By Bill Cresenzo
Monarch Financial Holdings is releasing a new credit card for its wealthiest clients with a microchip that will make it difficult for thieves to steal information.
The technology, called EMV, for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, is used widely throughout Europe. New credit and debit cards issuers will be required to include it in all their cards by 2015.
Right now, retailers rely on features such as magnetic strips and the card holders signatures to verify identities.
The microchip cards rely on cryptography and an elaborate key management that ensures the card's integrity, said Terri Ruby, Monarch's senior vice president of case management, citing an article on marketplace.org.
The microchip makes it much more easier to catch fraudulent use because each transaction used different encoding information. Some of the cards also offer PIN verification.
Counterfeiters can steal information and create counterfeit magnetic strips that contain credit card information.
"They can't do the same with the microchip," Ruby said.
Monarch will unveil the card June 25.
"It's tough to counterfeit a card and replace or duplicate it," Ruby said. "What we like about it is that it protects not only our clients, but also our merchants."
Monarch is one of first community banks in Virginia to offer the microchip card. Bank of America introduced the technology last year.
Monarch has a Private Wealth division that it created last September. It manages assets for its wealthier clients.
The card is being offered only to those clients because they tend to travel overseas, where it is getting more difficult to use magnetic strip-only cards.
Monarch is offering the card to 1,000 of its Private Wealth customers at first.
Comparing it to an American Express or Barclay's Black cards, Ruby said it is being offered to clients who make at least $250,000 per year and have at least $500,000 in liquid assets.