Chips can fall out of chip credit cards, leaving consumers vulnerable

What to know to keep your credit card information safe.

ByABC News
August 9, 2017, 7:53 AM

— -- A new wrinkle in smart technology serves as a reminder for consumers to be cautious, as the tiny chip in your credit card can fall out and then be used by someone else to access your credit card information.

“They are on there pretty good, but a lot of wear and tear can cause issues with the underlying glue," Shawn Kanady of the cybersecurity firm Trustwave told ABC-owned Chicago station WLS-TV of the chips on chip-enabled credit and debit cards, adding that any card with a chip could be compromised if the chip falls off.

Jason Knowles, a reporter at WLS-TV said that he did not even notice at first when the tiny piece of technology fell out of his own card from JPMorgan Chase bank.

"I didn't realize for days because I was still allowed to swipe my card at many places with the magnetic strip," Knowles told WLS-TV. "When I called Chase they told me I had to get a new card with a new number because if someone found my chip intact, it could be placed on another card."

Kanady told WLS-TV, "You could probably even glue it on a business card. You just need that chip."

Kanady decided to see for himself how easily a chip hack could happen.

"I peeled off the chip of two cards and swapped them. I took that card to a retailer and ran a transaction. On the receipt, you could tell that it didn’t match the card I actually used," Kanady said. "I suspected that it would work, but seeing is believing.”

Jason Oxman, the CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association, told ABC News in a statement that "broken cards are an extremely rare occurrence and can be quickly replaced by issuing banks."

"Chip cards are the most secure physical cards in the 40 year history of the plastic credit card," Oxman added, saying that it is also important to note that "consumers have zero liability for fraud and are protected, even in the highly unlikely case that their card breaks."

A spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase told ABC News that customers should call their card's issuer immediately if they have concerns about a card. In addition, the bank advised customers to monitor their accounts frequently for unusual activity and added that customers have zero liability if they find themselves victims of fraud, as long as they report it right away.