Chip cards can be skimmed because of the magnetic strip that still exists on these cards. Skimming is a common scam in which fraudsters attach a tiny device, or “skimmer,” to a card reader. They tend to target places like ATMs and gas stations. When you use your card at one of these readers, the device intercepts and copies sensitive card information from the magnetic stripe. Thieves can then retrieve the stolen data and can either clone the card or sell the card number to other scammers. Information on a chip card’s embedded microchip is not compromised.
Magnetic strip cards are inherently vulnerable to fraud. Their flaws have led to the transition to chip-enabled, or EMV (Euro, Mastercard, Visa) cards, which offer tighter security measures to combat potential fraud and identity theft. However, many merchants in the U.S. still lack readers that can effectively process chip card transactions. As a result, credit cards and debit cards are still issued with magnetic stripes, and the security risks that come with them.
With that being said, all the major credit card networks offer a $0 liability guarantee for fraudulent credit card transactions. If your chip card is ever skimmed, you won’t be responsible for any fraudulent charges. In addition, federal law limits your liability to $50 if you report any fraudulent charges within 60 days of them appearing on your credit card statement.