Learn the basics of EMV chip card technology.

Your EMV chip card from Harvard FCU provides enhanced security features so you can shop and travel with added confidence.

The Basics

An EMV Chip Card is a credit card that has an embedded microchip that adds layers of security against fraud.

A Chip Card adds an additional layer of sophisticated fraud protection through an embedded microchip that turns card member information into a unique code when used at a chip-enabled terminal that is difficult to duplicate or copy.

EMV Chip Cards will also have magnetic stripes so they can be used at terminals that do not have chip card technology.

If a merchant does not have the technology to read an EMV Chip Card, you simply swipe the magnetic stripe on the card, just as you would for a credit card that is not an EMV Chip Card.

For phone or online purchases, provide your card information the way you always have.

For in-person transactions, the process will depend on the type of terminal the merchant is using. Use your card by inserting it into terminals that are chip-enabled or swiping your card at locations that have not yet switched to chip-enabled terminals.

For merchants who have the chip-enabled terminal:

  1. Insert the card “chip first” into the terminal. The EMV card remains in terminal for the entire transaction.
  2. Follow the prompts on the terminal’s screen. Depending on the merchant, you will be prompted for a PIN or a signature.
    1. If you are prompted for a PIN,  enter your PIN using the keypad.
    2. If you are prompted for a signature, sign for transaction.
  3. Remove the chip card after the transaction is approved and you are prompted to do so.
  4. Take your receipt.

Harvard FCU Program Details

There is no additional fee to have or use an EMV Chip Card.

For security reasons, your new EMV Chip Card will require activation.

For Harvard FCU Platinum MasterCard & Harvard FCU Platinum Rewards MasterCard:
You can activate your card in online banking at harvardfcu.org or by calling 800-631-3197.

For Harvard Alumni Card:
You can activate your card in online banking at harvardcard.com or by calling 800-631-3197.

Your EMV Chip Card will have a new expiration date so your existing card is not closed for security reasons before you receive your EMV Chip Card.

Your EMV Chip Card has a PIN in order to provide you with the latest security features. Depending on the merchant, you may be required to enter this PIN to authorize your purchase and validate that you are the owner of the card. In order to keep your card secure, do not share your PIN with anyone or write in anywhere on the card.

You will not be charged a fee to use your PIN unless you are using your credit card to get a cash advance at the ATM.

For your security, the Credit Union does not know your PIN. To select or change your PIN, please call our toll free PIN Select automated system at 888-886-0083.

International callers can call collect at 1-727-571-2200 to update their PIN.

All cards are issued with a unique PIN. To change your PIN, please call our toll free PIN Select automated system at 888-886-0083.

Your new PIN will be active immediately. In some rare circumstances if you encounter an EMV terminal that is not online, that terminal will only recognize the old PIN.

You will use the same PIN to make purchases and cash withdrawals at an ATM.

You are able to reset your PIN for your EMV Chip Card by calling 888-886-0083 and answering the security questions.

There could be several reasons why your EMV Chip Card is not working. Here are some possible reasons:

  • You are inserting the card incorrectly. Make sure you are inserting the card “chip-first” with the numbers facing up.
  • The card was removed too soon. Do not remove the card from the terminal before the transaction has been completed. Removing the card early will result in a cancellation of the transaction.
  • You are at a self-serve kiosk. You may not be able to use this card at these types of terminals
  • You have updated your PIN number but have not activated the new PIN at an online merchant.1
  • The merchant may not have EMV functionality turned on. Even if they have a terminal that accepts EMV they may have not activated it for EMV use; just ask the merchant. You may have to swipe the card as a magnetic stripe transaction.


1. Certain merchants such as smaller merchants, vending machines, and transit services aren’t online with MasterCard and may send transactions in a secure offline environment. This may result in a PIN required transaction being declined until you can use it at a merchant that is reported transaction online to MasterCard.