Millions of us will be getting new, more secure chip-enabled credit and debit cards this year.
The embedded chip in the card creates a unique code for each transaction.
While thieves often steal card data to create counterfeit cards, the unique code makes the stolen data incomplete and virtually useless, says The Wall Street Journal.
But the cards may fall short on fraud control, says a separate Wall Street Journal article.
That's because the new cards don’t require customers to put in a personal identification number. Consumers will authenticate the transactions the same way they often do now, with a signature.
PINs are widely considered to be more secure than signatures, which can be easily copied.
The more advanced “chip-and-PIN” technology has been adopted in Europe, Australia and Canada; the United States is one of the few developed countries opting out, says the WSJ.
Bank executives say they're staying with the signature version so customers won’t have to remember a new four-digit code.
Here is a Q&A on the chip cards.