 1: Chip cards are vulnerable to hackers with wireless scanners.

It can be frightening to imagine a criminal stealing your credit card’s account information, without ever seeing or touching your card. This is theoretically possible with some contactless payment systems that use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, but those signals are encrypted. When it comes to the newer credit cards with EMV smart chips, the card has to be inserted into a terminal to be read. Put this credit card myth to rest.

Myth 2: The chip in your card will break if it gets wet.

Approximately 85% of the credit cards in the United States now have chips in them. Everyone knows that you shouldn’t get your electronics wet, so it would seem to make sense to apply this rule to the embedded microchip in your credit card. However, these chips have been around for over 20 years, and are durable enough to have withstood trips through a washing machine. In short, the chip used in these cards is more durable than the plastic cards themselves.

Myth 3: You can just write “See ID” instead of a signature.

Many people write “See ID” on the signature panel of their credit card, under the mistaken belief that it will deter theft or prevent a criminal from using their card. However, most credit card networks require the customer’s signature to be valid. For example, Discover advises customers to sign the back of their card with their full name rather than “See ID.” Finally, some credit card networks actually forbid merchants from presenting an ID as a requirement for completing a transaction. Knowing that “See ID” is a credit card myth can help keep your card secure.

Myth 4: You can just loan your card to a friend if you need them to make a purchase for you.

If you trust someone, you might decide to loan them your clothes, your keys or even your car. But when you loan out your credit card, they are not authorized to use it. Furthermore, you will be responsible for any charges made to the account. If you need to extend your purchasing power to a friend, you can add him or her as an authorized user on your account. And if you only need to temporarily let that person make a charge, you can give that person a general-use gift card.

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Myth 5: The new chip cards will eliminate fraud.

While credit cards with EMV smart chips make it much more difficult for criminals to clone a credit card using stolen account information, it’s not impossible. Instead, chip cards make it more likely that criminals will use stolen cards and account information to make fraudulent purchases online or over the phone. Stolen credit cards also can be used at ATMs and gas stations where EMV compatible credit card readers haven’t been installed yet.

New credit cards myths are generated everyday, make sure you understand the ins and outs of credit and how your credit card works.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

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